Developing human functioning and rehabilitation research part II: Interdisciplinary university centers and national and regional collaboration networks
Gerold Stucki and Marco Celio
There is a strong movement towards interdisciplinary research around common and scientifically competitive themes, both at universities and at the national and regional level. Human functioning and rehabilitation is a new, highly innovative and relevant theme. It has the potential to attract researchers from a wide range of disciplines, institutions and organizations. It is thus of interest for universities seeking to embark upon a new and unique research area. Similarly, it is a promising theme for individual researchers, institutions and organizations aiming to develop a national or regional collaboration network for interdisciplinary research. Human functioning and rehabilitation complements established themes from the biomedical perspective. In the context of the life sciences, it can be seen as an extension of the biosciences towards a comprehensive understanding of human life, including human interaction and communication, against the background of the natural and social environment. Based on a better understanding of human functioning and disability, there is a wide range of largely unexplored possibilities to optimize populations’ functioning and minimize persons’ experience of disability in the presence of a health condition. Rehabilitation research is uniquely positioned to integrate and translate scientific advances into benefits for people and the society. Rehabilitation research from the comprehensive perspective can thus become a catalyst of interdisciplinary research that crosses the boundaries of the natural sciences and engineering research, the human and behavioral sciences, the social sciences and a wide range of related scientific areas. Rehabilitation research is also uniquely positioned to cross the boundaries of medicine and the health sector at large, and to translate knowledge across sectors including education, labor and social affairs.
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