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A Masterclass in Interdisciplinarity: Research into practice in training the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers

This paper draws on evaluations of a number of interdisciplinary studentship and fellowship schemes to discuss some of the challenges of developing interdisciplinary research skills in early career researchers. It describes efforts to support such capacity-building in the UK through a series of Interdisciplinary Masterclasses which used workshop-based elicitation techniques to develop smallscale studies in order to synthesise experiential knowledge and foster mutual learning. This has enabled us to build important bridges between research and practice, thereby supporting and developing the interdisciplinary careers of early- and mid-career researchers, as well as research managers and leaders. This paper describes an approach to interdisciplinary capacity-building derived from actual practice. Based on learning from these activities, we offer some suggestions for improved supervision and mentoring of interdisciplinary graduate students and young postdoctoral researchers. If we are to develop effective, future interdisciplinary capacity, we advocate that supervisors/mentors need to focus, not just on the research, but on the particular forms of professional support and mentoring required by inexperienced interdisciplinary researchers in terms of career guidance, the development of publications strategies and network building.