Advances in science and engineering increasingly require the collaboration of scholars from various fields. This shift is driven by the urgent need to address complex problems that cut across traditional disciplines, and the capacity of new technologies to both transform existing disciplines and generate new ones. At the same time, however, interdisciplinary research is impeded at many institutions by policies on hiring, promotion, tenure, and resource allocation that favor traditional disciplines, says a new report from the National Academies.
"This report identifies steps that individuals and institutions can take to more effectively conduct, facilitate, and evaluate interdisciplinary research programs and projects," said Nancy Andreasen, co-chair of the committee that wrote the report, Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, and director, The MIND Institute, Albuquerque, N.M.
The committee urged academic institutions to explore new models that foster and reward interdisciplinary interactions. Industrial and national laboratories have traditionally operated successful interdisciplinary programs because their research goals are established and pursued in terms of projects rather than by discipline. Teams of researchers from various fields are formed to solve particular problems, an approach that stimulates interdisciplinary interactions.
Vanee Vines | EurekAlert!
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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