Article
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Interdisciplinary research is especially relevant in the energy field where ambitious political targets for the energy transition require rapid advancements in technology and simultaneous developments in social norms and citizen engagement. Challenges related to interdisciplinary communication and the integration of findings across disciplines have been cited in past work to inhibit project execution and the production of holistic research outputs. This paper offers specific tools and recommendations to overcome these challenges and facilitate an efficient collaboration. Specifically, a method for building a common project vocabulary and strategies for face-to-face group discussions are presented and tested. Recommendations regarding the usage and effectiveness of these strategies are based on the experiences of the SMARTEES Horizon 2020 interdisciplinary research project. The toolkit includes reproduction code for analyzing a project’s vocabulary, and a framework for planning and implementing effective structured discussions at project meetings.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... To conclude, the academic progress in cross-disciplinarity is sluggard (J. J. Cohen et al., 2021), and there is a lack of cross-disciplinarity in all domains (Thompson et al., 2017), including energy research (Schmidt & Weigt, 2015), as supported by Sibilla & Kurul (Sibilla & Kurul, 2020), who stated that improving energy performance in buildings from narrow perspectives is obsolete. Moreover, the retrofitting practices are highly complex (Ruggeri et al., 2020;Okorafor et al., 2021). ...
... Focusing on the obstacles among stakeholders in the cross-disciplinary energy research, Sibilla & Kurul emphasized "the fragmentation between different disciplines" as the most significant barrier, besides a set of conflicts among the team, such as inefficient procedures, lack of evaluation, institutional restrictions, authority, and miscommunication, as a result of problematically ambiguous terms (J. J. Cohen et al., 2021). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Traditional settlements are societies and villages that emerged vernacularly; they have a distinct architectural typology and urban tissue, transferring knowledge between generations is a significant character. Their inhabitants have significant levels of agreement about their social qualities, homogeneity, solving any problem in their ways. They use the available resources, local materials, and the available technologies to form their shelters concerning the climate, security, political and religious precepts, and aesthetic values. Their buildings achieve cultural, anthropological, social, and economic needs. Several studies found common ground between Egypt and Italy regarding the impact of Arab and Roman cultures and the influence of the Mediterranean climate. This research has chosen a common traditional settlement pattern to foster a new approach. Based on several factors, namely, adjacent to the Mediterranean sea, Mediterranean climate, population density, buildings number, predominately rural, land use is dominated by agriculture, and they have the same small-dimension economy of agricultural activities, and finally, it makes sense the author is Egyptian, and he studies in Itlay. Moreover, the comparative analysis between contexts enriches the findings, and otherwise, they could represent the Mediterranean Region. Many studies highlighted the transformation of these traditional settlements in Egypt and Italy because of several causes, such as the socio-economic transformations that led to emerging newly built environment patterns facing environmental challenges and led to more energy consumption which contributes significantly to climate change. That requires transdisciplinary retrofitting interventions in these traditional contexts, considering evolving all stakeholders who have the interest, influence, and power of implementation, namely, the technical experts like (architects, urban planners, culture experts, and sociologists), the local community, decision-makers, and the facilitators. Thus, this study aims to provide a transdisciplinary framework to organize the collaborative work among the stakeholders to enable to implementation of efficient strategies to retrofit the built environment. The conceptual framework was developed by the integration of the relevant theoretical concepts in three domains (software development, project management, and energy retrofitting practices). The transdisciplinary framework will employ Agile Methodology (Agile Manifesto, 2001), which originated in 2001 under the software development domain. It efficiently organizes and manages the relations between teamwork, producing the highest-value products (services), achieving client satisfaction, and continuous acclimatization due to fluctuations and variations. Likewise, this study argues that it can provide the optimum framework to mitigate conflict, enhance communication maximize relations efficiency between the stakeholders, and provide criteria to select the teams under different circumstances and various projects. The framework has been implemented in two similar traditional settlement case studies, Lasaifar Albalad in the Delta Region in Egypt and Pontinia in the Lazio region in Italy. It was validated using focus group techniques. The results showed that the framework had improved the participatory approach, enhanced communication, mitigated team conflict problems, supported decision-making, and it led to engaging top-down stakeholders, and it led to versatile juxtapositioning (bottom-up with top-down) stakeholders on the same influence and interest zone. Moreover, the framework led to implementing an actual retrofitting case study that benefits the local community and supports the national policies.
... Indeed, over the last 20 years, there has been a plethora of studies that have focused explicitly on identifying the barriers to doing interdisciplinarity (e.g. Brewer 1999;Campbell 2005;Cohen et al. 2021;Hein et al. 2018;Kelly et al. 2019;Lyall and Meagher 2012;Morse et al. 2007;Wallace and Clark 2017). Such studies are often situated within a wider descriptive convention that lacks a conceptual bedrock to their discussion of interdisciplinarity. ...
