Research Funding

What price interdisciplinary research?

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Science  22 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6297, pp. 360-361
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6297.360-c

Although interdisciplinarity is frequently considered to be the path that science is on, it can be rocky for its practitioners. The Australian Research Council Discovery Programme funds research nationally in all academic fields and requires applicants to categorize their proposals according to predefined discipline codes and the percent of the research described by that code. Bromham et al. adapted a measure of biodiversity to examine 18,476 proposals and found that interdisciplinarity was associated with a lower probability of funding. This was attributed to distance between the disciplines rather than the number of disciplines or differences between institutions. These results support suspicions that reviewers find it hard to evaluate interdisciplinary research.

Nature 534, 684 (2016).

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