Researcher Development Initiative (RDI), 2005 - 2010

Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation Interdisciplinary Masterclass

01/11/06 - 31/10/10


This project aimed to improve the practice of interdisciplinary research between the social and natural sciences. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) have extensive experience in interdisciplinary research across the life sciences, ICT, energy, environment and design sectors. Drawing on this, Catherine Lyall and colleagues were seeking to formalise and codify researchers’ approach to the promotion, management and evaluation of interdisciplinary research and to share this knowledge with the wider research community. A range of masterclasses were developed, aimed primarily at post-doctoral researchers, giving them the tools they require to lead successful interdisciplinary project teams, and secondly at graduate students embarking on interdisciplinary projects for the first time. Both activities focused on how to design and conduct an interdisciplinary project, with appropriate inputs from the social and natural sciences, and how to write up and disseminate an integrated report. ISSTI researchers were also able to reflect on the experiences of delivering the masterclasses to strengthen their own practice: a final seminar discussed what we have learned as an interdisciplinary research institute.


A number of outputs from the project, including a series of short guides to interdisciplinarity, can be found on the project wiki  A one-year, no cost extension was awarded to allow the completion of the book "Interdisciplinary Research Journeys. Practical Strategies for Capturing Creativity", scheduled for publication by Bloomsbury Academic at the end of 2010.


Principal Investigator: Dr Catherine Lyall, University of Edinburgh
Co-Investigators: Professor Robin Williams, University of Edinburgh,

Professor Joyce Tait, University of Edinburgh,

Dr James Stewart, University of Edinburgh

Contact Details

Dr Catherine Lyall,
University of Edinburgh

Tel: 0131 650 2452