Interdisciplinary research and education programmes in water science are intended to produce groundbreaking research, often with an emphasis on societal relevance, and prepare future water resource experts to work across disciplines. This paper explores the emerging outcomes from an ongoing doctoral programme currently in its seventh year. Within the programme, there is both cross-disciplinary and mono-disciplinary research. Three questions are explored: (i) whether cross-disciplinary research leads to more innovative scientific findings than mono-disciplinary research, (ii) whether cross-disciplinary researchers develop professional skills that benefit their future careers, and (iii) whether cross-disciplinary research produces findings of greater societal relevance than mono-disciplinary research. Various indicators are used to measure research and education outcomes. Analysis of journal impact factors and citation rates of Institute of Scientific Information indexed publications suggests that cross-disciplinary research findings are more innovative. Comparison between graduate research profile and their career destinations suggests that researchers who learn to work across the disciplines continue to work this way in their post-doctoral positions. Analysis of media interest in research findings or their impact on policy suggests that both types of research are of societal value, but researchers often expand their understanding of a societal interest topic by bringing in new research fields.
- Collaborative research
- Post-graduate education
- Water resources research
- First received 12 April 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 22 October 2016.
- © 2017 The Authors
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