Reply To: 11. Oct 26: From natural to cultural landscapes

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Flavia Manieri # Posted on October 29, 2015 at 11:37

Reflections on “From natural to cultural landscapes” with V. Caracuta

What I found particularly interesting, when talking to Valentina, was the importance of multidisciplinary teamwork that she talked about as being very relevant to her work.
For thousands of years, the advancement of knowledge has taken a path of increasing specialization. We have approached understanding our world by deconstructing it into smaller and smaller fragments creating the disciplines and sub-disciplines in order to be able to predict, or at least to explain, behavior in nature, individuals and society.
This has somehow distanced scholars from different disciplines over the centuries, but things have changed and today there are powerful drivers for multidisciplinary research.
Through simple collaboration, researchers from different disciplines can accomplish more by teaming.
Interdisciplinary research moves beyond simple collaboration and teaming to integrate data, methodologies, perspectives, and concepts from multiple disciplines in order to advance fundamental understanding or to solve real world problems. Interdisciplinary research requires either that an individual researcher gains a depth of understanding two or more than one discipline and be fluent in their languages and methodologies, or more frequently that multidisciplinary teams assemble and create a common language and framework for discovery and innovation.
I think that the drivers for interdisciplinary research are varied, the first that comes to my mind is that nature and society are complex, and our innate curiosity to understand the elements and forces within them requires examination from the perspective of multiple disciplines. In order to solve societal problems – in a world that is subject to many forces – we need an interdisciplinary research that spans the natural and social sciences.
Although this kind of thinking has become more common in academia nowadays, it is unfortunately not shared by everyone.
Hopefully the new generations of researchers will go along with this “new trend” and will collaborate more and more.