Complex challenges require cross-disciplinary thinking

Last changed: 09 May 2023
Colored pencils. Photo.

Complex challenges require a broad mindset and a palette of solutions – a palette of many colors. One of the most important goals of the future platforms is to develop cross-disciplinary working methods at SLU by initiating and enabling collaboration across scientific disciplinary boundaries.

Our societal sustainability challenges cannot be solved by tackling them from single perspectives. Sustainability depends on a complex interplay between many different factors, and changes in direction are affected by, among other things, power relations and values, which means that there is no right or wrong way to go. It is simply not possible to solve the challenges without collaboration where different disciplines, perspectives and values ​​are included and met.

This is how the future platforms at SLU work with interdisciplinary research

The mission of the future platforms is to address complex scientific issues concerning long-term sustainability challenges by developing interdisciplinary collaborations and working methods. The future platforms stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations by creating meeting places to facilitate the encounter between different disciplines and to stimulate discussions and ideas on different themes.

We strive to have a broad and cross-disciplinary approach in most of our activities and initiatives, and also through the financial support that the platforms offers. We organise internal interdisciplinary workshops where researchers can broaden their networks and where we discuss different opportunities for collaborations and activities. We also offer different types of support in connection with cross-disciplinary application processes. 

What do we mean by interdisciplinary research?

Multi- inter-, and transdisciplinary research is here defined as research that comprises theory, method or research approaches from more than one scientific discipline or fields of research. In multidisciplinary research the different theories, methods or approaches are used side by side, and in interdisciplinary research they are, at least to some extent, integrated. Transdisciplinary research is distinguished in its recognition and inclusion of other types of knowledge than scientific knowledge, such as practice and experience based knowledge and knowhow.