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ERIC Number: EJ1246071
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2020-Mar
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0026-4695
The Patterning of Collaborative Behavior and Knowledge Culminations in Interdisciplinary Research Centers
Mäkinen, Elina I.; Evans, Eliza D.; McFarland, Daniel A.
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, v58 n1 p71-95 Mar 2020
Due to investments in interdisciplinary research endeavors, the number and variety of interdisciplinary research centers have grown exponentially during the past decades. While interdisciplinary research centers rely on varied organizational arrangements, we know little about the conditions and processes that mediate collaborative arrangements and interdisciplinary research outcomes. This study examines how different collaborative arrangements shape scholars' experiences of interdisciplinary research and understandings of interdisciplinary knowledge culminations in the context of university-based research centers. We conducted three in-depth qualitative case studies on different centers, which recruited researchers from natural sciences, medicine, and social sciences. We refer to them as the Biotech Center, the Environmental Center, and the Premature Birth Center. Our analysis of 53 interviews with interdisciplinary scholars across the three centers demonstrates that the scholars perceive particular features of the centers' collaborative arrangements as meaningful for interdisciplinary collaboration. Specifically, the center's mission, physical architecture, and leadership and task structure were seen as affecting scholars' motivation, interaction, and inclusion in the centers, which then shaped the interdisciplinary knowledge culminations. At the Biotech Center, knowledge was translated towards concrete "products," at the Environmental Center knowledge was pooled together from varied fields to create new problem "framings," and at the Premature Birth Center, interdisciplinary collaboration was crafted through top-down knowledge "brokerage."
Springer. Available from: Springer Nature. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0835614