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Addressing complex real-world problems: a new discipline, a repository and you

23 March 2015, 1.15pm, Free
at Macaulay B Suite, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, and streamed live to New Seminar Room, Invergowrie
for scientists, researchers and other interested parties
Soil erosion in Ethiopia (c) James Hutton Institute

This seminar by Professor Gabriele Bammer will discuss our ability to contribute effectively to the resolution of complex real-world problems, and will propose the development of a new science discipline around integration and implementation.


As researchers, fragmentation hinders our ability to contribute to addressing complex ('wicked') real-world problems such as global environmental change, organised crime and growing inequalities. Although many approaches have been developed to deal with such problems, including systems thinking, inter- and trans-disciplinarity, action research and so on, there are few links between researchers developing or practising them. Further, there are also few connections between researchers developing effective methods as part of their investigations of environmental, population health, security, education or other problems. I propose that a new discipline—Integration and Implementation Sciences (I2S)—is required to develop a repository of methods collected from all these disparate sources and that a Big Science effort, similar in scope to the Human Genome Project, is needed to build the repository. An outline of I2S and of the Big Science project will be presented.


​​Gabriele Bammer is a professor in the Research School of Population Health at The Australian National University (ANU). She is an ANU Public Policy Fellow, an inaugural Fulbright New Century Scholar alumna and has held visiting appointments at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government (2001-14), ETH-Zurich and the Universitaet fuer Bodenkultur in Vienna. From 2007-2013 she was the convenor of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security's Integration and Implementation research program. In 2015 she will co-convene (with Michael Smithson) an edX Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on 'Ignorance!'. Her books include Disciplining Interdisciplinarity: Integration and Implementation Sciences for Researching Complex Real-World Problems (author, 2013), Change! Combining analytic approaches with street wisdom (editor, forthcoming), Research Integration Using Dialogue Methods (co-author, 2009), and Uncertainty and Risk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (co-editor, 2008).

This seminar will be hosted by Dr Kit Macleod.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.