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Interdisciplinary Cooperation Management in Research Clusters: A Review of Twelve Years


As an interdisciplinary research network, the Cluster of Excellence “Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries” (CoE) comprises of around 150 researchers. Their scientific background ranges from mechanical engineering and computer science to social sciences such as sociology and psychology. In addition to content- and method-based challenges, the CoE’s employees are faced with heterogenic organizational cultures, different hierarchical levels, an imbalanced gender distribution, and a high employee fluctuation. The sub-project Scientific Cooperation Engineering 1 (CSP1) addresses the challenge of interdisciplinary cooperation and organizational learning and aims at fostering interdisciplinarity and its synergies as a source of innovation. Therefore, the project examines means of reaching an organizational development, ranging from temporal structures to a sustainable network in production technology. To achieve this aim, a broad range of means has been developed during the last twelve years: In addition to physical measures such as regular network events and trainings, virtual measures such as the Terminology App were focused. The app is an algorithmic analysis method for uncovering latent topic structures of publications of the CoE to highlight thematic intersections and synergy potentials. The detection and promotion of has been a vital and long known element in knowledge management. Furthermore, CSP1 focusses on project management and thus developed evaluation tools to measure and control the success of interdisciplinary cooperation. In addition to the cooperation fostering measures, CSP1 conducted studies about interdisciplinarity and diversity and their relationship with innovation. The scientific background of these means and the research results of CSP1 are outlined in this paper to offer approaches for successful interdisciplinary cooperation management.

In: ICICKM 2018 (South Africa)