What in practice can science learn from the humanities? That is the question that a team of biologists, literary critics and historians at the University of Reading set out to answer in an AHRC-funded project that has generated some new insights into the relationship between the two fields.
A workshop, entitled ‘Cultivating Common Ground: Biology and the Humanities’, was held in July, which introduced practicing biologists to humanities research into biology, and provoked some unexpected responses. In the scoping study, ‘The Value of the Literary and Historical Study of Biology to Biologists’, the team draw upon the workshop experience and their respective specialisms to argue that the humanities can play an important role in transforming future biological research. To realize this ambition the team is now working together with colleagues from other universities on pioneering a co-disciplinary training programme for young academics as the next step towards bringing biology and the humanities together.
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