The Interdisciplinary Challenge: Academic Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific


Interdisciplinary research can be compared to the ancient craft of weaving a fishnet. The knot used for this net is obviously important. The quality, size and form of the final product depends on the skill of the weavers, the choices they make in the design and their ability to picture how the different components will come together to form a useful whole. By analogy, when conducting a large, multidisciplinary project, the scientific methods (the knots), the skills of the scientists (the weavers), the initial choices made for the project design, and the scientists’ collective ability to integrate their findings across disciplines to form a synthesized whole, will determine the quality, number and form of the final products. In the NatureCoast project, scientists from six disciplinary research themes (see Chapter 1) met with the end-users to design the research approach at the proposal stage. From the outset, they hoped that the broad approach would produce useful interactions between knowledge development in different disciplines and utilization in the field (Figure 1). But, did the anticipated integration occur, and did it produce the desired interactions between the development of knowledge and practical applications?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sand Motor: A Nature-Based Response to Climate Change
Subtitle of host publicationFindings and Reflections of the Interdisciplinary Research Program NatureCoast
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherDelft University Publishers
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print) 978 94 6384-021-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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