Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interdisciplinary transformation

I've written before about transformative science, and I still don't really know what it looks like. However, I've been enlightened about Interdisciplinary research, or at least what NSF thinks interdisciplinary research is. At the UNL Research Fair Vikram Jaswal gave a talk on interdisciplinary opportunities at NSF, including a relatively clear and straightforward definition used by NSF - I can't find it online so I'll paraphrase: Research by a team or individual on a problem using concepts, techniques, data, and/or processes from two or more disciplines.

Vikram also pointed out an NSF report on the impacts of IGERT programs on the Academic institutions that receive them. On the very first page of the executive summary I found a keeper:
To carry out interdisciplinary research, one must have both disciplinary capability and interdisciplinary conversance.
I like this. The key is "disciplinary capability" - you have to be good at something to be an interdisciplinary scientist. I agree.

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