But that does not mean that no meaningful measures exist. COSEPUP found that measures do exist: measures of quality, in terms of research advancement; relevance, in terms of application development; and leadership, in terms of the ability to take advantage of opportunities when they arise, as evaluated by experts and users of research. In addition, COSEPUP concluded that human-resource development is also a key outcome of an effective research program.

A remaining challenge is to determine what additional measures, if any, are needed to evaluate interdisciplinary research and teaching beyond those shown to be effective for disciplinary activities. Successful outcomes of an interdisciplinary research (IDR) program differ in several ways from those of a disciplinary program. First, a successful IDR program will have an impact on multiple fields or disciplines and produce results that feed back into and enhance disciplinary research. It will also create researchers and students with an expanded research vocabulary and abilities in more than one discipline and with an enhanced understanding of the interconnectedness inherent in complex problems.

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