Collaboration as social practice
Collaborative research environments and engagements across disciplinary and
The necessity of interdisciplinary research collaboration and partnering across professional and
institutional divides is a mainstream discourse in today’s academic culture. Funders are keen to
support collaboration for innovative results and effective scientific and technological solutions that
match the complexity of societal problems. Below this general desire for interdisciplinarity, the
aspects, benefits, and problems of actuating collaboration across disciplinary and institutional
divides are a matter of situated practices, conventions, and tacit understandings of how
collaboration can be made to work – if it can be made to work. Especially without prior experience,
the organization and practicalities of such endeavors are hard to fathom, yet most scholars are at
some point likely to find themselves working on projects that require collaborative skills and
Are these engagements and collaborations delivering what they promise? What are the promises?
How do we collaborate? What triumphs, difficulties, and challenges are typical to these
arrangements in practice?