Book
Full-text available
“Even though I’ve been involved in interdisciplinary energy research for more than 20 years, this book is an eye opener for me." – Tanja Winther, Professor, University of Oslo, Norway. "Silvast and Foulds recuperate the critical side of social sciences and bring it into the discussions of what interdisciplinary research can be.” – David Hess, Professor of Sociology, Vanderbilt University, USA This Open Access book builds upon Science and Technology Studies (STS) and provides a detailed examination of how large-scale energy research projects have been conceived, and with what consequences for those involved in interdisciplinary research, which has been advocated as the zenith of research practice for many years, quite often in direct response to questions that cannot be answered (or even preliminarily investigated) by disciplines working separately. It produces fresh insights into the lived experiences and actual contents of interdisciplinarity, rather than simply commentating on how it is being explicitly advocated. We present empirical studies on large-scale energy research projects from the United Kingdom, Norway, and Finland. The book presents a new framework, the Sociology of Interdisciplinarity, which unpacks interdisciplinary research in practice. This book will be of interest to all those interested in well-functioning interdisciplinary research systems and the dynamics of doing interdisciplinarity, including real ground-level experiences and institutional interdependencies. Antti Silvast holds a researcher position in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He is a Sociologist examining energy infrastructure, most recently smart systems, methodology, and energy modelling. Chris Foulds is an Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute (Cambridge, UK). He is an interdisciplinary Environmental Social Scientist researching how society and everyday life intersect with energy policies, governance, consumption, and the built environment.
... The algorithms were then applied to real-world customer electricity data to quantify their techno-economic effects on stakeholders and the grid. While such interdisciplinary research is often championed in energy research 31 , it is unusual for researchers to integrate social questions early in algorithm design in previous research into NSB. We believe an interdisciplinary approach was essential to revealing the paper's insights into the tensions associated with operating NSB technologies, and that it will likewise be necessary in future work to develop responsible algorithms that serve the public good. ...
Article
Full-text available
The digital energy era presents at least three systemic concerns to the design and operation of algorithms: bias of considerations towards the easily quantifiable; inhibition of explainability; and undermining of trust and inclusion, as well as energy users’ autonomy and control. Here we examine these tensions through an interdisciplinary study that reveals the diversity of possible algorithms and their accompanying material effects, focused on neighbourhood-scale batteries (NSBs) in Australia. We conducted qualitative research with energy sector professionals and citizens to understand the range of perceived benefits and risks of NSBs and the algorithms that drive their behaviour. Issues raised by stakeholders were integrated into NSB optimization algorithms whose effects on NSB owners and customers were quantified through techno-economic modelling. Our results show the allocation of benefits and risks vary considerably between different algorithm designs. This indicates a need to improve energy algorithm governance, enabling accountability and responsiveness across the design and use of algorithms so that the digitization of energy technology does not lead to adverse public outcomes.
Article
Decarbonising the world's energy system requires integrated and concise incentives to encourage citizens to participate actively in the energy transition. This article explores community-addressed practices within highly competitive energy projects of the Horizon 2020 framework programme. Compared with bibliometric research, analysing projects' open-platform databases in connection with academic literature can leverage the review and identification of practices in state-of-the-art research projects. In this regard, by applying methodology based on natural language processing techniques to a publicly available Horizon 2020 knowledge database, this paper generalises community-oriented approaches and solutions described in high-impact energy projects. The findings illustrate and characterise disproportions in generalised practices directed to energy consumption reduction, low-carbon energy generation, social economy, policy and strategy actions. Furthermore, the results discuss and exemplify specific projects in the context of the high-impact framework program's technical, socio-economic and socio-cultural matter. Finally, this research work has demonstrated the implementation of language processing within the custom implementation and certain limitations. Given its flexibility, the complex approach can be used as an easy-deployable lens to epitomize the thematic study and facilitate a discussion of trends in social and energy field research.
Article
Full-text available
Simulation models of multi‐sector systems are increasingly used to understand societal resilience to climate and economic shocks and change. However, multi‐sector systems are also subject to numerous uncertainties that prevent the direct application of simulation models for prediction and planning, particularly when extrapolating past behavior to a nonstationary future. Recent studies have developed a combination of methods to characterize, attribute, and quantify these uncertainties for both single‐ and multi‐sector systems. Here, we review challenges and complications to the idealized goal of fully quantifying all uncertainties in a multi‐sector model and their interactions with policy design as they emerge at different stages of analysis: (a) inference and model calibration; (b) projecting future outcomes; and (c) scenario discovery and identification of risk regimes. We also identify potential methods and research opportunities to help navigate the tradeoffs inherent in uncertainty analyses for complex systems. During this discussion, we provide a classification of uncertainty types and discuss model coupling frameworks to support interdisciplinary collaboration on multi‐sector dynamics (MSD) research. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for best practices to ensure that MSD research can be properly contextualized with respect to the underlying uncertainties.
Article
Free temporary download: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1eAHh7tZ6Ztdjm Interdisciplinary research is common in health studies and is developing in energy studies. This paper describes the process of interdisciplinary energy research in a large, three-year study of rebound effects among German households with photovoltaic panels (“prosumers”). The study aimed to estimate whether, and by how much, prosumers increase their electricity consumption as a consequence of installing photovoltaics. This is important because these rebound effects can thwart government goals for decarbonising electricity generation. However, the main focus of this paper is on the interdisciplinary process of obtaining our results. Our three research teams investigated rebound effects via qualitative interviews, a country-wide quantitative survey, and an analysis of self-reported consumption data. Following a classic interdisciplinary model from health studies we then brought our findings together in a series of carefully planned and led discussions, where the contradictions between the three sets of results led to new insights. We then took the interdisciplinary process a step further, as the research teams re-analysed their data from this fresh perspective. This led to consensus and the novel finding that Germany’s current regulatory and pricing regime inadvertently rewards prosumers who over-consume electricity, thereby compromising policy goals. The success of the process was due to: embedding interdisciplinarity in the initial research planning and funding application; constant interactions throughout the research period; respect for each other’s different disciplinary approaches; strong and well-coordinated leadership of inter-team discussions; and the novel extension of each team revisiting and reanalysing its data on the basis of the insights from these discussions.
Article
Algorithms determine the effectiveness of battery storage, but have so far been designed for narrow techno-economic objectives with simplified assumptions of user needs. New research considers citizen preferences and develops six battery algorithms that support local economic benefits, decarbonization and explainability.
Article
Full-text available
Interdisciplinary team science is essential to address complex socio-environmental questions, but it also presents unique challenges. The scientific literature identifies best practices for high-level processes in team science, e.g., leadership and team building, but provides less guidance about practical, day-to-day strategies to support teamwork, e.g., translating jargon across disciplines, sharing and transforming data, and coordinating diverse and geographically distributed researchers. This article offers a case study of an interdisciplinary socio-environmental research project to derive insight to support team science implementation. We evaluate the project’s inner workings using a framework derived from the growing body of literature for team science best practices, and derive insights into how best to apply team science principles to interdisciplinary research. We find that two of the most useful areas for proactive planning and coordinated leadership are data management and co-authorship. By providing guidance for project implementation focused on these areas, we contribute a pragmatic, detail-oriented perspective on team science in an effort to support similar projects.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, the concept of ‘energy justice’ has attracted much attention and research effort. While all policy issues related to energy justice are worthy of further study, the time constraints posed by the looming threat of climate change suggests the need for coordinated policy research efforts. At the current stage of development of European societies, we consider that four policy research strands might be most important in the light of specific evolving trends of European energy systems. Therefore, we propose these priorities as a shared research agenda for academic and policy researchers. In this article, we develop and discuss the following four research priority strands: 1. Intergenerational justice and energy justice 2. Justice and energy vulnerability, 3. Transformation of the social imaginary and energy infrastructure, 4. Damage, compensation and energy infrastructure. For each topic, we highlight their critical issues and research opportunities. We conclude that these priorities are necessary not only to accelerate the energy transition but also to avoid negative impacts that climate change and the transition phase could produce on already established patterns of inequality.
Article
Full-text available
The Overview, Design concepts and Details (ODD) protocol for describing Individual- and Agent-Based Models (ABMs) is now widely accepted and used to document such models in journal articles. As a standard- ized document for providing a consistent, logical and readable account of the structure and dynamics of ABMs, some research groups also find it useful as a workflow for model design. Even so, there are still limitations to ODD that obstruct its more widespread adoption. Such limitations are discussed and addressed in this paper: the limited availability of guidance on how to use ODD; the length of ODD documents; limitations of ODD for highly complex models; lack of sufficient details of many ODDs to enable reimplementation without access to the model code; and the lack of provision for sections in the document structure covering model design ratio- nale, the model’s underlying narrative, and the means by which the model’s fitness for purpose is evaluated. We document the steps we have taken to provide better guidance on: structuring complex ODDs and an ODD summary for inclusion in a journal article (with full details in supplementary material; Table 1); using ODD to point readers to relevant sections of the model code; update the document structure to include sections on model rationale and evaluation. We also further advocate the need for standard descriptions of simulation ex- periments and argue that ODD can in principle be used for any type of simulation model. Thereby ODD would provide a lingua franca for simulation modelling.
Article
Full-text available
Interdisciplinary research is a popular mode of knowledge production that becomes intensively promoted by research centers all across the globe. Despite the facilitation of interdisciplinary research, however, scholars working in these centers are ‘disciplined.’ Career promotions, funding decisions and scientific publishing are based on peer-review procedures that tend to favor monodisciplinary research. This paper builds on a qualitative study with scholars in interdisciplinary research centers in Germany and asks how scholars cope with these monodisciplinary demands. After deriving a conceptual framework, the study identifies four coping strategies: disciplinary innovation, strategic compliance, niche-seeking, and field creation. Each of these strategies is characterized by a different degree of openness to knowledge bases of other disciplines and a different degree of proactivity towards monodisciplinary demands from the scientific field. The results illuminate how research agendas become disciplined despite interdisciplinary motivation and organizational support of interdisciplinary research.
Article
Full-text available
The transformation of critical infrastructure such as energy systems toward sustainability imposes a multitude of challenges that are social-technical in nature and require interdisciplinary collaboration. Resilience has received growing attention as a concept to bridge different scientific disciplines in research on energy systems, given their social, ecological, and technical elements. However, a resilience framework that is suitable for merging notions of resilience as a measurable property with notions of resilience as a social construction or an observatory scheme is still a desideratum. Against this backdrop, we present a cross-epistemic resilience (CER) framework for interdisciplinary research on energy and other social-ecological-technical systems. In particular, we introduce the distinction between positivist first-order and constructivist second-order observations and identify four modes of inquiry in resilience research. Our CER framework contributes to interdisciplinary resilience research by pointing out how assumedly incompatible perspectives are able to inform and constructively irritate each other and, hence, enhance the overall understanding of energy systems. The framework has been tested in a radically interdisciplinary research project. We draw on electricity systems as our prime example to illustrate the application of our arguments and concepts.
Article
Full-text available
Agent based models (ABMs) simulate actions and interactions of autonomous agents/groups and their effect on systems as a whole, accounting for learning without assuming perfect rationality or complete knowledge. ABMs are an increasingly popular approach to studying complex, spatially distributed socio-environmental systems, but have still to become an established approach in the sense of being one that is expected by those wanting to explore scenarios in such systems. Partly, this is an issue of awareness – ABM is still new enough that many people have not heard of it; partly, it is an issue of confidence – ABM has more to do to prove itself if it is to become a preferred method. This paper will identify advances in the craft and deployment of ABM needed if ABM is to become an accepted part of mainstream science for policy or stakeholders. The conduct of ABM has, over the last decade, seen a transition from using abstracted representations of systems (supporting theory-led thought experiments) to more accessible representations derived empirically (to deliver more applied analysis). This has enhanced the perception of potential users of ABM outputs that the latter are salient and credible. Empirical ABM is not, however, a panacea, as it demands more computing and data resources, limiting applications to domains where data exist along with suitable environmental models where these are required. Further, empirical ABM is still facing serious questions of validation and the ontology used to describe the system in the first place. Using Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the Chasm as a lens, we argue that the way ahead for ABM lies in identifying the niches in which it can best demonstrate its advantages, working with collaborators to demonstrate that it can deliver on its promises. This leads us to identify several areas where work is needed.
Article
Full-text available
Interdisciplinary whole systems research (WSR) is attracting increasing interest as a way to address to complex societal challenges such as sustainable energy. However, WSR typically involves challenging research elements (radical disciplinary scope, integrative knowledge production and transdisciplinary design), which are seen by some as intellectually and institutionally flawed. Drawing on the interdisciplinary studies literature, this paper considers WSR strategy and practice in the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) over its first two phases (2004–14) and compares UKERC to other similar UK-based initiatives. WSR strategy and practice face a number of tensions: integration versus diversity, stability versus flexibility and independence versus engagement. The emphasis in UKERC was on integration in the first phase and diversity and flexibility in the second phase – a pattern largely imposed by funders, assessors and stakeholders, rather than by internal strategy. Though granted ambitious remits, WSR is often funded, practised and assessed in the margins of disciplinary based research systems, rather than as a distinctive research form. There is a need to better attend to the choices and trade-offs involved in WSR strategy and practice, drawing on the experiences of UKERC and other initiatives. As a guide, the paper introduces a number of interdisciplinary WSR archetypes.
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers some of the potential consequences of social scientists adopting physical energy terms in their publications in order to appeal to and hopefully influence policy-makers. There are a number of elements to this debate, from the more practical consideration of how energy is discussed by different parties, to more political considerations around the standing, inclusion and power of the social sciences. We also focus on the key issue of communication, the essential ingredient for translating complex information into everyday use, as well as understanding the people at the centre of energy reduction and who, in our opinion, hold the key to change. This paper highlights the importance of journals such as ERSS in providing a ‘safe space’ for social scientists to publish research specific to their discipline and to promote wider discussion in a suitable language.
