Grand Challenges and Small Steps. Introduction to the Special Issue 'Interdisciplinary Integration: The Real Grand Challenge for the Life Sciences?'

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This collection addresses two different audiences: 1) historians and philosophers of the life sciences reflecting on collaborations across disciplines, especially as regards defining and addressing Grand Challenges; 2) researchers and other stakeholders involved in cross-disciplinary collaborations aimed at tackling Grand Challenges in the life and medical sciences. The essays collected here offer ideas and resources both for the study and for the practice of goal-driven cross-disciplinary research in the life and medical sciences. We organise this introduction in three sections. The first section provides some background and context. The second motivates our take on this topic and then outlines the central ideas of each paper. The third section highlights the specificity and significance of this approach by considering: a) how this collection departs from existing literature on inter- and trans-disciplinarity, b) what is characteristic about this approach, and c) what role this suggests for the history and philosophy of the life sciences in addressing Grand Challenges.
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