"Manufacturing Epistemological Turmoil": The Management of Interdisciplinary Research in UK Universities
In recent years, the importance of encouraging interdisciplinary research has been widely recognised by policy makers, funding bodies and university leaders in the UK. However, UK universities have been traditionally organised around academic departments reflecting traditional disciplinary boundaries. The increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary research therefore represents a challenge to well established managerial models in UK universities. This paper brings together conclusions from three different research projects, spanning seven leading research intensive universities. Interviews were undertaken with senior university leaders and managers, and with academic staff. A range of issues facing universities, including the development of new organisational structures and methods of incentivising interdisciplinary activity are identified. Practical problems for universities in the management of interdisciplinary research are discussed, providing a checklist of points to be considered by universities and researchers.
Keywords: Leadership, Management, Strategy, Research
Prof. John Taylor
Professor of Higher Education Management and Policy, Centre for Higher Education Management and Policy at Southampton, University of Southampton