Article
Full-text available
Cross-disciplinary research is essential in understanding and reducing energy usage, however the reality of this collaboration comes with many challenges. This paper provides an insight into the integration of social science in energy research, drawing on the expertise and first hand experiences of a range of social science researchers (predominantly Early Career Researchers (ECRs)) working on UK cross-disciplinary projects in energy demand. These researchers, participants in a workshop dedicated to understanding the integration of social science in energy research, identified four groups of challenges to successful integration: Differing expectations of the role of social scientists; Working within academia; Feeling like a valued member of the team; and Communicating and comprehension between disciplines. Suggestions of how to negotiate those challenges included: Management and planning; Increasing contact; Sharing experience; and Understanding team roles. The paper offers a definition of ‘success’ in cross-disciplinary energy research from the perspective of social science ECRs, comprising external, internal and personal components. Using the logics of interdisciplinarity, this paper suggests that integration of the social sciences in the projects discussed may be partial at best and highlights a need to recognise the challenges ECRs face, in order to achieve full integration and equality of disciplines.
Article
Full-text available
In sociology of science much attention is dedicated to the study of scientific networks, especially to co-authorship and citations in publications. Other trends of research have investigated the advantages, limits, performances and difficulties of interdisciplinary research, which is increasingly advocated by the main lines of public research funding. This paper explores the dynamics of interdisciplinary research in Italy over 10 years of scientific collaboration on research projects. Instead of looking at the output of research, i.e. publications, we analyse the original research proposals that have been funded by the Ministry of University and Research for a specific line of funding, the Research Projects of National Interest. In particular, we want to see how much interdisciplinary research has been conducted during the period under analysis and how changes in the overall amount of public funding might have affected disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration. We also want to cluster the similarities and differences of the amount of disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration across scientific disciplines, and see if it changes over time. Finally, we want to see if interdisciplinary projects receive an increasing share of funding compared to their disciplinary bounded counterparts. Our results indicate that while interdisciplinary research diminishes along the years, potentially responding to the contraction of public funding, research that cut across disciplinary boundaries overall receives more funding than research confined within disciplinary boundaries. Furthermore, the clustering procedure do not indicate clear and stable distinction between disciplines, but similar patterns of disciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration are shown by discipline with common epistemological frameworks, which share compatible epistemologies of scientific investigations. We conclude by reflecting upon the implications of our findings for research policies and practices and by discussing future research in this area.
Article
Full-text available
Increasingly, research is moving towards more interdisciplinary endeavours. Effective collaboration between people from different disciplines is necessary to maximize the potential benefits of interdisciplinarity for future research activity. This paper analyses an approach to fostering the skills required for successful cross-disciplinary collaboration from the perspective of an interdisciplinary group of early-career researchers. Our reflection on how specially designed encounters can help to shape future interdisciplinary research initiatives draws on the discussion of a four-day workshop, a post-event survey, and a review of other experiences. We conclude that interdisciplinary encounters are an effective means to support the development of future interdisciplinary researchers, with a major advantage of this approach being the opportunity for open communication. Depending on the organiser's aim, we distinguish between “cultivation” and “development” encounters. Among the multiple factors that produce successful interdisciplinary encounters, we found that selection of a theme, participants and location need to be tailored to the encounter's particular objectives. We recommend that funding bodies and other members of the research community should take note of the effectiveness of encounters to foster interdisciplinarity and generate space to develop more innovative and high-impact research that delivers solutions to the challenges facing humanity in the future.
Article
Full-text available
Pressures for early consensus during group decision processes often lead to poor choices. However, consensus as an outcome of group decision processes is often desirable for implementing choices. We propose and test hypotheses that structured decision making techniques designed to enhance the expression of cognitive conflict will, paradoxically, (1) strengthen group consensus about and individual acceptance of the group's eventual choices, and (2) increase member satisfaction with the group. Faced with a realistic managerial scenario, nineteen groups in this study deliberated using the structured, conflict-enhancing dialectical inquiry (DI) approach; nineteen used the consensus (C) approach. Group consensus on the decision, individual acceptance of the decision, and member satisfaction with the group were higher in the DI than in the C conditions. We discuss implications for group decision aids and for future laboratory and field studies of group consensus on a course of action.
