How can Development Studies take a lead role in advancing interdisciplinary research? We present findings from the DSA workshop series 2018/19 and invite others to present their own experience and discuss how it challenges, confirms or complements these.
From October to April 2018/19 workshops brought together development researchers with those from other disciplines and policy makers, practitioners and activists, to capitalise on existing strengths and build future capacity for addressing global challenges. Workshop topics were: One Health and zoonoses (IDS); Ethics of research in contexts of post-conflict and displacement (Reading/Bath); Frontiers in urban infrastructure research and action (Manchester/Sheffield); Responding to environmental change (UEA); Water and sustainable development (Bradford); Educational inequality, poverty and development (Bristol); and Towards more equitable research partnerships (SOAS). Key issues for discussion include: promoting social science leadership in shaping interdisciplinary design; shifting social science to be seen as devising solutions rather than simply adding complexity; developing genuine integration rather than simply grouping distinct methods or work-packages; overcoming entrenched inequalities between researchers based in North and South; promoting interdisciplinary practice in teaching; developing a common language for discussion, joint writing and publication; raising the academic status of interdisciplinary outputs; and building in time to learn new ways to work together. Workshop convenors will present brief summaries of emerging issues, with interdisciplinary experts from the Anthropology and Development studies and Social Policy REF panels invited to respond. A roundtable of the convenors and discussants will review common and divergent findings, and their implications for development studies’ role in future interdisciplinary research. The roundtable will be structured so as to encourage active participation of all present. Researchers beyond the series are invited to present summaries of their work and use these to challenge or extend the series’ findings.