London Interdisciplinary School ©2019

Interdisciplinary Problems & Methods

Real-World Problems

Structured around real-
world problems

As a society, it has never been more important to face our shared problems with new ways of thinking and understanding. This new era of ‘transformation’ is continuous. Living in a state of change is the new normal. We will teach our students the skills and tools they need to be comfortable with this change.

At LIS, we want students to graduate feeling empowered, so they can go out into the world and make their impact.

The world needs an interdisciplinary approach

What is LIS?

Example problem: mosquito gene drive to fight malaria

With around 430,000 deaths annually, nearly half the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria. New CRISPR technology enables us to edit the genes of mosquitoes to eliminate the species that carries malaria, but at what cost? Would it be best to intervene or would a proper understanding of this complex system teach us that caution is the best policy?

What guidelines should the World Health Organisation set for a country to consider running a trial?

Problems as a framework for the degree

At LIS, we start with a real-world problem, then teach you the disciplines and methods you will need to tackle it.

LIS Discovery Day


Our approach to learning is problem-led.

This means that we’ll start each phase of learning with a clear, important question. Some of humankind’s most celebrated achievements and greatest leaps have been born from an urgent question:

  • How do we land on the moon before the end of the decade (Apollo Mission)?
  • How can we eradicate polio (World Health Organisation)?

In each of these examples, progress was made that surpassed general expectations of domain experts at the time. Each included an extraordinary period of learning for those involved.

At LIS, we will focus your learning on problems rather than discipline areas. You’ll learn the fundamental knowledge, research methods, tools, and mental models from across the arts and sciences that are required to address the problem.

The types of problems you could tackle include childhood obesity, knife crime, the commuting conundrum, fast fashion, the ethics of free speech, and the malaria crisis.



To tackle the problems on our course, you’ll need to be equipped with interdisciplinary knowledge, methods, and tools.

The LIS approach focuses on a small number of critical pillars of knowledge from across a range of disciplines, learnt in deep dives over repeated cycles of 2-3 weeks. Research in cognitive science indicates developing a schema to understand the critical areas of a discipline enables you to assimilate new knowledge in adjacent areas. You will also return to certain disciplinary areas, depending on your interests, throughout the programme, to gain further knowledge in your areas of choice.



You’ll be trained in highly transferable research methods, including qualitative, quantitative, and visual research skills. These will enable you to tackle a wide range of complex problems.

Problem Examples

Childhood Obesity in the UK

Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, depression and more. It is ...

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Mosquito Gene Drive To Fight Malaria

With around 430,000 deaths annually, nearly half the world’s population is at risk of ...

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The Knife Crime Epidemic

Knife crime is rising at an alarming 14% a year across the country. With 30% of ...

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Palm Oil in Supply Chains

300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour to satisfy the growing demand for ...

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The Fine Line Of Free Speech

400 hours of content are uploaded to Youtube each minute and a billion hours are ...

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The Commuting Conundrum

As job creation is concentrating around cities, ever more people are being forced to ...

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