Achieving the SDGs through interdisciplinary research in global health

Research output: Contribution to journalDebate/Note/Editorial


The Swedish Global Health Research Conference held in Stockholm, 18–19 April 2018, convened researchers from across Sweden’s universities to foster collaboration and new research. In response to the theme of the conference, How can Sweden contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals? From research to action, many of the plenary and keynote speakers highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary research and teaching. This commentary draws upon a workshop discussing interdisciplinarity, which took place at the conference. Participants included senior professors, lecturers, students and collaborators from the private sector and civil society and we discussed the conceptual and structural challenges that prevent engagement in interdisciplinary research. Although the workshop focused on the Swedish context, issues will be familiar to researchers working outside of Sweden. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals highlight the grand challenges for global society and are intertwined, with progress in one affecting progress in all others. With this starting point, we argue that interdisciplinary research is the way to achieve them. Accordingly, we need to overcome the conceptual and structural challenges that can hinder it. We therefore argue for a paradigm shift of how we value knowledge. We also call for fundamental changes in external and internal (university-level) funding structures, and for the strengthening of interdisciplinary global health teaching.


External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-795
Number of pages3
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number8
Early online date2018 Nov 30
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch