The Intereach Community - Interdisciplinary Integration Research Careers Hub - has been established as a community of practice and research to define and elevate a new class of important boundary-spanning roles.
Our purpose is to articulate and promote the need for a career path around interdisciplinary research expertise, and to improve practitioners' tools, best practices, success metrics, and career trajectories. The idea is that interdisciplinary connection, translation and synthesis is a huge part of the success of complex scientific endeavors but that these functions (particularly post-award) are either handled in an ad-hoc way, or by people who are in “alt-academic” careers with a much less established, valued and visible trajectory than the traditional tenure track pathway. This leads to science outcomes that are sub-optimal, and in many cases fails to appropriately recognize the intellectual leadership and expertise needed to perform thisBeyond just being unfair, the stature problem leads to missed opportunities in terms of training and talent recruitment in addition to the science outcomes.
Intereach roles exist in multiple institutions under a wide variety of names, often having arisen organically in response to individual organizational needs. Membership includes academic administrators, interdisciplinary executive scientists, research development professionals, clinical translational scientists, scientific laboratory managers, and others. Through regular webinars, listserv activity and annual workshops held at the Science of Team Science conferences, our community is working to define ourselves, our values, and our needs to elevate project outcomes through enabling excellence in integration across boundaries.