Interdisciplinarity is crucial in research. It leads to scientific breakthroughs and opens the way for solutions to complex societal problems. In broad terms, interdisciplinary research means research which crosses the boundaries between different scientific disciplines. However, it is a concept that is open to different interpretations, such as integrating methods or theories drawn from at least two disciplines, or involving non-scientific
partners in research. Although research in the Netherlands is of a high standard and there are many interdisciplinary initiatives, there is no cause to rest on our laurels. Societal challenges demand a powerful Dutch research policy, which embraces interdisciplinary research. Given its strong starting position, the Netherlands could set an example in Europe in
helping to forge a more effective policy on interdisciplinary research in the Netherlands and beyond. To explore this, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science put the following question to the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (AWTI): How can the government encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research more effectively, given the current challenges facing society?