Common Ground workshop 3 - Pitching your ideas

  • Event:  Common Ground Workshop 3:  Pitching your Ideas - Multidisciplinary Collaborations in Infectious Diseases
  • Date:  Tuesday 10 May 2016
  • Tiime:  3 - 5 pm
  • Location:  Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Hope Park Square (map)
  • Please register here

The aim of this workshop is to foster new interdisciplinary research teams from across the whole University - from humanities and social science, to basic and clinical science - which will address questions focussed on infectious diseases. 

  • Speakers include
    • Dr Rosalind Allen - School of Physics and Astronomy
    • Dr Alex Nading - School of Social and Political Science
    • Prof Jürgen Schwarze - Centre for Inflammation Research

This workshop will provide the opportunity for researchers to explore the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration in relation to specific research problems. Infectious disease researchers from across the university will be invited to pitch for interdisciplinary collaborators. Short presentations on specific research projects will be followed by questions and discussion to explore the potential for input to those research programmes from other disciplines.

The workshop is intended to facilitate open discussion about the possibilities and limitations of interdisciplinary infectious disease research, and to enable Edinburgh Infectious Diseases researchers to share and communicate their research with one another in an informal environment. We hope the ideas pitch will help to fertilise new collaborations, which we will seek to support through future workshops.

If you would like to pitch an idea at this workshop, please contact


        Why we need to farm, sow and plough the common ground

        There is a growing recognition from research funders that the global challenges presented by infectious diseases demand interdisciplinary collaboration between the biological and physical sciences and researchers from the humanities and social science. Whether in addressing emerging zoonotic diseases, the global rise of anti-microbial resistance, the lack of effective diagnostic devices for hard to reach populations, growing co-morbidity and interactions between communicable and non-communicable diseases, or the urban spread of respiratory disease, it is widely accepted that the most effective medical, scientific and technical solutions will come from research that situates infectious disease in real world social, historical and cultural relations. The valuable potential of interdisciplinary collaboration is highlighted, for example, by the Wellcome Collaborative Awards, launched in 2014, and cross-funding council initiatives such as the MRC/Wellcome/DFID/ESRC Health Systems Research Initiative and the Cross-Council initiative to tackle AMR.

        The University of Edinburgh is in a unique position to mobilise cutting edge, problem-focused, interdisciplinary research on infectious diseases. With its established Edinburgh Infectious Diseases Network, a newly invigorated Medical Humanities Network, and leading researchers in infectious disease represented across all three colleges, the time is ripe for exploring potential overlaps and synergies, and generating shared research goals. This is the work of forming, sowing, and ploughing common ground.

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