Pushing disciplinary boundaries: No, really.
ASSAR consortium, I have found myself flooded with opportunities to just this - attend trainings, go to conferences, meet some really good researchers, and in the process learn along the way.
In March, I attended a week-long training on DSSAT, a model that helps simulate crop yields in different climatic scenarios and under crop management practices. Hosted by ICRISAT, I was one of the few interdisciplinary researchers in a roomful of agronomists. Some reflections:
- For all the talk on interdisciplinary research, research in Indian agriculture universities is still predominantly confined by discipline. It took a couple of days for the agronomists to appreciate the importance of having non-agronomists on the training. This is disturbing since the value of drawing on the strengths of multiple disciplines is well recognised globally.
- Although one training does not make me a crop modeler, it does most certainly equip me with the knowledge and language to have a coherent conversation with crop modelers. Crucially, I understand the assumptions underlying DSSAT outputs and can therefore interpret results in a more robust manner. As someone who researches the interface of climate risks and agricultural livelihoods, I'm glad to have gained this skill.
- Trainings are also a great way to learn about an organisation. A week in ICRISAT and interactions with several junior and senior researchers, gave me an 'insiders' perspective' which is always an asset if you plan to work/collaborate with an organisation.
|DSSAT training at ICIRSAT, Hyderabad|
|AgMIP training at IIHS, Bangalore|