Skip to main content

“What Am I?” The Path to Becoming an Interdisciplinary Academic

Abstract

By exploring the motivations and aspirations of a group of British academics whose doctoral studies were explicitly interdisciplinary, this chapter investigates how their university careers have subsequently developed and the challenges and opportunities that they have faced. Interviewees reflect on their sense of self and the consequences that their interdisciplinary identity has for their status in the academy.

Keywords

  • Academic identity
  • Career experiences
  • Status

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-18659-3_2
  • Chapter length: 19 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-18659-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book
USD   69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    A key change from the earlier ESRC/NERC scheme was that, this time, the Research Councils were offering a two-year interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship as well as the PhD studentship.

  2. 2.

    These funding schemes no longer exist and have been replaced by the Doctoral Training Centre model: see Filippakopoulou (2017) for a further explanation of this funding model and www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training (accessed 17/12/18).

  3. 3.

    See Chap. 3 for a further discussion of the RAE and its replacement, the REF.

  4. 4.

    Many PhD topics are shaped by the supervisor and, indeed in the natural sciences, it is customary for the supervisor to present the student with the research question. One would also expect potential supervisors to advise applicants on potential sources of funding so we cannot infer too much from the fact that many informants talked about the influence of their supervisor as part of the motivation for starting down this interdisciplinary route.

  5. 5.

    This observation from Norman introduces the idea of “slowness” which is explored further in conjunction with the question about how we facilitate serendipity within the modern academy in Chap. 5.

  6. 6.

    If necessary, I followed this up with prompts such as “what has helped to move your career forward?” or “what do you think has held you back?”

References

  • Augsburg, Tanya. 2014. Becoming Transdisciplinary: The Emergence of the Transdisciplinary Individual. World Futures 70 (3–4): 233–247.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Castán Broto, Vanesa, Maya Gislason, and Melf-Hinrich Ehlers. 2009. Practising Interdisciplinarity in the Interplay Between Disciplines: Experiences of Established Researchers. Environmental Science & Policy 12 (7): 922–933.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cuevas-Garcia, C.A. 2015. ‘I Have Never Cared for Particular Disciplines’ – Negotiating an Interdisciplinary Self in Biographical Narrative. Contemporary Social Science 10 (1): 86–98.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Evans, James, and Samuel Randalls. 2008. Geography and Paratactical Interdisciplinarity: Views from the ESRC–NERC PhD Studentship Programme. Geoforum 39 (2): 581–592.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Filippakopoulou, Maria. 2017. The Shift Towards Doctoral Training Partnerships in the United Kingdom Higher Education: The BBSRC DTP Governance Model – Potential and Impact. Master’s dissertation, University of Edinburgh.

    Google Scholar 

  • Golde, Chris M., and Hanna Alix Gallagher. 1999. The Challenges of Conducting Interdisciplinary Research in Traditional Doctoral Programs. Ecosystems 2: 281–285.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lingard, Lorelei, Catherine F. Schryer, Marlee M. Spafford, and Sandra L. Campbell. 2016. Negotiating the Politics of Identity in an Interdisciplinary Research Team. Qualitative Research 7 (4): 501–519.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Lyall, C., A. Bruce, W. Marsden, and L. Meagher. 2011. Identifying Key Success Factors in the Quest for Interdisciplinary Knowledge. Report to NERC.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meagher, Laura, and Catherine Lyall. 2005. Evaluation of the ESRC/NERC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship Scheme. Report to ESRC.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 2009. Evaluation of ESRC/MRC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Scheme. Report to ESRC.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tait, J. 1999. Help for the Academic Nomads in Search of Their Own Sympathetic Tribe. Times Higher Education, March 5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zucker, D. 2012. Developing Your Career in an Age of Team Science. Journal of Investigative Medicine 60 (5): 779–784.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Catherine Lyall .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 The Author(s)

About this chapter

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Lyall, C. (2019). “What Am I?” The Path to Becoming an Interdisciplinary Academic. In: Being an Interdisciplinary Academic. Palgrave Pivot, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-18659-3_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-18659-3_2

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Pivot, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-18658-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-18659-3

  • eBook Packages: EducationEducation (R0)