University of Tartu, Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics (Estonia)
Interdisciplinary Research at Contemporary Universities
Universities today face the growing need for interdisciplinary research as truly socially relevant problems require interdisciplinary solutions. At the same time, teaching has been organized discipline-wise and young researchers’ training occurs in disciplinary cultures. When employed by interdisciplinary projects, scientists experience communication difficulties and often feel that their contributions are not valued enough. Many such formal ‘interdisciplinary groups’ produce results that still remain disciplinary rather than integrated and interdisciplinary.
The paper is based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with 16 researchers in such interdisciplinary areas as language technology, bio- and geoinformatics, archaeogenetics and biochemistry collected in a research project in Estonia in 2015–2018. I will focus on institutional measures taken by the universities and research funding bodies to promote interdisciplinarity as perceived by the researchers we interviewed. Thus, I compare the descriptions of the institutional measures with the reflections and comments by the researchers and try to evaluate the success of the measures.