• University of Southampton

How to Address Global Challenges Through Multidisciplinary Research

Extend your research capacity by learning multidisciplinary and collaborative best practices to help tackle global issues.

A view across Lake Malawi, with drylands on the left and the lake on the right.
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours

Develop your research skills with a multidisciplinary approach

Due to their complexity, global challenges call into question the effectiveness of single-discipline research methods. Instead, a collaboration between disciplines, communities, practitioners, and researchers could help better achieve sustainable solutions.

On this four-week course, you’ll explore the value of using multidisciplinary research to address global challenges. You’ll discover practical approaches as you unpack the benefits and challenges of multidisciplinary research.

Exploring case studies from the UK GCRF BRECcIA project, and focussing on food and water security in sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll gain insights of co-opting ideas and methods from various disciplines.

Turn research methods into action to address global challenges

Throughout the course, you’ll learn how to put your knowledge into practice to help address pressing global issues.

You’ll discover researcher tips to use in implementing transformative multidisciplinary research and learn to integrate multidisciplinary components into your work.

Explore ethical principles in research and stakeholder engagement

To ensure a collaborative approach in your multidisciplinary research, you’ll explore the ethical principles of working with local communities and other stakeholders.

You’ll learn how to promote stakeholder engagement as you discover techniques for applying ethical research principles in multidisciplinary and multicultural research projects.

Learn from the experts at the University of Southampton

Guided by the University of Southampton and collaborating institutions in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, you’ll finish the course with a sound understanding of multidisciplinary research initiatives. You’ll also have the skills to contribute to sustainable, multi-level policy for addressing global challenges.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to Multi-disciplinary Research

    • Welcome to the course

      In this section, we will introduce you to the course and to the BREcCIA project. We set the scene for what you will cover in this course.

  • Week 2

    Working Together Across Disciplines

    • Valuing other disciplines

      In this introduction to Week 2, you will review BRECcIA's Principle #1 and read about working together across disciplines.

    • Multi-disciplinary experiences

      In this activity, BRECcIA researchers share their experiences of working in a multi-disciplinary research project.

    • Interacting with other disciplines

      In this activity we will explore the value of a multi-disciplinary approach to research.

  • Week 3

    Stakeholder Engagement

    • Incorporating perspectives

      This week will focus on the principles and practices of stakeholder engagement.

    • Planning for Stakeholder Engagement

      This section focuses on building stakeholder engagement skills.

  • Week 4

    Translating Research to Practice

    • Understanding local context

      This final week focuses on disseminating your research and using practical skills.

    • Creatively sharing research

      In this activity you'll explore different audiences and communication skills

    • Course Wrap-up

      This final activity summarises the course and next steps.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the value of multidisciplinary perspectives and methodologies to understanding global challenges and establishing viable, long-term solutions
  • Identify collaboration strategies for working effectively in a multidisciplinary team, and engaging with stakeholders and communities who are the main beneficiaries of research findings
  • Apply multidisciplinary components into your own research on global challenges
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in multidisciplinary teams
  • Develop an understanding of how to engage stakeholders in multidisciplinary projects
  • Reflect on how to put research into practice in communicating key findings to diverse audiences

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested or engaged in multidisciplinary work and working with local communities on sustainability issues.

It will be most useful for students at a graduate level or researchers looking to upskill.

Who developed the course?

University of Southampton

Southampton is a place for ambitious people keen to stretch their intellectual abilities and help change the world.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

UKRI logo

funded by

GCRF logo

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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