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I am looking for a word that describes one or both of the following situations:

  • A researcher presents a new solution to a problem of his/her field of research by applying a strategy or idea used in an unrelated field of research for the first time.
  • The solution to problem A or a derivative is applied to problem B, which is not related, but structurally similar in a way that the solution can be transferred.

Noun or adjective are both acceptible:

The solution was found through X=noun with the research field of Meteorology.

The X=adjective solution was inspired by the research field of Meteorology.

I have considered synergy, interdisciplinary, knowledge transfer and analogy. None of these fits.

3 Answers 3

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cross-fertilization (n.)

Interaction or interchange, as between two or more cultures, fields of activity or knowledge, or the like, that is mutually beneficial and productive Collins

Interchange or interaction (as between different ideas, cultures, or categories) especially of a broadening or productive nature m-w


Gregor Mendel was one of the first biologists to use mathematical analysis to prove hypotheses. He used elementary probability theory in his word. He was also inspired by the atomic theory of matter (an appropriate example of cross-fertilization in science). D. Vaccari et al.; Environmental Biology for Engineers and Scientists (2005)

Chemistry proved as essential an ingredient to the new science of soft matter as ideas and techniques from physics, together with renewed conversation between the two sciences. Chemists brought not only the careful synthetic construction of the remarkable giant molecules and assemblies of soft materials but also ways of thinking about and characterizing the subtle forces between them. Arising from ancient technology, the imaginative leaps of individuals, and the cross-fertilization of ideas—including the final opening of a window onto the atomic world itself, imagined for so many centuries—it is not possible to tell a convincing story of the science of soft matter without visiting some more of its history in each case study. Tom McLeish; Soft Matter (2020)

Cross-fertilization occurs when new legal solutions to existing problems are proffered using rules or or principles from other areas of international law. Erika Techera; Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law (2012)

Therefore, a cross fertilization between terrestrial applications and marine ones seems possible, which should result in more efficient, flexible and reliable ships. A. Marino and V. Bucci; Technology and Science for the Ships of the Future (2018)

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I would use independent:

1 b (1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent
// an independent conclusion

So (to borrow from both example sentences):

The solution was found through independent research in the field of Meteorology.

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  • Hmm, I would misinterpret this as "not sponsored by any company or third-party".
    – Daerst
    Jul 15, 2019 at 5:35
  • @Daerst The adjective can apply to any number of things; It certainly doesn't only apply to companies. (In fact, I've rarely encountered it in that context—and, when I have, it's been followed by, or somehow preceded by, company.) But if that's really a concern, you could say my independent research. Jul 15, 2019 at 5:39
  • I see your thinking more clearly now. It certainly doesn't apply only to companies, but given its ambiguity, that would have been my first guess. The latter one clarifies it, but could also be misunderstood as “based on research that I have published in other fields”.
    – Daerst
    Jul 15, 2019 at 7:14
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To my knowledge I think there is no specific terminology, though I suggest:

Interdisciplinary solution "if the solution is used as it is in both fields"
Transcendent solution " if the solution is used abstractly among fields"

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  • Hi, welcome to EL&U. This would benefit from citing your sources and a tour of the site and help center.
    – livresque
    Apr 15 at 0:15

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