From an organisational perspective, interdisciplinarity requires that all perspectives in the school are heard and taken into account. This necessitates:
- Open and efficient channels of communication.
- A governance framework in which the various disciplines and stakeholders (PhDs, staff, participating schools) are represented.
- Example: The Steering Committee of the Doctoral School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Helsinki. The School is an umbrella organisation for eleven doctoral programmes. It has its own academic leader and a steering committee group. The members of the steering committee group consist of vice-deans from each faculty at the campus.
- Ensure the representation of PhD students from different disciplinary areas on the School’s governance bodies.
- Example: The Erasmus Graduate School for Social Sciences and Humanities has a PhD Council, consisting of PhD students from the various disciplines. Five members of the Council are assigned to the Programme Board. The Council manages the annual PhD satisfaction survey amongst its members, but also the organisation of academic and social events [PhD Council].
- An established and agreed policy and strategy regarding the necessity of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in doctoral training.
- Engagement with the interdisciplinary agenda(s) of the home university.
- Leadership by example, i.e. having a head of the Graduate School that embodies the interdisciplinarity propagated.
Fostering an interdisciplinary research culture requires the appropriate management, infrastructure, funding and strategies. This necessitates measures such as:
Collaborating with interdisciplinary research centres or groups that can provide support and guidance to PhD students. Example: The Heidelberg Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences has signed an agreement with the Collaborative Research Centre 933 for the humanities ‘Material Text Cultures’. This is a long-term university-based research institution in which researchers work together within a multidisciplinary research programme. The agreement has entered its third four-year funding period.