Evaluating an interdisciplinary research project: lessons learned for organisations, researchers and funders

Bark, Rosalind H., Kragt, Marit E., and Robson, Barbara J. (2016) Evaluating an interdisciplinary research project: lessons learned for organisations, researchers and funders. International Journal of Project Management, 34 (8). pp. 1449-1459.

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Interdisciplinary research is often essential to develop the integrated systems understanding needed to manage complex environmental issues that are faced by decision-makers world-wide. The scientific, institutional and funding challenges to interdisciplinary research have been the subject of considerable discussion. Funders remain willing to support such research and to evaluate its impact. In this paper, we develop and apply a set of review concepts to systematically evaluate a large interdisciplinary research project. The project was conducted at a national research organisation that seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary integration. We categorise evaluation concepts as process- and outcome-related and propose five practical management interventions to bridge the concepts to improve interdisciplinary integration. These management interventions are: agree on a conceptual model, incorporate independent review, support synthesisers, foster intra-project communication, and build-in organisational learning. We end with reflections on lessons for the structure of research organisations and of the research team to develop effective interdisciplinary research as well as providing a set of recommendations for interdisciplinary research funders. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. APM and lPMA. All rights reserved.

Item ID: 58053
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0263-7863
Keywords: interdisciplinary research, interdisciplinary integration, evaluation, matrix organisation, project review
Copyright Information: © 2016 Elsevier Ltd, APM and IPMA. All rights reserved.
Funders: CSIRO, European Union Horizon 2020 (EU H2020)
Projects and Grants: CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, EU Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 659449
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2019 09:22
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350703 Disaster and emergency management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 100%
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