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Multiple Perspectives are Needed to Address the World’s Most Complex Problems

Dr Angela Butler from Trinity College Dublin discusses the interdisciplinary challenges addressed by the Global Humanities Institute on the Crises of Democracy at a Summer Institute in Dubrovnik in July 2019. Driven by the global rise of populism and authoritarianism, the climate emergency, and the often controversial role media and technology has played in politics and society recently, the Crises of Democracy GHI explores inequality, exclusion, oppression and resistance. While democracy research is typically a subject addressed by social sciences, especially economics and political science, our GHI examines these issues with a collaborative arts and humanities approach.
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International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2019

Prof Julie Thompson Klein of Wayne State University and Td-Lab ETH Zurich reflects on the 2019 International Transdisciplinarity Conference, which took place September 10th through 13th in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hosted by MISTRA Urban Futures, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, and the University of Gothenburg, the meeting focused on the theme of “Joining Forces for Change.”
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European Union Research & Innovation Days, Brussels, 24-26 September 2019: “Me and My Society – Integration of Social Sciences and Humanities”

There is wide recognition that interdisciplinarity is key to helping to better understand and find solutions to society’s great challenges around climate, health, well-being, democracy, inequality, migration and so on. That we need to put the human at the centre of a world that is increasingly driven by technology. This was the focus of a panel entitled "Me and My Society – Integration of Social Sciences and Humanities” (SSH) at the European Union Research & Innovation Days event held in Brussels on 24-26 September 2019. I was part of a three-person panel, alongside Nina Braun of Net4Society and Tobias Bader…

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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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