Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part commentary by Rana Dajani and a group of contributors who met as panelists in a session of the 2017 World Science Forum, held under the leadership of the Royal Scientific Research Support Fund, Jordan. The first part was “Making Interdisciplinary Research Actually Happen.”
Covid-19 is a perfect example of a problem that demands an interdisciplinary approach. The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in every nation, independently of their health-care system’s capacity and socio-economic resources. To deal with this crisis, we need the combined efforts of physicians, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, virologists, geneticists, immunologists, and mental health experts. We need informed decision-makers and the research and development forces of the private sector. Without all of these, and more, we will not succeed.
Susana Frazao Pinheiro, Health Care and Life Sciences Education, United Kingdom
University College London, where I am an assistant professor of education in the School of Management, has spearheaded initiatives to create innovative programs with the Medical and Life Sciences Faculties across the university’s schools and colleges to train the next generation. In order to take promising pharmaceutical research and other innovations into the market, it is important for scientists to have an understanding of business and entrepreneurial skills, language and knowledge. This led us to develop a joint master’s-degree program between the UCL Schools of Pharmacy and of Management at UCL.
Another area that requires an interdisciplinary approach is the need to train future doctors in management skills. They need to learn how to assess the benefits and the intended and unintended consequences of potentially life-saving innovations.
In 2014, the School of Management developed an innovative module on Medical Policy, Innovation and Management that brings together experts from our school and other departments, to discuss and debate these topics with medical students. The general recognition that no discipline alone can address the vast dimension of the challenges that the medical profession faces is important, but so are the specific actions taken towards this.
The latter is what has led us to develop a Health Care and Life Sciences portfolio at the School of Management. We have also been contributing to other programs with modules on sustainable entrepreneurship, for example.