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Interdisciplinarity: Breaking Boundaries - ESRC Student Conference 2019

Interdisciplinarity – Beyond Boundaries

Cambridge ESRC DTP Graduate Student Conference

University of Cambridge, Friday 25th October 2019

The Cambridge ESRC DTP Conference Committee invite contributions from MPhil and PhD students in all disciplines across the schools of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to discuss the challenges, complexities, benefits and critiques of interdisciplinarity and to share interdisciplinary work.

Interdisciplinarity draws on methods, knowledge and ideas from a range of different (academic) disciplines beyond traditional boundaries. Taking an interdisciplinary approach enables contributing to and benefitting from other subjects and disciplines, and opening up the seeming dichotomy between the arts and the sciences. Through interdisciplinarity we can ask novel research questions such as: what literary theory can teach us about crime reduction, how advances in biomedicine can inform our understandings of structural violence and oppression, or how vectors, brains and button responses shape our understanding of language. Questions of this kind can bring new insights into complex challenges. But why is interdisciplinarity encouraged and what is its significance?

Interest in interdisciplinary research questions has increased considerably in recent years, both from researchers’ and funders’ perspectives. The Cambridge ESRC DTP supports interdisciplinary research through the establishment of subject-overarching thematic clusters and funders such as the European Research Council particularly “encourage proposals of a multi- or interdisciplinary nature which cross the boundaries between different fields of research” (ERC work programme 2019). Yet despite initiatives facilitating interdisciplinary work, the structures of many universities – including Cambridge – also create challenges for researchers who attempt to reach across disciplinary boundaries. Thus, to encourage engagement with interdisciplinarity beyond boundaries...

We invite papers including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Surprising interdisciplinary connections in your research
  • Current research gaps addressed by an interdisciplinary approach
  • How other fields can benefit from your research
  • Specific interdisciplinary needs to solve major questions
  • Approaches to combine ‘arts’ and ‘sciences’
  • Critiques or challenges of and to interdisciplinarity