Encouraging interdisciplinary joint projects in Humanities and Social Sciences

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The inaugural Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Collaborative Research Workshop organised by the Office of the Deputy President (Research & Technology), and hosted by the Asia Research Institute, brought together researchers from the humanities and social sciences faculties to explore the possibilities of joint large grant bids.

The Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Collaborative Research Workshop was held for the first time at the Asia Research Institute (ARI) on 28 March, 2019. The workshop brought together over 70 participants from 11 school, faculties and research institutes, and featured over 20 speakers. The workshop was organised by the Office of the Deputy President (Research & Technology) (ODPRT), and presided over by Professor Chen Tsuhan, NUS Deputy President of Research and Technology, and Professor Brenda Yeoh, Director of Humanities and Social Sciences Research.

The workshop not only served as a new platform for each of the presenters to impart knowledge on their recently completed projects, but also as a forum for exploring collaborative synergy within the HSS ecosphere. The presentations were diverse in research topics, ranging from productivity and management in the new economy to motivating water conservation, and from the socio-legal perspectives from Asia, to governing compound disasters in the region.

Notably, the event sought to encourage interdisciplinary joint projects to bid for major grants of up to $10 million. In response to a comment about the need to have more funding for computational social science related research, Prof Chen expressed his excitement in seeing an increase in projects related to this sub-discipline being discussed during the workshop, and pledged his support for projects of such nature. He also encouraged the researchers to apply for the NRF Fellowship for Artificial Intelligence, and to pitch more computational social sciences based proposals for the Social Science Research Thematic Grants launched under the auspices of the Social Science Research Council.

Prof Yeoh took the opportunity to introduce the new Grant Consultant, Ms Pravena Mohan, who will assist HSS researchers with applying for large grants, and summed up the session by urging the various entities to continue to expand their inter-institutional research collaborations.

The University has always recognised the importance of bringing together researchers in diverse fields to examine critical issues in a holistic way and to seek innovative measures and solutions, to improve life in Asia and the world. Research at NUS covers a wide range of themes including Asian studies, ageing; energy, environmental and urban sustainability, as well as risk management and resilience of financial systems.

The next HSS Collaborative Research Workshop, which will focus on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will be held on 24 May 2019. A call for abstracts has since been announced.