Rethinking the Rationales for Funding and Governance
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Aldo Geuna, Ammon J. Salter and W. Edward Steinmueller
Chapter 3: Interdisciplinary Research and the Organization of the University: General Challenges and a Case Study
Patrick Llerena and Frieder Meyer-Krahmer 1 INTRODUCTION It might be concluded, on the basis of studies of emerging technologies in the United States, Japan and Germany, that a series of technological changes are: drastically increasing costs of innovation; increasing the signiﬁcance of interdisciplinarity and the dynamism of overlapping technology areas; and producing an increasingly close relationship between basic research and industrial application, as well as a tighter meshing of research and demand. This chapter focuses on one of these changes – the growing importance of cross-, multi- and interdisciplinarity. In this chapter we use the last term to encompass all three, which reﬂects the fact that separating technologies is becoming more and more diﬃcult. The overlaps between areas are often highly dynamic and seem – at least in some cases – to be the core drivers of scientiﬁc, technological and economic change. These phenomena have several consequences for the systems of innovation that are discussed in this chapter. These phenomena are not totally ‘new’, but they are indications of long-term structural change in the process of knowledge production and diﬀusion that may constitute a new set of paradigms for technological advance. The purpose of this chapter is to analyse trends in this evolution of interdisciplinarity and its impact on the university organization. The case of the University Louis Pasteur (ULP) in Strasbourg (France), where both authors are working and one has had a management role,1 will be used to support the argument. The chapter is structured in...
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