Interdisciplinary gerontological research by design
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Increasingly, gerontological research requires interdisciplinary approaches to address complex research questions. Design methods have been proven to facilitate the growth of interdisciplinary research as they are agile, adaptive, and iterative (White and Deevy, 2020). Involving 140 researchers across 6 faculties, this study used design methods to create interdisciplinary research on ageing. This paper discusses how Design methods were used to successfully grow this research culture for over 5 years. Low and high touch approaches to Design were used. A cross-campus environmental scan was designed to understand cultural commonalities and differences between disciplines and Design workshops were created to harness interdisciplinary understanding, encouraging groups to create interdisciplinary proposals. Ethnographic research and surveys were conducted to assess how Design methods had influenced research culture. Outputs and partnerships were also assessed, and an international scientific committee reviewed interdisciplinary research proposals. Results showed that interdisciplinary partnerships and collaborations increased across faculties. Positive changes in culture were observed, with increased interactions among researchers. Scientific reviewers commented that proposals addressed needs, insured stakeholders inclusion, and were likely to have a positive impact on older people. It demonstrated that Design methods can assist in the creation of interdisciplinary gerontological research. Design assisted researchers to find ‘common languages’ and was beneficial in both group communication and proposal creation. Collaborating with other disciplines offered researchers perspectives that were otherwise inaccessible and lead to more inclusive research.
- Design ITC 
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