Interdisciplinary research is starting to attract more and more attention — and funding. This year, for example, the US National Science Foundation (NSF) has requested US$63 million (210% more than in 2012) for its INSPIRE (Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education) awards programme, which supports research into complex scientific problems such as space-weather monitoring, groundwater restoration and epigenomic analysis of single cells. In an era of stagnant, even shrinking, research funds, such budding fields can be a shrewd choice, especially for early-career researchers.
Interdisciplinary research pulls together disparate expertise to advance an emerging field or solve a multifaceted problem. Nanotechnology, for example, requires knowledge of chemistry, biology and physics, and disease control can involve molecular biologists, biostatisticians, public-health officials and sociologists. Environmental science, with its study of entangled ecosystems and policy impacts, is the quintessential interdisciplinary field. (...)
Via Jorge Louçã