Supporting interdisciplinary research, scientific collaboration and policy making: the PolicyGrid II project

Lorna J Philip, Adele Laing, Edoardo Pignotti

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


There is increasing recognition of the importance of interdisciplinary research, especially when investigating pressing socio-environmental concerns such as climate change and in research which endeavours to understand the interplay between human welfare and environmental quality. Interdisciplinary research can help to achieve holistic, systemic understanding of complex phenomenon and geographers have a long track record of engagement with interdisciplinary research which seeks to advance science and to contribute to effective policy making.

PolicyGrid II is a research project led by human and environmental geographers and computer scientists exploring how interdisciplinary research teams work, how their work may be enhanced and, in particular, how computational support can be used to effectively support interdisciplinary teams and their research. Three case study groups which bring together investigators from traditional, disparate disciplines in the social, environmental and natural sciences in order to address ‘big picture’ research problems such as those concerning human-environment interactions and socio-environmental sustainability are being investigated. One way in which inter-disciplinary research teams are being supported is via ourSpaces, a virtual research environment being developed by the PolicyGrid II project. ourSpaces enables users to share and discuss project resources and manage research using various project management related tools in a secure online environment. ourSpaces also incorporates several features designed to enhance interdisciplinary working and social networking amongst project team members. In this paper were will report findings from an ongoing study of the use of ourSpaces and consider how effective such a VRE is in supporting interdisciplinary research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2010
EventAnnual meeting of the Association of American Geographers: 2010 - Washington DC, United States
Duration: 13 Apr 201017 Apr 2010


ConferenceAnnual meeting of the Association of American Geographers
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington DC


  • interdisciplinary research
  • methodology
  • virtual research environments


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