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November 2017 Webinar: Motivating Investment in Interdisciplinary Infrastructure: What Can One Person Do?

Michael O’Rourke will share his thoughts on how to gather resources, data, and good arguments for investing in interdisciplinary research, in its infrastructure, and in hiring and training capable staff. Trained as a disciplinary philosopher, he has been interested in interdisciplinary pursuits since graduate school. Although he is a faculty member in a philosophy department, he has developed a number of interdisciplinary projects over the course of his career — a long running conference and associated book series, a well-established colloquium series, and an influential research and outreach project that focuses on communication and collaboration in cross-disciplinary research. He will reflect on these efforts, sharing details about successful and unsuccessful strategies for building interdisciplinary capacity in an academic institution. This presentation will arm each webinar participant with information to effectively "make the case" within their own institution for recognition, support, and validation of their career path as one who facilitates interdisciplinary research.


Michael O’Rourke is Interim Director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinarity, Professor of Philosophy, and faculty in AgBioResearch and Environmental Science & Policy at Michigan State University. His research interests include epistemology, philosophy of environmental science, communication and epistemic integration in collaborative, cross-disciplinary research, and linguistic communication between intelligent agents. He is Director of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, a US NSF-sponsored research initiative that investigates philosophical approaches to facilitating interdisciplinary research ( He has published extensively on the topics of communication, interdisciplinary theory and practice, and robotic agent design in journals such as The Journal of PhilosophySyntheseBioScienceClinical and Translational Science, and The Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. He has been a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or collaborator on funded projects involving environmental science education, the facilitation of cross-disciplinary communication, biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture, resilience in environmental systems, and autonomous underwater vehicles.     

Register (for free!) at the link below: