Handbook on Science and Public Policy
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Handbook on Science and Public Policy

Edited by Dagmar Simon, Stefan Kuhlmann, Julia Stamm and Weert Canzler

This Handbook assembles state-of-the-art insights into the co-evolutionary and precarious relations between science and public policy. Beyond this, it also offers a fresh outlook on emerging challenges for science (including technology and innovation) in changing societies, and related policy requirements, as well as the challenges for public policy in view of science-driven economic, societal, and cultural changes. In short, this book deals with science as a policy-triggered project as well as public policy as a science-driven venture.
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Chapter 19: Interdisciplinarity put to test: science policy rhetoric vs scientific practice - the case of integrating the social sciences and humanities in Horizon 2020

Julia Stamm


The push for interdisciplinary research has been one of the most prominent in recent science policy. Increasingly, research institutions and individual researchers are encouraged, sometimes urged, to embrace interdisciplinarity and leave the ‘silos’ of their respective disciplines to open up for collaborative research. However, the rhetoric of interdisciplinarity and the way the concept is being used and referred to in science policy differ quite considerably from interdisciplinarity in scientific practice. While science policy rhetoric and scientific practice are connected, they need to be looked at separately. This is what this chapter sets out to. By examining a particular science policy approach aimed to foster interdisciplinarity, namely the integration of social sciences and humanities in the European Commission’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, the chapter sheds light on the discrepancy between rhetoric and practice and offers some recommendations for future funding programmes.

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