The University of Melbourne is committed to being a comprehensive research-intensive university that is able to respond to major social, economic and environmental challenges.

Traditionally this has involved harnessing the strength, breadth and depth of its research within discipline boundaries, but increasingly the complex nature and global scale of the challenges facing society is also demanding new and more flexible ways of working in multidisciplinary teams.

To facilitate this, the University has established the Melbourne Research Institutes. A portfolio of Institutes draws on the breadth of the University’s research activity, whilst retaining and respecting discipline strengths. Each Institute brings together researchers from across the University to form new teams to tackle big, complex issues. The Institutes also showcase the diverse research programs taking place across the University.

Interdisciplinary research has a collaborative focus and blends and integrates research between disciplines. Researchers from two or more disciplines work together and create a shared discourse about the research problem. This offers a vantage point from which to interrogate the core assumptions of a discipline and to trace or even redraw its boundaries. Recent decades have seen the birth of interdisciplines – such as ecological economics and climate adaptation – where an interdisciplinary research project has consolidated to the point of creating a new discipline.

To solve real world problems, we need to combine the best of all disciplines.