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Supporting Inter- and Transdisciplinary Academic Careers

The topic of interdisciplinary careers prompted some lively discussion at last week’s ITD 2019 conference in Gothenburg. SHAPE-ID was represented by Bianca Vienni Baptista, Christian Pohl and myself. Between us we made multiple contributions to the conference as presenters, discussants and session chairs, introducing an international audience of 250 researchers, research funders and policy makers from bodies such as the OECD to the aims of the SHAPE-ID project. What became clear in various workshops and discussion panels is that we still have a long way to go before inter- and trans-disciplinary (ITD) careers become “normalised” within our institutions and it…

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The Crises of Democracy: a Case for Interdisciplinarity

Boris Johnson announces plans to suspend parliament. Political tensions at Westminster flare. Tens of thousands of people take to the streets across Britain chanting ‘stop the coup’ and pledging to ‘defend democracy’. Britain is due to leave the European Union by 31 October 2019. Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue. The authoritarian leader of mainland communist China ignores the autonomy enshrined in the 1997 handover. Demonstrators fear for the future of the ‘one country, two system’ policy, and with it, their civil rights. Tensions escalate in Kashmir after the Indian government remove the Muslim majority region’s special status. This is…

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Finding a Home Between Disciplines: Perspective of a Doctoral Student

Where do I fit? It’s a question I ask myself a lot as a PhD researcher starting a career in academia. Do I fit somewhere like a jigsaw piece? Is there one very specific, specialised slot for me to find and make my home, among people doing complementary, similar work? Do I fit somewhere like a key? Is there one lock out there for me to open, one problem out there that my specific set of skills will be ideal to solve? Or do I fit somewhere like a nail? Will I make a perfect home for myself in one…

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Reflections on an Interdisciplinary Funding Scheme: Perspective of a Research Officer

As a research funding officer working with the Arts and Humanities community in the Irish and European funding landscape, I am all too familiar with the policy imperatives that exist around the need to better fund and support interdisciplinary research (IDR). However, bespoke funding schemes that enable this kind of research to take place are often unfortunately thin on the ground. While there are opportunities in large funding programmes like Horizon 2020, within its Societal Challenges pillar and other collaborative aspects of the programme, the barriers to entry for initiating collaborations under these kinds of programmes can be quite high,…

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SHAPE-ID Project Launch and Early Progress

It’s hard to believe three months has passed since SHAPE-ID began. So much has happened since then – we’ve launched our website and Twitter account, showcased SHAPE-ID at some high-profile events (see our News & Events page) and begun the exciting work of creating a database of relevant literature and projects for analysis, designing our survey and planning our Learning Case Workshops. Now we’re launching our blog and it seems like a good occasion for a short reflection on our early progress in getting the project up and running. On 18 February the entire consortium met for the first time…

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