Interdisciplinary trainee networks to promote research on aging: Facilitators, barriers, and next steps

Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2022 Jun 27:1-20. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2022.2088534. Online ahead of print.


Interdisciplinary education and research foster cross disciplinary collaboration. The study of age and aging is complex and needs to be carried out by scholars from myriad disciplines, making interdisciplinary collaboration paramount. Non-formal, extracurricular, and interdisciplinary networks are increasingly filling gaps in academia’s largely siloed disciplinary training. This study examines the experiences of trainees (undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students) who belonged to one such network devoted to interdisciplinary approaches to education and research on aging. Fifty-three trainees completed the survey. Among respondents, some faculties (e.g., Health Sciences) were disproportionately represented over others (e.g., Business, Engineering, and Humanities). Most trainees valued their participation in the interdisciplinary network for research on aging. They also valued expanding their social and professional network, the nature of which was qualitatively described in open-text responses. We then relate our findings to three types of social capital: bonding; bridging; and linking. Finally, we conclude with recommendations for the intentional design and/or refinement of similar networks to maximize value to trainees, provide the skills necessary for interdisciplinary collaboration, and foster egalitarian and representative participation therein.

PMID:35758104 | DOI:10.1080/02701960.2022.2088534

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