The Interdisciplinary PhD: Wednesday 21st June 2017 The Interdisciplinary PhD: Wednesday 21st June 2017

IntroductionESRC Logo

Interdisciplinary research has successfully addressed many complex problems, such as those associated with the relationship between environment and society, and is well-recognised and supported by many national and international research institutions, including the ESRC and other UK research councils. Yet interdisciplinary research is not without its challenges. This workshop is designed for first and early-second year PGR students who are considering or already conducting interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research. It draws upon expertise within UEA's School of Environmental Sciences, which is internationally renowned for its interdisciplinary approach to environmental problems, and has been designed to engage participants with the theoretical underpinnings and practical considerations of undertaking interdisciplinary work. In addition, the workshop aims, both conceptually and through the use of practical examples, to provide insights into the different ways of doing interdisciplinary research, to draw attention to the potential problems posed by interdisciplinary research and to support critical reflection on the students' own doctoral research. Please follow the link to find out more about the workshop Teaching Team. When your registration has been confirmed, you will be able to access the Online Repository and Forum for this course. 

Timetable for the Day

This workshop is organised into two sessions. The first, morning session, will consist of presentations by members of the School of Environmental Sciences on theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks for understanding and studying interdisciplinarity, illustrated with practical examples of what 'doing interdisciplinarity' involves, followed by discussion. The second, afternoon session makes space for the workshop participants to reflect on and discuss the contribution interdisciplinarity could make to their own research.

10.00am: Session 1 - The Theory and Practice of Interdisciplinarity (Irene Lorenzoni, Peter Simmons, Tom Hargreaves & Colleagues)

Welcome and introductions. This session will provide an interactive, open and informal opportunity to explore the interests and expectations of participants. It will revolve around a series of three main presentations by members of the School of Environmental Sciences at UEA. The first of these is entitled ‘Introduction to Multi-, Inter- and Trans-disciplinarity: Perspectives on Concepts and Practice' and will be led by the workshop convenors and based on readings circulated in advance of the workshop. The second is entitled ‘Multiple Ways of Doing Interdisciplinary Research: Benefits and Challenges', which will again be led by the workshop convenors, but this time interactively with attendees, and the third, will be delivered by researchers from the School of Environmental Sciences who adopted interdisciplinary approaches in their own PhD's, and is entitled ‘Practical Examples from the Field: Interdisciplinary PhD Research in the Environmental Sciences'. Issues emerging from the three presentations will subsequently be discussed and reflected upon in small groups (facilitated by the workshop convenors) as preparation for a final plenary session.

2.00pm: Session 2 - Individual Engagement with Interdisciplinarity (Irene Lorenzoni, Peter Simmons, & Tom Hargreaves)

This second session will focus on interdisciplinary approaches being adopted by participants in their own research. It will enable participants to explore the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinarity in terms of their own capabilities and institutional provision. Participants will be asked to consider these issues prior to the workshop and come prepared to outline and discuss their own work with other participants. Participants will also take part in structured interactive activities, small group work and discussions, facilitated by the workshop convenors, around key themes and issues related ‘doing interdisciplinarity'. The session and day will conclude with an open plenary discussion and concluding remarks.

Fees, Contact & Booking Details

For further details or questions about the academic content of this workshop please contact the academic lead, Dr Irene Lorenzoni, in the first instance at: Dr Simon Watts, PGR Training Coordinator for the Faculty of Social Science can also be contacted at: The workshop is free to PGR students at UEA, and the Universities of Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Royal Holloway, Reading, Goldsmiths, Roehampton, & City University. Fees are otherwise £30 per day for PGR students and £60 per day for all other attendees. The whole week of four courses can be booked at a reduced daily rate of £120 for PGR students and £240 for all other attendees. Bookings can be made and payments arranged by e-mailing: