Restructuring Research Universities to Advance Transdisciplinary Collaboration



Whether the context for knowledge production and innovation is the set of major research universities, system of government agencies and federal laboratories, or the research and development efforts of industry, boundary-spanning and transdisciplinary collaborative engagement is essential in addressing the complex scientific and technological challenges that confront society. Effective transdisciplinary collaboration, however, requires an optimally configured institutional framework as well as an academic culture conducive to innovation. Despite broad consensus regarding the imperative for transdisciplinarity, however, disciplinary acculturation continues to shape successive generations of scientists, scholars, and practitioners while the traditional correlation between disciplines and departments persists as the basis for academic organization. This chapter thus examines aspects of the accommodation of transdisciplinarity within the set of American research universities relevant to the advancement of team science and offers a case study of the restructuring of academic organization undertaken to advance transdisciplinary collaboration at Arizona State University.


Transdisciplinarity Interdisciplinarity Disciplinarity Research universities Academic culture Knowledge production Innovation Collaboration Arizona State University ASU Institutional change 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of the PresidentArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School for the Future of Innovation in SocietyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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