Article
Full-text available
Simulation models that describe autonomous individual organisms (individual based models, IBM) or agents (agent-based models, ABM) have become a widely used tool, not only in ecology, but also in many other disciplines dealing with complex systems made up of autonomous entities. However, there is no standard protocol for describing such simulation models, which can make them difficult to understand and to duplicate. This paper presents a proposed standard protocol, ODD, for describing IBMs and ABMs, developed and tested by 28 modellers who cover a wide range of fields within ecology. This protocol consists of three blocks (Overview, Design concepts, and Details), which are subdivided into seven elements: Purpose, State variables and scales, Process overview and scheduling, Design concepts, Initialization, Input, and Submodels. We explain which aspects of a model should be described in each element, and we present an example to illustrate the protocol in use. In addition, 19 examples are available in an Online Appendix. We consider ODD as a first step for establishing a more detailed common format of the description of IBMs and ABMs. Once initiated, the protocol will hopefully evolve as it becomes used by a sufficiently large proportion of modellers.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we apply qualitative methodologies to explore the practice of interdisciplinary research. The UK's Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) Programme aims to advance understanding of the challenges faced by rural areas through funding interdisciplinary research to inform future policy and practice on management choices for the countryside and rural economies. Addressing the challenges faced by rural areas often requires a combination of different perspectives, involving research to address subjects that may lie beyond the skills of individual researchers. An interdisciplinary approach requires the integration of both data/information and the experiences and perspectives of different people (natural/social scientists, local people and policy-makers). We focus here on the processes involved in making interdisciplinarity work, documenting the experiences, perceptions, ideas and concerns of researchers working in interdisciplinary projects (specifically two EU-funded projects but also the first wave of RELU projects). A key finding from this research is that interdisciplinarity requires conscious effort, time and resources for the development of interpersonal relationships to enhance effective communication and thus successful collaboration. Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Article
This paper gathers reflections on what can bring together academics and practitioners involved in energy-related European Union (EU) funded projects aiming at, or striving to reach, higher integration of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). To this end, four multidisciplinary workshops carried out in the EU Project `Social Sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy - SHAPE ENERGY- (2017–2019)' have been analysed in order to address the following questions: (1) Which STEM-SSH aspects are dealt with in EU-funded projects?; (2) Which tasks relate to SSH practitioners in the Work Packages distribution?; (3) How do EU-funded projects engage in interdisciplinary work?; (4) Which barriers for effective SSH integration have been envisaged?. The main findings emphasise how SSH is still predominantly regarded as a means to orient the market and encourage individuals to accept a top-down policy, technology or process, and this is further illustrated through the ways in which the Horizon 2020 energy and transport calls are fundamentally framed and positioned. Based on the research conducted in this paper, the four workshops represented the right approach not only for comparing current directions and ongoing tasks in individual EU energy and transport projects, but also for proposing concrete ideas to increase the impact of said projects on society. Moreover, this approach favoured reflections on innovative methods of interdisciplinary project ideas for energy-related topics. The conclusion of this paper gives suggestions on how to achieve better interdisciplinary practices when designing EU calls and projects related to energy topics, calling for further interdisciplinary and society-relevant research and innovation, through enhanced multi-stakeholder cooperation and interdisciplinary communication on complex topics.
Article
Communication in cross-disciplinary (and thus in inter-, multi- and transdisciplinary) projects is frequently challenged by problematically ambiguous terms (henceforth ‘PATs’), i.e. terms that have multiple meanings and for which it is not always clear what meaning is used, thereby generating communication problems. The reason why communication in cross-disciplinary projects is so sensitive to PATs, is that they often involve disciplines that share one or more terms, yet attribute different meanings to them in an implicit and/or unsystematic manner. The teams of such projects are in need of a PAT resolution procedure, i.e. a procedure that helps them to identify and resolve PATs, as they are generally not trained to do this themselves. A first attempt to provide such a procedure consists in the identification of existing candidate procedures and an evaluation of their capacity to resolve PATs in cross-disciplinary communication contexts using a new set of task and performance criteria. It is shown that none of them sufficiently meets all criteria. It also becomes clear that the realization of an efficient PAT resolution procedure requires the ability to automatically process large quantities of linguistic data. Hence, input from the field of applied (computational) linguistics seems necessary. With this need for automation in mind and against the background of the new set of task and performance criteria, a theoretical characterisation of a new PAT resolution procedure called ‘SenseDisclosure’ is presented. SenseDisclosure is meant to be applicable to all kinds of cross-disciplinary projects (by an external facilitator). Its characterisation incorporates multiple techniques from Natural Language Processing to realize several critical automations. As the techniques were not specifically developed for PAT resolution, some of them require further research and development before they can be reliably integrated. Finally, it is argued that, if this extra research and development yields positive results, SenseDisclosure can be a truly effective PAT resolution procedure.
