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British Academy, HEFCE and Research Councils UK to co-host interdisciplinarity conference

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The British Academy, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Research Councils UK will co-host a conference on interdisciplinarity in UK higher education at the British Academy on Thursday 8 December 2016.

Aimed at funders, strategic leaders and UK researchers from across disciplines, institution types and career stages, the conference will consider both policy and practice. It will be chaired by Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth University.

This conference will follow a review of the interdisciplinary research (IDR) landscape published today by HEFCE and Research Councils UK. Supported by a report examining 10 case studies from English universities, the review identifies IDR as a crucial part of the UK research landscape. Common themes that emerge from the review include the challenges associated with peer review and evaluation, the importance of institutional support and the value of flexible funds.

These themes echo the British Academy’s recent  report, Crossing Paths, which identified the opportunities and barriers to interdisciplinary research. Crossing Paths found broad and deep support for IDR, and made recommendations to allow researchers, including those early in their career, to pursue high quality IDR alongside, or as part of, cultivating an academic home.

The British Academy was pleased to see recommendations to better accommodate IDR in Lord Stern’s recent Independent Review of the Research Excellence Framework. The Academy will seek to engage actively with the anticipated consultation on REF in the autumn.

For more information on the IDR conference and to express your interest, please visit: www.hefce.ac.uk/news/Events/2016/Name,110328,en.html. The agenda is available here.

More information on the British Academy’s work on interdisicplinarity is available here.

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