Interdisciplinary projects might have more funding success if some review-panel members had interdisciplinary research experience (see L. Bromham et al. Nature 534, 684–687 (2016) and

Such reviewers are more likely to grasp the importance of lines of investigation that fall outside disciplines. Our study on the feasibility of treating heroin users with pharmaceutical heroin, for example, called for research into whether this perceived permissiveness might influence illicit drug use and have a 'honeypot' effect (G. Bammer Palgrave Commun. 2, 16017; 2016).

Interdisciplinary reviewers also recognize that disciplinary research that is not cutting-edge can still warrant funding if it sheds light on an interdisciplinary problem. Our insights into heroin-addiction treatment came from, among others, economists who determined the likely impact on the drug market; demographers who estimated the number of heroin users; and philosophers who assessed the ethics of prescribing heroin.

The grant-review process could be improved if disciplinary and interdisciplinary panel members had a better understanding of how their views interact, and if guidelines could be drawn up for their relative contributions to the overall assessment.