Article
“Interdisciplinarity” is one of the most “fashionable” words to be found in contemporary energy research. The hype and the fuzziness that can characterise its use conceals a bright promise for research: the possibility of opening up new research perspectives, of finding new answers, but also of raising new questions. In this article, we explore interdisciplinarity in energy research through seven questions (corresponding to seven sections): “what does it mean?”, “why?”, “who’s involved?”, “how?”, “what?”, “what barriers?”, and “what prospects?” In the “what does it mean?” section, we will try to illustrate the “degrees of interdisciplinarity” in energy research by means of definitions emanating from recent work. The “why” question focuses on the main benefits of interdisciplinarity, while “who’s involved?” raises the issue of “by whom and with whom”. The “how” section essentially looks at methods and frameworks. The “what” question introduces the main topics of interdisciplinary energy research, presenting the papers that make up this special issue. “What barriers?” and “what prospects?” conclude the paper with an attempt to identify the new research paths that are beginning to emerge.
Article
Here I respond to the seven papers that look at my original paper on the use of physics in the social studies of energy (Cooper, this issue) and offer up clarifications, extensions and some rebuttals. It is clear from the respondents that a shared vision for an inter- cross- and transdisciplinary agenda across physics and engineering with the social sciences exists, and major steps have already been made in bringing these perspectives together.
Article
Interdisciplinary research is often essential to develop the integrated systems understanding needed to manage complex environmental issues that are faced by decision-makers world-wide. The scientific, institutional and funding challenges to interdisciplinary research have been the subject of considerable discussion. Funders remain willing to support such research and to evaluate its impact. In this paper, we develop and apply a set of review concepts to systematically evaluate a large interdisciplinary research project. The project was conducted at a national research organisation that seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary integration. We categorise evaluation concepts as process- and outcome-related and propose five practical management interventions to bridge the concepts to improve interdisciplinary integration. These management interventions are: agree on a conceptual model, incorporate independent review, support synthesisers, foster intra-project communication, and build-in organisational learning. We end with reflections on lessons for the structure of research organisations and of the research team to develop effective interdisciplinary research as well as providing a set of recommendations for interdisciplinary research funders.
Article
Reducing energy demand and increasing energy efficiency are two major objectives that numerous national and international programs, such as the EU 20-20-20 targets, seek to achieve in the ongoing transformation of energy systems. Despite the predominately socio-economic nature of energy demand, such interdisciplinary viewpoints - albeit on the rise - are still the minority within energy-related research. In this paper, we develop an applied approach to support interdisciplinary research focusing on a common research objective which examines and clarifies the three questions: 'What', 'Why' and 'How'. We test the capability of the approach by performing an exemplary review of energy demand both from an economics and a social-science perspective.
Article
Sociology and philosophy of science have an uneasy relationship, while the marriage of history and philosophy of science has—on the surface at least—been more successful. I will take a sociological look at the history of the relationships between philosophy and history as well as philosophy and sociology of science. Interdisciplinary relations between these disciplines will be analysed through social identity complexity theory in order to draw out some conclusions on how the disciplines interact and how they might develop. I will use the relationships between the disciplines as a pointer for a more general social theory of interdisciplinarity which will then be used to sound a caution on how interdisciplinary relations between the three disciplines might be managed.
Article
In this article, we summarize and review the research on teams and groups in organization settings published from January 1990 to April 1996. The article focuses on studies in which the dependent variables are concerned with various dimensions of effectiveness. A heuristic framework illustrating recent trends in the literature depicts team effectiveness as a function of task, group, and organization design factors, environmental factors, internal processes, external processes, and group psychosocial traits. The review discusses four types of teams: work, parallel, project, and management. We review research findings for each type of team organized by the categories in our heuristic framework. The article concludes by comparing the variables studied for the different types of teams, highlighting the progress that has been made, suggesting what still needs to be done, summarizing key learnings from the last six years, and suggesting areas for further research.
Article
This questionnaire study among 343 members of 41 work teams in a financial services organization examined the effects of individual team members’ perceived task interdependence and perceived goal interdependence on innovative behavior in teams characterized by different levels of group diversity. Multilevel analyses revealed that individual’s perceived task and goal interdependence were not related to innovative behavior in homogeneous teams. In heterogeneous teams, however, task interdependence was strongly and positively related to innovative behavior for individuals who perceived high levels of goal interdependence, and unrelated to innovative behavior for those who perceived low levels of goal interdependence.
Article
This paper describes an investigation into the experience of researchers and research managers involved in the European Union Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) with its ambitious encouragement of more integrated problem-oriented approaches to research. We used a series of workshops, a questionnaire survey, individual telephone interviews and six detailed case studies to examine the extent to which these ambitions for ‘interdisciplinary integration’ were being met and the issues involved. Various models of disciplinary integration were identified, which may be appropriate in particular settings. Whilst we found disappointingly few projects that seemed by our criteria to be clearly interdisciplinary, particularly in crossing the boundary between natural and social sciences, we did find a great deal of learning taking place about how to conduct interdisciplinary research and how to overcome some of the difficulties experienced. Researchers emphasised in particular the importance of careful consortium development and team building as a basis for effective interdisciplinary research, and the time and effort needed to establish effective communication between different specialisms. The paper identifies barriers to collaboration between disciplines and some strategies and measures through which closer integration, and its associated benefits, might best be secured.
