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Ten tips for developing interdisciplinary socio-ecological researchers

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 05:34 authored by Rachel KellyRachel Kelly, Mary MackayMary Mackay, Kirsty NashKirsty Nash, Cvitanovic, C, Allison, EH, Armitage, D, Bonn, A, Cooke, SJ, Stewart FrusherStewart Frusher, Elizabeth FultonElizabeth Fulton, Halpern, BS, Lopes, PFM, Milner-Gulland, EJ, Peck, MA, Gretta PeclGretta Pecl, Stephenson, RL, Werner, F

Interdisciplinary research and collaborations are essential to disentangle complex and wicked global socio-ecological challenges. However, institutional structures and practices to support interdisciplinary research are still developing and a shared understanding on how best to develop effective interdisciplinary researchers (particularly at early career stages) is lacking. Barriers to interdisciplinary approaches, which include diverse disciplinary ‘languages’, research time constraints and limited guidance on how to achieve interdisciplinarity in practice, further challenge this understanding. To help overcome these barriers, this paper provides practical advice for early career researchers and their mentors, as well as senior researchers and lab leaders, in the form of 10 tips: ‘Develop an area of expertise’; ‘Learn new languages’; ‘Be open-minded’; ‘Be patient’; ‘Embrace complexity’; ‘Collaborate widely; ‘Push your boundaries’; ‘Consider if you will engage in interdisciplinary research’; ‘Foster interdisciplinary culture’; and ‘Champion interdisciplinary researchers’. They are presented here to empower present and future generations of interdisciplinary researchers in their endeavour to solve contemporary socio-ecological challenges worldwide.


Publication title

Socio-Ecological Practice Research






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



Place of publication


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Copyright 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified; Other environmental management not elsewhere classified