The value of interdisciplinary research

Academic research is often justified to governments and the general public on the basis that it contributes to the solution of major problems and helps create a better life for all. But most of the academic research at Australian universities is disciplinary based, while the biggest problems faced by human society fall into the broad categories of environmental destruction, resource depletion, poverty, war, disease, injustice, inequity and exploitation, none of which fits into a single academic discipline. These are inherently complex, ‘wicked’ problems that not only require inputs from several disciplines, but also require new forms of knowledge and research that have not been classified as disciplines. Read more…