Article
Ecological Modelling j o u r n a l h o m e p a g e : w w w . e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / e c o l m o d e l a b s t r a c t The 'ODD' (Overview, Design concepts, and Details) protocol was published in 2006 to standardize the published descriptions of individual-based and agent-based models (ABMs). The primary objectives of ODD are to make model descriptions more understandable and complete, thereby making ABMs less subject to criticism for being irreproducible. We have systematically evaluated existing uses of the ODD protocol and identified, as expected, parts of ODD needing improvement and clarification. Accordingly, we revise the definition of ODD to clarify aspects of the original version and thereby facilitate future standardization of ABM descriptions. We discuss frequently raised critiques in ODD but also two emerg-ing, and unanticipated, benefits: ODD improves the rigorous formulation of models and helps make the theoretical foundations of large models more visible. Although the protocol was designed for ABMs, it can help with documenting any large, complex model, alleviating some general objections against such models.
Article
Integrative research approaches are intensely discussed in landscape ecology, in academia and in research policy. However, confusion over the terminology hampers communication. Many current landscape ecological research projects have difficulties to agree on a common understanding of the core concepts associated with different forms of integrative research. This is also evidenced by the lack of discussion of integrative research concepts in published papers. This hinders integration in research projects and makes the comparison and evaluation of the outcomes of different research concepts impossible. This paper discusses and defines the meanings of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary (=integrative) research approaches to ease discourse on their application in landscape ecological research. It reviews definitions of the concepts found in the research literature and develops definitions of integrative and associated research concepts (disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity) based on their degree of disciplinary integration and involvement of non-academics. Integrative concepts are viewed as a continuum rather than as fixed categories. The paper discusses the need to develop integrative theory and methods and argues that we should be more explicit when using integrative research concepts in project proposals, project work and publications. Finally, the paper reflects on the ongoing discussion in landscape ecology concerning whether it is developing from an integrative research field towards a discipline in its own right.
Article
While project organisations have become common, knowledge management of project organisations are still largely underdeveloped. Nevertheless, project organisations require particular systematic and effective knowledge management if they are to avoid knowledge fragmentation and loss of organisational learning. This study deals with knowledge management and knowledge competences in project organisations, particularly framework programmes. In addition to a literature study, two programmes and a review project have been studied. Finally, a Learning Programme Model is presented.
Article
Unity between human and physical geography continues to be debated widely. However, if geography is to take advantage of its unique positioning between the natural and social sciences, geographers need to be able to communicate more effectively and efficiently across human and physical specialisms. In this paper we focus on the significance and uses of language in interdisciplinary research practice. Interdisciplinary research faces a range of challenges in achieving effective communication between discipline-based experts, of which language is key. This paper draws on a discussion developing the initial ideas for a research application and a field day to familiarize the group members with the study area. Dialects, metaphor and articulation are identified as three overlapping aspects of language which play an important role in developing understandings between different disciplines. These three different aspects of language are illustrated through the analysis of three situations focusing on the words dynamic, mapping and catchment. We conclude that interdisciplinary projects must allocate time to the development of shared vocabularies and understandings. Common understanding derived from shared languages in turn plays a vital role in enhancing the relations of trust that are necessary for effective interdisciplinary working.
Article
The effectiveness of an induction algorithm for making decisions was investigated using a complete set of diagnoses and corresponding outcomes for all possible distinct cases of thyroid disorders. Investigation of both diagnoses and outcomes followed a late discovery of a misunderstanding between the knowledge engineers and the expert. The knowledge engineers had erroneously equated the expert's terms 'diagnosis' and 'outcome'. Following this discovery, two previously reported induced expert systems were re-evaluated using the more appropriate 'outcomes' and were found to be correct for 79 and 70% of all cases.
Back to basics: relearning terms, concepts for process control
  • S M Ranade
  • H Salazar
  • L A Rodriguez
S.M. Ranade, H. Salazar, L.A. Rodriguez, Back to basics: relearning terms, concepts for process control, Control Engineering (2011).
  • M Pellegrino
  • M Musy
M. Pellegrino, M. Musy, Seven questions around interdisciplinarity in energy research, Energy Res. Social Sci. 32 (2017) 1-12.
  • M Sherif
  • C Sherif
M. Sherif, C. Sherif, Interdisciplinary Relationships in the Social Sciences, Routledge, New York, 1969.
Back to basics: relearning terms, concepts for process control
  • Ranade