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Durham University

Durham University News


Creating knowledge across disciplinary boundaries

(20 November 2020)

From the study of silkworms to understanding gravity waves to designing human knee implants, collaborating across different disciplines in research is a common way of working for academics. At Durham, we pride ourselves on this kind of work.

But what are the challenges and how can they be overcome?

This is the topic of our upcoming webinar in our series called Knowledge Across Borders – organised by Durham University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Distinguished experts, Professors Nancy Cartwright and Tom McLeish, will talk about the importance of interdisciplinary work, the challenges involved and how to surmount them.

Interdisciplinary challenges

Drawing on examples such as the Oxford knee implant, natural silk production in the Bombix Mori silkworm, the Stanford gravity probe and the programme to save the native foxes on Santa Cruz Island in California, the researchers will illustrate the questions and methodologies that arise from deep interdisciplinary engagement.

Research by Durham professor of philosophy, Nancy Cartwright, includes her latest project which aims to show how to put scientific research and common knowledge together to build fairer social policies.

The project, called Knowledge for Use (K4U), looks at international HIV-AIDs policies, UK child welfare and the reconfiguration of the UK health service.

Webinar series

This will be the second webinar in the series which is bringing together researchers who are outstanding in their fields of expertise to stimulate new, creative and critical thinking, open up new perspectives across cultures, deepen collaboration and share fresh insights.

The first webinar, attended online by people from 34 countries, featured two leading palaeontologists from Durham University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who discussed how life has been evolving on our planet for some four billion years but for most of geological time life was microbial.

Find out more

  • The webinar “Creating knowledge across disciplinary boundaries” will take place on Wednesday 16 December at 8am (GMT) via Zoom. You can book here
  • Watch this short video about our partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Nancy Cartwright is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University and Distinguished Professor, University of California at San Diego and Tom McLeish is Professor of Natural Philosophy, Department of Physics, University of York 
  • Take a look at research across our faculties at Durham University
  • Find out more about the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Events at Durham University

Check out our new What's On guide to keep up-to-date with dance, drama, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and much more.