Evaluating an interdisciplinary research project: Lessons learned for organisations, researchers and funders

R.H. Bark, Marit Kragt, B.J. Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd, APM and IPMAInterdisciplinary research is often essential to develop the integrated systems understanding needed to manage complex environmental issues that are faced by decision-makers world-wide. The scientific, institutional and funding challenges to interdisciplinary research have been the subject of considerable discussion. Funders remain willing to support such research and to evaluate its impact. In this paper, we develop and apply a set of review concepts to systematically evaluate a large interdisciplinary research project. The project was conducted at a national research organisation that seeks to facilitate interdisciplinary integration. We categorise evaluation concepts as process- and outcome-related and propose five practical management interventions to bridge the concepts to improve interdisciplinary integration. These management interventions are: agree on a conceptual model, incorporate independent review, support synthesisers, foster intra-project communication, and build-in organisational learning. We end with reflections on lessons for the structure of research organisations and of the research team to develop effective interdisciplinary research as well as providing a set of recommendations for interdisciplinary research funders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1459
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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