"This report identifies steps that individuals and institutions can take to more effectively conduct, facilitate, and evaluate interdisciplinary research programs and projects," said Nancy Andreasen, co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, and director, The MIND Institute, Albuquerque, N.M.
The committee urged academic institutions to explore new models that foster and reward interdisciplinary interactions. Industrial and national laboratories have traditionally operated successful interdisciplinary programs because their research goals are established and pursued in terms of projects rather than by discipline. Teams of researchers from various fields are formed to solve particular problems, an approach that stimulates interdisciplinary interactions.
Academic institutions also should revise recruitment and hiring practices to reach across departments, placing greater emphasis on people with valuable interdisciplinary backgrounds; promotion criteria should include methods to evaluate interdisciplinary faculty and programs as well. The committee concluded that the process by which institutions evaluate interdisciplinary research programs is often imperfect. The peer-review process for both people and programs should include researchers with interdisciplinary expertise, in addition to experts in single d
Contact: Vanee Vines
The National Academies