Transforming traditional university structures for the knowledge economy through multidisciplinary institutes

  • Mosey S
  • Wright M
  • Clarysse B
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Abstract

Within the UK considerable policy support has been provided to create multidis- ciplinary institutes that encourage academics to develop new knowledge for industry and societal problems.We consider four large traditional UK universities that have gained significant funding for such activities. We examine the changes in institu- tional structures necessary to enable universities to transformfrom single-discipline- based schools to multidisciplinary institutes. New incentives for working across schools, the cross-subsidy transfer of industry-funded research and teaching income, and senior role models are observed to enable the development of a multidisciplinary research capability. Yet, this capability is not easily sustained. It appears that for institutes to survive beyond the initial funding round, they regress towards traditional school activities of peer-reviewed research and teaching. We conclude that to transformacademic behaviour, a fundamental shift in promotion procedures, which remain heavily weighted towards peer-reviewed journal publication within single disciplines, is required.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Evolutionary theory
  • Institutional theory
  • Knowledge
  • Research
  • Universities

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