Interdisciplinary education and research have always been an important part of what makes us LiU. This is where researchers, students and collaboration partners meet across borders to find new perspectives and solve complex societal problems.

What is interdisciplinarity?

In an increasingly complex world, research is needed that can see both breadth and depth in the major societal issues.

How interdisciplinarity takes us further

The astronomer who turned his eyes towards Earth

Magnus Gålfalk was ten years old when he became fascinated with space. His doctoral thesis was about how stars are formed. But now he is doing climate research at Linköping University instead.

Researchers in a lab.

Boosted nano material to secure hip implant

Cellular biologist Anna Fahlgren has  teamed up with materials scientist Emma Björk. Together, they will use nano materials that may contribute to a better healing process and faster recovery for the patient.

Four people at a table look towards the camera

“Got further than I could have imagined”

LiU’s interdisciplinary investment in e-health is here to stay. In a course, students from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences are working together with students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering to develop digital solutions.

Researchers interact with a reading robot.

Studying whether a robot can awaken children’s interest in reading

Researchers at Linköping University are studying whether a reading robot can increase fourth graders’ interest in reading. The interdisciplinary project brings together researchers in technology, cognition and pedagogy.

headshot of two female researchers.

Post-COVID syndrome made researchers combine different perspectives

In a large research project, researchers are working across disciplines to understand post-COVID from several different aspects. At the same time, they are researching the interdisciplinary process itself.

From the lab to a commercial product – a long and difficult road

Researchers at Linköping University are working to create the material for the solar cells of the future. The goal is to produce a commercially viable product. An interdisciplinary research project is to try to find out what it takes.

Interdisciplinary work should be rewarded

We need to constantly find new paths and ways of working to become even more interdisciplinary. We are to contribute to the development of society in the best possible way, and one way that we do this is by having a more interdisciplinary mindset.
Jan-Ingvar Jönsson, vice-chancellor of Linköping University

New award for interdisciplinary initiatives

LiU was born out of interdisciplinarity

Without interdisciplinarity, no university in Linköping? We can’t know for sure. What is certain, however, is that interdisciplinarity has always been strong at LiU and has played a significant role in the university’s development.

In the early 1970s, when LiU was still a university college, the Department of Medical Technology was an important bridge between the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medicine. This may have been crucial when the government decided where Sweden’s sixth university would be located. They chose Linköping! The university college became a university in 1975.

A few years later, it was time for a new milestone. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Linköping University had been spun off from Stockholm University which meant that its focus was mostly on education and not so much on research. LiU argued that we need interdisciplinary research to solve contemporary and future societal problems. 

And the government listened. In 1980, the Department of Thematic Studies was inaugurated, which meant something new and untried in the Swedish research community. Its work was organised in interdisciplinary themes, where researchers could meet across traditional subject boundaries and address complex issues together. The first themes were Technology and social change and Water in nature and society. These were followed by more and we now find interdisciplinary research throughout the university.

There are also many good examples when it comes to education programmes. Sweden’s first Master of Science programme in Industrial Engineering and Management linked economics and technology, and in the world’s first clinical teaching department, students from various health care programmes have met many patients over the years. Today, there are interdisciplinary programmes and courses in everything from environmental science to e-health that give our students the tools to create a better society.

But we are not done yet. Our best time is soon!