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1 September 2013 The Elusive Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity at the Human-Environment Interface
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Abstract

Environmental challenges are complex and require expertise from multiple disciplines. Consequently, there is growing interest in interdisciplinary environmental research that integrates natural and social science, an often arduous undertaking. We surveyed researchers interested and experienced in research at the human-environment interface to assess perspectives on interdisciplinary research. Integrative interdisciplinary research has eluded many of our respondents, whose efforts are better described as additive multidisciplinary research. The respondents identified many advantages and rewards of interdisciplinary research, including the creation of more-relevant knowledge. However, they also reported significant challenges and obstacles, including tension with departments (49%) or institutions (61%), communication difficulties, and differing disciplinary approaches, as well as institutional barriers (e.g., a lack of credit in promotion and tenure). Most (52%) believed that developing interdisciplinary breadth should begin as early as the undergraduate level. We apply our results to recommendations for successful interdisciplinary endeavors.

© 2013 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
Eric D. Roy, Anita T. Morzillo, Francisco Seijo, Sheila M. W. Reddy, Jeanine M. Rhemtulla, Jeffrey C. Milder, Tobias Kuemmerle, and Sherry L. Martin "The Elusive Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity at the Human-Environment Interface," BioScience 63(9), 745-753, (1 September 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.9.10
Published: 1 September 2013
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