New call for interview partners from the Leibniz Postdoc Network: the pleasure (and pain) of interdisciplinary collaboration

Currently, humankind faces a series of immense societal challenges that will shape life on our planet for generations to come. Recent developments reaffirm our conviction that these challenges cannot be addressed without a strong contribution from science. To put it more precisely: interdisciplinary, evidence-based scientific approaches that tackle these enormous challenges from multiple angles are desperately needed yet their integration is often a huge challenge by itself.

As we have been announcing recently, our interview series that revolved around COVID-19 in 2021 will get a sequel in 2022. This time, we want to address a more general issue in academia namely the challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary research projects1. The format we envision includes two (or, on occasion also more) postdocs who work together in a research project at one or more Leibniz institutes and who are going to talk with us about the interdisciplinary nature of their project and what they have learned during this kind of work.

More specifically here are the requirements:

  • At least one of the researchers involved should currently be a postdoc at a Leibniz-Institute. The second researcher might well come from a university or another research institute (e.g. a Helmholtz Institute), preferably from Germany (but we are open to international collaboration projects as long as at least one postdoc is Leibniz-affiliated). Interdisciplinary work involving partners from industry or federal agencies will also be considered.
  • We prefer if all researchers involved are in the postdoc phase but we will also consider submissions where part of the team is a doctoral student.
  • We are aware that where exactly interdisciplinary scientific work starts is debatable. For instance a collaboration between a physicist and a biochemist addressing protein folding mechanisms in molecular biology might be seen as a pure natural science project by a historian. As with the handling of our last interview series, we want to address this issue first and foremost with an inclusive approach – so in most cases if you think you are working in an interdisciplinary project team we will consider you interdisciplinary researchers.

If your work meets our criteria and you are motivated to answer some questions and contribute to raising awareness about the need for interdisciplinary research and about science communication in general, send us your informal application to by 31/08/2022. Please be sure to use the email subject “Interview WG2”! The email should include:

  • Title and brief description of the project
  • Name, institute, status (postdoc, PhD student, …) and email address for all scientists involved in the interview

We are looking forward to your applications and to working with you! Together we can make a difference!

1As a footnote we want to stress that the differences between inter-, trans- and multidisciplinary academic research were not completely lost on us but for the sake of brevity and clarity we stick with one term here. We envision that the differentiation between these terms and what they actually mean for us will form a vital part of the interviews in the series. Just in case you never thought about these differences here’s a short blog post on the topic.

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