We are a methods innovation centre focused on designing novel methods to tackle complex real-world challenges, creating tools for navigating the global methods landscape, & developing interdisciplinary methods for knowledge advancement.
At the DRMC we are very excited to be launching our new methods strategy. Our vision is to become world-leading at innovating methods for the interdisciplinary study of complexity in social science and health. Building on the accomplishments of the DRMC over the past three years, we will pioneer three core research themes:
Each theme builds on the in-depth methodological skills and talents of our outstanding team of researchers and fellows, as well as our engagement with the methods expertise of colleagues, centres, institutes and research groups at Durham University. We look forward to working with colleagues across the four faculties around the DRMC’s new themes. Our emphasis is on social science and health and creating key outputs that align with the University’s strategic priorities in research, education, public outreach and global standing. As part of our new vision, we will enhance the DRMC’s global reputation by engaging with national and international academic partners, including leading methods centres around the world, to create a global methods network, with Durham as a central hub. We will continue to develop the MARM and help support the new MDS and apprenticeships, as well as run methods workshops, seminars and conferences at Durham University around our three themes. We will also create an outward-facing online presence that offers freely available educational tools and methods software to the global methods community, which can be used in undergraduate and postgraduate education, active research and public stakeholder decision-making. In terms of outreach, we will pioneer a rigorous co-production focus across the DRMC’s three themes and research strands, based on immediate and long-term partnerships with local, national, and global stakeholders in the private, public and third sector and government. Here is more information about the three themes: THEME 1: Designing novel methods to tackle complex real-world challengesWhether it is health, climate, or the economy, we live in a world of increasingly complexity that requires sophisticated methods to help people make informed and timely decisions about real-world challenges. Most of these methods, particularly in combination, remain outside the reach of social and health services, business and industry and government. The DRMC will address these challenges by designing rigorous techniques, toolkits, and platforms that interface with real-world challenges so users can maximize impact and insight and deliver safe, transparent, accountable, equitable, timely decisions and inferences. Innovations will range from software and online apps to visualisation templates and evaluation toolkits to decision protocols and methods standards. We are focused on three areas: FOCUS 1: Developing decision-support toolsFOCUS 2: Designing methods for complex evaluationFOCUS 3: Advancing the field of biostatistics THEME 2: Creating tools for navigating the global methods landscapeWe live today in a complex methods landscape, comprised of an unprecedented number of choices, options, and combinations – from computational modelling and statistics to qualitative methods and applied mathematics to big data mining and digital methods. Differences in definition, choice and methodological use also exist within and across areas of study, based on competing disciplinary understandings of how knowledge and reality are best understood. The same for relevance and accessibility: the new methods landscape is not equally available to everyone or, globally speaking, equally applicable to different topics or challenges. Given these challenges, the DRMC will break new ground in mapping the methods landscape, equipping researchers to navigate methods choices safely and effectively, increasing accountability, equitability and cost-effectiveness. Leveraging DRMC’s interdisciplinary strengths, we will enable researchers to take advantage of complementary methodological developments by facilitating cross-disciplinary transfer. We are focused on four areas: FOCUS 1: Curating methods FOCUS 2: The genealogy of research methodsFOCUS 3: The epistemology of methodsFOCUS 4: Mapping complexity THEME 3: Developing interdisciplinary methods for knowledge advancementLeveraging perspectives and developments across disciplines facilitates methodological innovation critical to scientific knowledge advancement. Advancing interdisciplinary methods remains ‘the backbone’ of the DRMC. The DRMC will deliver pioneering methods and techniques by exploiting synergies in methodological and computational developments across disciplines, to aid all stages of knowledge advancement, from measurement and theory development to more resolved measurement/data issues. We are focused on two areas: FOCUS 1: Innovating computational social scienceFOCUS 2: Advancing interdisciplinary methods