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Policy Briefs

Improving pathways to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: first lessons from the SHAPE-ID project – Policy Brief

Authors: Bianca Vienni Baptista, Catherine Lyall, Jane Ohlmeyer, Jack Spaapen, Doireann Wallace and Christian Pohl

Work Package: 2

Published: 31 March 2020

Description: This policy brief presents key issues and challenges for fostering interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research in Europe, focusing on the participation of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in such research. It provides concrete guidance to policy makers and funding organisations on how to tackle those issues and maximise the participation of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Policy Recommendations in Brief:

  1. Inter- and transdisciplinary research takes place for a wide range of reasons and with partners playing a variety of roles. To encourage greater AHSS participation in funding programmes, funders and policy makers need to engage more substantively with AHSS communities across the spectrum of disciplines and with IDR/TDR experts when defining, designing and evaluating IDR/TDR calls.
  2. Inter- and transdisciplinary research is often more time-consuming than mono-disciplinary research as researchers need to navigate disciplinary differences to align goals and approaches. Funding programmes should allow for additional resources to enable IDR/TDR development, for instance to fund additional meetings, facilitators within projects and time to build mutual understanding and trust.
  3. Inter- and transdisciplinary careers are still seen as risky for researchers. Policy makers should support and incentivise universities to build capacity in IDR and TDR by taking steps to de-risk inter- and transdisciplinary career paths and integrate IDR/TDR into education and training at an early stage.
  4. Uptake of knowledge and recommendations on inter- and transdisciplinary research does not appear to be widespread. A validated online toolkit of IDR/TDR methods, materials and best practice examples is urgently needed to provide a common point of reference for European stakeholders to facilitate the above recommendations. SHAPE-ID will produce a toolkit of this kind but investment will be needed by the European Commission to maintain and develop a sustainable resource for the research and policy community in the longer term.

Access the full policy brief.

Policy briefs produced by the SHAPE-ID project will be made available here as the project progresses. Policy briefs are intended to distill and present concise recommendations for policy makers from the project findings, which are presented in full in our reports.

Future policy briefs will be produced according to the following approximate schedule and will be made available here when they are published:

December 2020: Recommendations and Measures to Maximise IDR Impact on Society: Policy Brief

April 2021: Guidelines on Adopting the SHAPE-ID Toolkit: Policy Brief

You can click on the links below to see a description of each brief and access links to the full document on Zenodo. Project policy briefs, reports and other publications are also available on our SHAPE-ID Zenodo community. You can also view our newsletters and webinars.

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