Following our Open letter with recommendations on effective funding for inter- and transdisciplinary research, our association has joined forces with ScienceEurope, EUA and UNICA to again emphasised the vital importance of supporting inter- and transdisciplinary research.
The current evaluation of research proposals and corresponding guidelines for evaluators are mainly designed and applied alongside discipline-specific approaches and processes. They do not seem to be well attuned to the specificities of inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects and their application often reduces the success of interdisciplinary projects when competing for funding.
Assessment methodology and reward schemes for researchers are mostly discipline-based and do not sufficiently reward inter- and trans-disciplinary efforts. The performance of researchers and the success of research projects are still often measured by highly cited publications in ‘high impact’ journals, which is a narrow form of outcome and poorly captures the full impact of research (for more information see DORA declaration https://sfdora.org/read/). The diversification of research assessment criteria is an important step in enabling inter- and trans-disciplinarity.
Science Europe, EUA, CESAER and UNICA want to encourage the establishment of mixed assessment panels with experts in inter-and trans-disciplinary research. It is important to make sure that experts representing all disciplines covered within a project application participate in all assessment stages to ensure that their input has equal weight and to stimulate familiarisation with inter- and trans-disciplinary research.