Welcome to the 2016 Bournemouth Research Chronicle

The issues facing our society and the world are becoming increasingly complex, requiring solutions that work across disciplines, taking the best thinking and knowledge from a range of subject areas. Here at BU, we encourage our academics to break down barriers and take an interdisciplinary approach to their research, as we believe that by working together we can create the most innovative ideas and solutions.

This year’s Bournemouth Research Chronicle (BRC) is a celebration of our interdisciplinary research and we are delighted to introduce you to just a small selection of exciting projects. By connecting experts in different fields, we collaborate on interdisciplinary research, the aim of which is to develop novel approaches and innovative schools of thought that can be applied to complex problems. By taking a holistic view of an issue, more rounded solutions can be developed than would have been possible if a societal challenge was examined through the lens of just one discipline. Of course, we still need researchers to work solely within their discipline; to push the boundaries of their subject and develop new areas of knowledge to create the building blocks for future interdisciplinary research.

The new perspectives developed through interdisciplinary research not only help to give a better understanding of some of the complex problems facing our society, but also help to inform both the teaching and professional practice undertaken by our academics. Our blend of teaching, research and professional practice is at the heart of our Fusion strategy which underpins our work and culture at BU. Introducing different disciplines to our teaching helps to give our students a richer understanding of the world and their subject areas.

We encourage an interdisciplinary approach through our research institutes and centres, where academics from different disciplines and faculties come together to work on various research challenges – sharing ideasand knowledge to develop new theories and solutions.

Our Research Knowledge Exchange Office (RKEO) also runs sandpit sessions, which are day-long workshops where researchers from across the university discuss a particular societal problem and use their collective knowledge to come up with potential research projects. One of our recent sandpit sessions tackled the issue of falls in older people, which is a growing challenge for both the NHS and social care. While it is still early days, we are looking forward to seeing what comes of that session and the new partnerships that emerge from it. Research Councils UK (RCUK) recognises the importance of cross-disciplinary working and has identified a number of areas where we – as a country – need to be encouraging the development of more interdisciplinary research.

From global security to living with environmental change and lifelong health and wellbeing, the topics they have chosen are huge challenges, not just for research, but for us as a society, as a country and in many cases globally. In this year’s BRC, we are exploring how our academics and BU research are contributing to a better understanding of and solutions to some of the biggest questions facing our society. We invite you to delve in and discover more about our fascinating research.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Vinney and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation Professor John Fletcher

This article appeared in the 2016 Bournemouth Research Chronicle. Download a copy of the magazine, or view the articles online.