Mare needs to secure some funding. Trotting through previous successful applications, she finds a common denominator. As a purebred scientist, she bellows:
How important is interdisciplinary research for a research proposal?
Very important. Realistically, you’ll not get funded in case you’re a one-trick pony. Who will hand over their pouch of gold nuggets to someone who will only code? Someone who can only process geodetic data? Someone who will only hammer some rocks? Someone who will only dredge samples from the mud? Someone who only picks arrivals from seismograms? Someone who’s putting a piece of rock inside a compression apparatus?
When erudite and fast-paced reviewers skulk through such proposals, they think it’s a dog and pony show. Like you’re trying to flog a dead horse, because the time of authentically lonesome science has passed by; these lone rangers have been put to pasture. It’s not good enough anymore to just collect data, expand a model code or fill the blank (or crudely filled in) spots on the geological maps. The people demand interpretation. Interpretation requires knowledge about processes. These processes are described by data. Data other than just your type of data. Data from different disciplines. Data that can form hypotheses. Hypotheses that can be confirmed or refuted by experiments. And so on. And so on.
Don’t be stubborn as a mule by sticking to only one discipline in your research proposal. You’ll back the wrong horse. You need to hoof it and find colleagues from disciplines tangential to bridle your application. To be crystal clear, I don’t mean that you have to lurk outside the philosophy department and join together to determine the meaning of life whilst evaluating the existential crisis of people being thrown to the surface during a supershear fault rupture underneath ones feet. Don’t chomp the bit to wander around your department and just ask stupid questions to people. Yes … all questions are there to be asked. Especially the stupid ones. Don’t shudder to roam even further and navigate yourself into some other departmental stables. You never know, there might be some savvy researchers out there!
The Sassy Scientist
PS: This post was written at full gallop.