School of Social and Political Science

SHAPE-ID recommendations highlighted by League of European Research Universities



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SHAPE-ID logo and LERU logo

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The prestigious League of European Research Universities (LERU) has emphasised recommendations about good practices in interdisciplinarity for universities that were originally made by the SHAPE-ID project, an initiative that includes SPS academics.

LERU has published a new report, ‘Implementing interdisciplinarity in research-intensive universities: good practices and challenges’.

The report says interdisciplinarity in research is essential to be able to tackle society’s biggest challenges, from housing and health to climate change and sustainability. It says that arts, humanities and social sciences are integral to finding solutions.

It also says that transdisciplinarity in research, education and policy is equally important, urging collaboration among scholars from different academic disciplines and other parts of society. And it addresses some of the challenges of implementing interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, including the absence of clear career pathways.

LERU’s report emphasises and supports recommendations made by the SHAPE-ID project two years ago. SHAPE-ID was a Horizon 2020-funded project, and its team included Professor Catherine Lyall and Dr Isabel Fletcher in STIS. The SHAPE-ID principal investigator, Professor Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity College Dublin, is one of the co-authors of the LERU report.

The LERU report also highlights the value of a toolkit developed by SHAPE-ID in addressing challenges around interdisciplinarity. The toolkit includes a case study on research infrastructures  for arts, humanities and social sciences, as well as a top-ten tips series based on the experience of SHAPE-ID partners. The tips cover issues such as career mentoring and guided video tours for research leaders. In a 2022 independent review, the European Commission said the toolkit was a ‘world-class’ and should be considered by policymakers.

LERU is a world-leading association of 23 research universities. Its 2023 report follows its seminal 2016 report ‘Interdisciplinarity and the 21st Century Research Intensive University’ whose findings have been referenced worldwide.

LERU said: “A valuable and necessary evaluation of the current inter and transdisciplinary research activity across Europe, LERU’s 2023 report is an important recognition of the huge strides being made in academia in these boundary-pushing endeavours, while being a stark reminder of the important work still needed to address the challenges of our modern interconnected world. It also acknowledges the key insights that the SHAPE-ID consortium has made to the field since the 2016 report. It is now incumbent on LERU’s associate universities and others who wish to stay on the cutting edge of inter– and transdisciplinary research activity to adapt its significant recommendations.”

Read the full LERU story and report here. 

SHAPE-ID will host a webinar with LERU on Tuesday 23 May at 11am to discuss its report. Further details TBC.