Interdisciplinary blog


Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Southampton- Driving Discovery and Positive Impact

May 14, 2013
by Guy Poppy

Riding the wave of recent successes Multidisciplinary Research Week and the inaugural University of Southampton TEDx conference, Director of Multidiscplinary Research Professor Guy Poppy (pictured) blogs here to give further insight into his fascinating work…

Professor Guy M Poppy's photo

At the University of Southampton we recognise that a range of research competencies are necessary to devise and apply integrative solutions to today’s most pressing societal challenges.

This new holistic approach to research is inspired by the drive to solve complex questions and address the multifaceted nature of high priority issues such as ensuring energy and food supply, biomedical ethics, sustainable resources, population health, and an ageing population.

That is why the University of Southampton has opened up the traditional approach to research with one that transcends research boundaries. We have established a number of multidisciplinary research groups that we call USRGs (University Strategic Research Groups) as well as Institutes which provide a unique, cross-disciplinary research community of over 2000 academics, staff and students working to address key national and international priority research areas, as well as driving forward scholarly understanding within disciplines.

See my latest interview Multidisciplinary Research Week.

Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Southampton acts as a mode of discovery and education. This holistic approach has had a positive impact on the culture of the University of Southampton over the past 6 years through providing a model which supports cross-disciplinary research excellence and links our academics to decision makers and the general public.

Our USRGs and Institutes are working on the frontiers of knowledge in a range of areas that drive academic excellence and positive impact in policy and public debate. It is really exciting to see ones research have influence and impact in many ways beyond those usually reachable in academia. Clearly the funders of research see this as important too as does the REF2014 exercise where impact case studies have been introduced.

One of the extraordinary achievements of the past six years has included the development of our annual Multidisciplinary Research Week. Now in its third year, #MDRWeek has grown into what has become a significant role here in the University of Southampton in showcasing the diverse quality of our cross-disciplinary research and driving effective influence to policy and the broader community.

Our recent Multidisciplinary Research Week 2013 is an excellent example of how cross-disciplinary research can have a positive change here at the university in stimulating debate, innovation and inspiring ‘ideas worth spreading’.

Full details about our #MDRWeek 2013 can be found here.

Multidisciplinary Research has delivered much already and promises more.
I am convinced that developing this unique cross-disciplinary model and building on the foundation of research excellence, the University of Southampton will be even more successful in the future in developing research that benefit humanity and change the world.

Full details about all of our multidisciplinary research initiatives can be found below.

Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @GuyPoppy1

See my latest TEDx talk Global Food Security


Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Southampton.
Bringing together adventurous minds to achieve the impossible.

Seminar Series:

Research Week:




Follow us on twitter and share your experience with us: @multisoton #MDRweek

Multidisciplinary Research Week 2013- Success

May 7, 2013
by Alison Simmance

The University of Southampton sprang to life during the 17-22nd March when over 1050 attendees joined us for the 3rd annual Multidisciplinary Research Week.

This year’s week long celebration was built on the best cross-disciplinary science and arts from the University of Southampton’s staff and students with a packed programme of talks, hands-on science demonstrations, exhibitions, debates and a film screening. We were also joined by key external speakers who brought insights into policy applications and cutting edge research in relation to our University Strategic Research Groups.

See the full programme here.  The energy and intellectual alchemy of the week certainly inspired ‘ideas worth spreading’ and far exceeded our expectations. Thank you to all our speakers, demonstrators, supporters, volunteers, digital champions, sponsors and attendees for enabling this annual cross-disciplinary event at the University of Southampton to be a huge success.

The week in numbers– see the statistics from MDR Week 2013 below or in the MDRWeek 2013 Final Statistics Flyer.

Blog posts about all our events at #MDRWeek will be coming shortly! Watch this site for news.

Did you miss MDR week 2013?

See all our multimedia outputs online now!





Did you miss TEDxSouthamptonUniversity 2013?


  • 23 events (incl. 2 exhibitions and 1 interactive art session) from 17-22nd March 2013.
  • 1057 actual attendees (approx. 10% external).
  • First TEDx at the University of Southampton- tickets sold out; new website; IBM sponsorship; 15 speakers; >1000 hits so far on YouTube.
  • Prof Mohan Munasinghe– Vice Chair of IPPC/Nobel Prize Winner 2007 (BBC Radio Solent Broadcast & future collaborations).
  • First formal celebration of the World Water Day 2013 (150 attendees).
  • >70 people attended the ‘Litmus Project: Science & Poetry Exhibition’.
  • >120 people attended ‘Question Time: The Brain & Society’, (incl. 40 6th Formers)
  • 15 people created an eco-friendly bag from 60th Anniversary campaign banner material at ‘Be a Green Shopper’.
  • Collaborations: UoS Science & Engineering Festival, WSA, WUN, IBM, Google, Marwell Wildlife, three 6th Form Colleges.

First year that social media was used!


MDR Week 2014- Your Views

We are now already planning next year’s research week and welcome any suggestions for a possible theme on this. If you have an interesting cross-disciplinary project/initiative or idea and/or wish  to get involved in other ways then please contact us:


Full details available at:


Share your experience with us on Twitter #MDRWeek @Multisoton