Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

Interdisciplinary Research - What is it?

Interdisciplinarity brings separate disciplinary theories, skills, data and ideas to bear on a common problem or theme.  Interdisciplinary research integrates the analytical strengths of two or more often dissimilar disciplines. 

The benefits to interdisciplinary research have been apparent for several decades; our world can no longer be deconstructed and understood solely by specialization. Over the past several years in particular, interdisciplinarity has become a primary focus of the research community, synonymous with all things creative and progressive about science.

Leading scientists and government agencies state explicitly that it is the challenges and incentives of struggling to exchange ideas with people from other disciplines that will lead to significant scientific breakthroughs and increase our knowledge of the natural world. Even more critically, experts believe interdisciplinary research properly conducted can move beyond the bounds of discovery, increasing the informative power, immediate significance, and practical application of research to complex, real-world problems.