MultiDisc: shaping ‘multidisciplinarity’ in the EU's ICT-related research programmes

Our final report is now online: download the report in PDF format.

This small study project for the European Commission addresses key issues in the ongoing discussions concerning the role of different disciplines in ICT-related EU-funded research. In particular it attempts to bring to light the value of engaging with Social Sciences and Humanities in this research.

Multidisciplinarity is highly regarded as a way to develop solutions to real problems in society, but the very nature of the concept is contested, which leads to discussions on the effectiveness of implementation of multidisciplinary projects. We look at whether there is a need to 'shape' different types of multidisciplinary approaches to ICT research in the next EU research work programmes.

We address the following questions: 

  • In what situations does use of (a mixture of) multi/trans/inter disciplinary approaches add value to project outputs and impacts?
  • What conditions are necessary for such approaches to bear fruit?
  • Are there relationships, or (power) dynamics, between specific disciplines that enable or hinder project outputs and outcomes?
  • Should we try to diminish distance and difference between disciplines, or should we focus on what each discipline can bring independently to a project?
  • How can projects be framed to maximise contribution and output from each of the disciplines involved, and is there scope for greater engagement with the social sciences and humanities to enhance project impacts?

Our final report is now online (download in PDF: 9.7 MB).

We welcome comments and feedback.

Contact for more information: Jamal Shahin (jshahin@vub.ac.be), Trisha Meyer (tmeyer@vub.ac.be), Dariusz Kloza (dkloza@vub.ac.be).