Intersectorality: a definition

By intersectorality, or intersectoral networking, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) mean a research and collaboration approach which, in order to shed new light on common or shared research issues, brings together researchers from disciplinary fields or research practices from at least two of the three major sectors covered by the Fonds to work on a research topic, problem, method or question. The sectors in question are those defined in the legal structure of the Fonds, namely: natural sciences and engineering; humanities and social sciences, arts and letters; and health.

We are talking about going beyond the simple combination or juxtaposition of several disciplines and sectors (or even the instrumentalization of one discipline or sector by another) to resolve a problem or tackle a research topic. From an intersectoral perspective, disciplines and sectors must firmly engage in a joint, co-created “research approach” whose mode of operation lies outside of the hierarchization of fields of knowledge.

In concrete terms, intersectoral networking in research—which cannot be reduced to a merely collaborative approach—is characterized by:

  • The joint design and development, within the project, of research problems that engage research questions or topics common to or shared by representatives of the different sectors;
  • The development of an innovative methodology, adapted to each research problem and integrating approaches from each sector represented within the project;
  • Team composition: the project must be headed by researchers from at least two sectors..


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