We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Leading interdisciplinary research : transforming the academic landscape. Stimulus paper.

McLeish, T. and Strang, V. (2014) 'Leading interdisciplinary research : transforming the academic landscape. Stimulus paper.', Other. Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, London.


This paper considers the complex challenges entailed in leading and developing interdisciplinary research (IDR) and suggests that, while structural support is vital, cultural change may be equally critical. It argues that, while IDR is commonly encouraged in rather utilitarian terms, as helpful in addressing complex societal and environmental issues, there are deeper intellectual reasons for fostering collaborative research across disciplinary boundaries. The comparison, exchange and synthesis of specialised systems of knowledge can be transformational, enabling new ways of thinking about and conducting research. Emphasising the overarching unity of the academy, the paper argues that successful IDR has the potential to reunite areas of knowledge that have fragmented over time. It examines some interdisciplinary experiments in the UK, and considers how the participants have navigated the obstacles that attend each stage of collaboration to produce exciting and coherent outcomes. Articulating the practices and principles that underlie successful IDR, it discusses how universities can assist such research developments, both in practical ways and through cultural and ideological change.

Item Type:Monograph (Other)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:08 August 2016
Date of first online publication:September 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar