Sunday, 9 October 2011

Understanding Interdisciplinarity: Theory and Methods

Understanding Interdisciplinarity: Theory and Methods - 
An International Conference
June 12th to the 14th 2012
Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.

Supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded interdisciplinary “Engineering For Life” (EFL) project at Sheffield Hallam University ( The EFL Programme has supported over 30 projects that link, Materials Science, Engineering, and Biosciences with Information Studies, Design and Arts.

The aim of the meeting is to bring together researchers that engaged in interdisciplinary projects and those researchers seeking to understand the processes that lead to successful cross-disciplinary collaborations.

The meeting will both showcase high quality research that has emerged from interdisciplinary collaborations and contributions from leading researchers on the theory and practice of interdisciplinary research. Active dialogue will be promoted between the two communities to create increased awareness and understanding of the processes in which they are mutually engaged.

From this understanding, it is hoped to elucidate more clearly the difficulties which are often experienced and the ways in which these can be overcome. Interdisciplinary research can potentially open up important and exciting new fields of research; the meeting aims to identify the approaches which will yield the greatest chance of success in such projects.
Interdisciplinarity, the combining of two or more fields of study or research in one project, activity, or a new discipline – has become a major approach to contemporary ‘grand challenges’. This is reflected in the academic discussion of the term – and related concepts of multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity – as well as the assertion that
interdisciplinarity is key to solving contemporary social, economic and environmental challenges.

What then are interdicipinarity, multidisciplinarity and trasndisciplinarity? How are they articulated in the practical actions of projects and in the discourses around them? How are such projects conceived, developed, managed and evaluated? What are the theoretical and practical challenges inherent to such joint working across disciplines? What are effective strategies for running interdisciplinary teams, projects and programmes?
The conference seeks papers which address the theory and methods that underpin interdisciplinary working and those which provide case studies of actual practices and outcomes from projects.

Closing date for abstracts for the conference is 31st of January 2012
Please email abstracts to Charlotte Lester (Engineering for Life Project Administrator) at

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