Just released: Relu briefing paper on innovation in interdisciplinary methods

Article dated: 16 November 2011

The Data Support Service for the Relu Programme has published a briefing paper showing innovative methods and approaches to interdisciplinary research and data integration. Relu briefing paper

The methods and approaches were used by the 94 research projects funded by the Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (Relu). This interdisciplinary research Programme put a priority on social and natural scientists working together and engaging with stakeholders. The Programme studied the social, economic, environmental and technological challenges facing rural areas in Britain, with research focusing on sustainable food chains, the management of animal and plant diseases, adaptation to environmental change and integrated land and water management.

The briefing paper describes five types of interdisciplinary approaches used, then illustrates those with case studies:

  • common understanding amongst researchers from different disciplines
  • stakeholder engagement
  • quantifying interdisciplinarity through structured methods
  • modelling socio-economic, ecological and environmental factors and realities
  • visualisation

Many projects combined many such methods.

The Relu Programme was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Biotechnolocy and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) between 2004 and 2012. Its Data Support Service was co-ordinated between the UK Data Archive and the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology, Lancaster.

The briefing paper in available in PDF version at the link below.