As interest in interdisciplinary research continues to increase, colleges still don’t have answers to critical questions about the best ways to support and encourage collaboration across the disciplines. How can a department fairly evaluate interdisciplinary research in promotion and tenure decisions, for example? How can an institution raise money for interdisciplinary endeavors within a system designed to fund raise for individual schools and colleges?
Submitted by Andy Guess on August 20, 2007 - 4:00am
Robert C. Amme, a research professor of physics at the University of Denver, thinks there aren't nearly enough scientists with expertise in managing nuclear waste. So to train the next generation of environmental assessment specialists, he's taking them to a place where there's no radiation, nuclear fallout or even laws of gravity.
Armed with a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Amme and his colleagues are preparing to build a nuclear reactor -- in the virtual, online world of Second Life.
Seeding Labs, a five-year-old, Harvard University-based effort to collect used and surplus laboratory equipment and distribute it across the developing world, aims not only to transport microscopes but also to forge connections. “You can’t do science in a vacuum, regardless of whether you’re in the U.S. or the Congo,” says Nina Dudnik, Seeding Lab’s founder and a Ph.D. student in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School. “Having the research capacity in the Congo only strengthens us here and vice versa.”