This paper introduces a practical innovation in facilitating interdisciplinary social science research and its application: the Social Science Research Park (SPARK). Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in developing interdisciplinary research that addresses societal problems and so-called “grand challenges”. But the evidence of successfully delivering such interdisciplinarity is weak, particularly when it comes to social science-led research. With this challenge in mind, this essay explores the potential of SPARKs: purpose-built facilities housing applied social science research groups alongside researchers from other disciplines, external research stakeholders and collaborators from the private, public and third sectors. The intention is to create the facilities and physical spaces that encourage creative interaction and promote the adoption of collaborative approaches to research. These in turn provide new insights into practical problems and policy issues and the foundation for discovery leading to economic, public and social innovation.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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