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"COLLISIONS": AN APPROACH FOR OVERCOMING TODAY'S COMPLEX CHALLENGES- Dr. Pratik Mungekar

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

The need for “collisions” arises primarily from the far more complex and challenging problems confronting the global community today and- therefore- the corresponding need to open up of the space for discoveries and innovations to find new solutions by bringing different disciplines to work together.


The last few decades of the twentieth century saw the rise of “multidisciplinary research”- where researchers from different disciplines work together- each drawing on his disciplinary knowledge.


Considerable progress had been made using this approach- but- some of the most complex of problems require closer integration of the disciplines- for example by sharing and combining methods- knowledge- and frameworks from across the different disciplines.



This “interdisciplinary” approach has given rise to new fields at the intersections of disciplines that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. For example- the field of bioinformatics integrates biology- statistics and computer science to make sense of vast amounts of biological and medical data- and the field of biomedical engineering tackles unmet medical needs by synthesizing the traditional engineering disciplines with medicine- as well as other disciplines such as materials science.


Such collisions of disciplines have led to great advancements and ground-breaking innovation in diverse areas ranging from synthetic chemistry to genomics.


In the decades that followed- the field flourished as computer scientists- neuroscientists and psychologists devised algorithms and neural networks that could enable computers to solve increasingly complex problems. But- it was only in the late 1990s that improvements in computational power finally caught up and allowed the conversion of many theoretical concepts into reality.



we must never forget upstream investigator-led research- as it is an important source of transformative ideas and creations. This is why there are always Individual Research Grants available in each of the Domains.


Lastly, it is vitally important that we continue communicating and exchanging ideas with people from other fields and backgrounds- so that we can keep ourselves abreast of developments in other areas of research.


History has also shown that serendipity plays an important role in many discoveries- for instance in penicillin and X-rays. By keeping ourselves open to communication and scientific exchange- we increase the chance of encountering that crucial spark of inspiration. As the saying goes- luck favors the prepared mind.



Conclusion


To conclude- by fostering collisions of disciplines and ideas- we can create infinite opportunities for serendipitous discoveries and gain inspiration for innovations that might otherwise not be available to us.


And when we add to that the power of imagination- we should be able to devise innovative and impactful solutions to the complex challenges faced by the world today- such as antibiotic resistance- food security- and climate change.


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