Have We Been Looking for Interdisciplinarity in All the Wrong Places?

Building interdisciplinary research capacity has been a holy grail for at least two decades, but in concept and practice that’s usually meant assembling teams of narrowly focused individuals. In part because university science and technology programs wall off nonmajors with prerequisites and other cultural hurdles, people who thrive in the “alien space” between and across multiple disciplines are rare. Today, researchers are reframing the goal toward finding the interdisciplinary alien within—or, as Annie Y. Patrick wrote in the Spring 2023 Issues, embracing “inner interdisciplinarity.”

Why is interdisciplinarity so essential to today’s research enterprise—for climate mitigation, in quantum technologies, and at organizations like DARPA? Why has interdisciplinary research been so difficult to achieve in the past? Could finding ways to foster interdisciplinarity—in individuals, teams, and across disciplines and sectors—accelerate discovery, innovation, and social uptake? On Thursday, October 19, at 3:00 p.m. ET, join Annie Y. PatrickAdam RussellTorey BattelleJoe Bozeman III, and Cristin Dorgelo to discuss new ways of harnessing interdisciplinarity to advance science and technology.



  • Annie Y. Patrick, postdoctoral fellow in the Studio for Transforming Engineering Learning and Research Lab in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech
  • Adam Russell, director of the Artificial Intelligence Division at the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California
  • Torey Battelle, associate director of the Research Technology Office at Arizona State University
  • Joe Bozeman III, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech
  • Moderated by Cristin Dorgelo, former policy official at the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy
October 19, 2023
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ISSUES in Science and Technology