Embracing the Multidisciplinary Approach
In the realm of Ajantapaedia, we delve into a multidisciplinary approach that employs a diverse range of tools, investigations, and methodologies. Our commitment is to adhere to the highest scientific principles of ‘frontier’ research and documentation within the social sciences and humanities. This commitment positions our database not just as a repository of information, but as a dynamic platform for innovation and discovery.
Defining Frontier Research
Frontier research, a term originally coined in a report by the European Commission, uniquely positions itself at the intersection of basic (fundamental/pure) and applied research, extending its reach far beyond traditional boundaries. This type of research is defined by several key characteristics:
- Creation of New Knowledge: Frontier research is at the vanguard of generating new knowledge and developing a deeper understanding. It is marked by fundamental discoveries, significant theoretical and empirical advancements, and occasionally, revolutionary breakthroughs that dramatically alter our comprehension of the world.
- Inherent Risk and Boldness: Engaging in frontier research involves embracing risk. The most promising directions for advancing a field are often unclear in new and exciting research areas. Researchers in this domain are encouraged to be bold and take risks, as they are best positioned to identify the most promising opportunities. Funding agencies play a crucial role in supporting these trailblazing researchers and their innovative ideas.
- Blurring Basic and Applied Research: Contrary to the traditional dichotomy of ‘basic’ versus ‘applied’ research, frontier research often encompasses both. Researchers may simultaneously seek new knowledge about the world and generate useful knowledge for practical applications. This leads to a seamless integration of science and technology, removing barriers typically encountered when basic and applied research are conducted in isolation.
- Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries: Frontier research transcends established disciplinary limits, often involving multi-, inter-, or transdisciplinary collaborations. This approach brings together researchers from varied disciplines, each contributing different theoretical and conceptual perspectives, techniques, methodologies, and instrumentation. Such collaborations may even have diverse goals and motivations, enriching the research process.1
- European Commission, Frontier Research: The European Challenge High-Level Expert Group Report (Brussels: European Commission, 2005), p. 18. ↩︎