2012 Interdisciplinary student projects: enhancing students’ research projects

Christine Le Maitre, D Smith, J Langley, E Lockley, J Westerman, K Vernon-Parry, S Choppin, J Wheat and F Caparrelli

Interdisciplinary working and thinking practices are an increasingly important attribute essential in many work places and disciplines. However, the majority of our courses do not bridge across disciplines or embed the skills required to communicate with other disciplines. 

The Engineering for Life Shadow executive as part of a program to encouraging multidisciplinary work connived a program of student based research projects. Applications were invited from all areas of the University to support student projects which involved more than one department or research centre. An initial networking lunch to establish new connections between staff members across the University was held resulting in a number of applications for funded projects. Projects had to involve academics/students from at least two disciplines/departments within the project team. Each project was supported with additional funding to enable purchase of additional items that would not normally be possible from departmental budgets aimed to enhance the student projects. In this initial study 5 interdisciplinary student projects were funded with involvement from across the University.

In order to enhance the students experience and employability as a result of undertaking the interdisciplinary projects the students will  present their work within a mini student conference. This will enable further dissemination of their work and improving communication skills and enhancing their prospects within the ever challenging work environments. 

This workshop will report and reflect on the experiences of these projects and aim to promote discussion of continuation of the scheme and expansion to enable more students to benefit from the working practices and facilities across departments and faculties. Including discussions of further student projects, and an the establishment of an interdisciplinary student club.

C3 – (FU35) 14.20