Breaking Research Silos and Stimulating "Innovation at the Edges" in Epidemiology

Am J Epidemiol. 2023 Feb 24;192(3):323-327. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwac192.


Epidemiological training often requires specialization in a subdiscipline (e.g., pharmacoepidemiology, genetic epidemiology, social epidemiology, or infectious disease epidemiology). While specialization is necessary and beneficial, it comes at the cost of decreased awareness of scientific developments in other subdisciplines of epidemiology. In this commentary, we argue for the importance of promoting an exchange of ideas across seemingly disparate epidemiologic subdisciplines. Such an exchange can lead to invaluable opportunities to learn from and merge knowledge across subdisciplines. It can promote "innovation at the edges," a process of borrowing and transforming methods from one subdiscipline in order to develop something new and advance another subdiscipline. Further, we outline specific actionable steps at the researcher, institution, and professional society level that can promote such innovation.

Keywords: epidemiology; evidence; interdisciplinary study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Epidemiology* / education
  • Humans
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Pharmacoepidemiology*