Preprint Open Access

Tools to improve efficiency in interdisciplinary energy research projects

Cohen, Jed; Azarova, Valeriya; Klöckner, Christian A.; Kollmann, Andrea; Löfström, Erica; Polhill, Gareth J.; Reichl, Johannes; Salt, Douglas

Interdisciplinary research is especially relevant in the energy field where ambitious political targets for the energy transition require rapid advancements in technology and simultaneous developments in social norms and citizen engagement. Challenges related to interdisciplinary communication and the integration of findings across disciplines have been cited in past work to inhibit effective cooperation and the production of holistic research outputs. This paper offers specific tools and recommendations to overcome these challenges and facilitate an efficient collaboration. Specifically, a method for building a common project vocabulary and strategies for face-to-face group discussions are presented and tested. Recommendations regarding the usage and effectiveness of these strategies are based on the experiences of the SMARTEES Horizon 2020 interdisciplinary energy project consortium. Takeaways include tools for building a project culture wherein personnel are cognizant of word choice and disciplinary jargon is discouraged, and structured discussion strategies for better usage of precious face-to-face meeting time.

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