Answering the big contemporary issues effectively: Shaping best practice for Sciences and Humanities Collaborations

15 January 2018

Image from Punch’s Almanac for 1882

Experts across the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University are working together to identify best practice to help government and third sector organizations think in innovative ways about interdisciplinary collaboration.

Collaboration across disciplines in the Humanities and the Sciences is to be explored in the new University project Shaping Best Practice in Science-Social Science-Humanities.

The seven-month project, made possible by the ESRC Impact Acceleration grant scheme, builds on the work pioneered at Cardiff on the ScienceHumanities.

The project examines the methods and practices of collaborations between the humanities, sciences, and social sciences across the UK to generate a series of best practice recommendations to inform the future work of practitioners, government bodies and third sector organizations. The lessons learned from the project will be shared with key stakeholders, including The Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor for Wales, Arts Council Wales, the Ser Cymru Programme, Cancer Research UK, and HEFCW. The aim is to effect change upon the policies of cross-disciplinary engagement that emerge from both third sector and governmental organisations.

Professor of English Literature Martin Willis at the School of English, Communication and Philosophy said:“Many projects aim to produce important new research by bringing together the humanities, sciences and social sciences. However, very rarely do they share their experiences of doing so or reflect upon the methods employed to make collaboration work effectively. Identifying best practice, examining it and sharing it with others seems to us to be of vital importance if we are to have the best chance of solutions to our present and future challenges.”

Professor of History Keir Waddington of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion said:

“This exciting collaborative project builds on the work we are doing at Cardiff to develop the ScienceHumanities and how we might rethink how we work across and between disciplines. We hope that through this project we will gain a better understanding of what makes humanities-science-social science collaborations tick, and how we can use our knowledge to develop better ways of working to inform how governmental and third sector organizations understand and approach collaborative projects in the humanities and sciences.”

Dr Des Fitzgerald of the School of Social Sciences said:

“This is an exciting opportunity not just to work across the humanities and social sciences, but to use social sciences methods as a tool for figuring out how practitioners and scholars from very different areas can learn to collaborate better.”

A collaborative transdisciplinary project, the ScienceHumanities is an ambitious attempt to think and rethink the relationships and the boundaries between the humanities and sciences. At its core, ScienceHumanities highlights the theoretical, political, and practical necessity of plural humanities approaches. Supported by funding from Cardiff University and the Wellcome Trust’s Institutional Strategic Support Fund, the ScienceHumanities offers new ways of working to give increased impetus to research and engagement by placing the sciences and the humanities in close proximity.