The latest objective to integrate the social sciences and humanities (SSH) in funding for interdisciplinary research has encountered few obstacles. In funding programmes including the EU Horizon 2020, the SSH have been left out in most talks on grants.
While most stakeholders recognise the importance of integrating SSH research in rectifying fundamental societal issues such as climate change, migration or national security, funding for SSH is limited and are inclined to place emphasis on strategic interventions and instrumental solutions.
The shift towards interdisciplinary collaboration is manifold. It arises from within the scientific community as research breakthrough and new scientific challenges become apparent that are restricted to just one disciplinary perspective. It also emerges from politics where in several occasions, the public sector had requested for research to address major societal challenges of globalisation-led economic, ecological and demographic changes. In the last decade, various funding programmes have been implemented across the European Union and United States, which are designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.
While many scholars and decision makers acknowledged that many identified societal challenges require the integration of distinct understandings; various discussions over interdisciplinarity is usually ambiguous. It is unclear if this integration of disciplinary perspectives extend only across epistemic communities that are already on the same page or if it needs further shift of disciplinary boundaries beyond the natural, social and human sciences.
In addition, not only has there been controversies with regards to the issue of research funding, there has been a growing concern on the exact undertaking of SSH in interdisciplinary research and how the research community can make certain that the public sector are committed to encompass SSH when initiating large-scale interdisciplinary projects.
Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – “Humanities and Social Sciences Research” which will be held from 29-31 August 2018 in Venice, Italy.