As science increasingly becomes more complex, interdisciplinary research at many academic institutions is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception, many scientists and ad- ministrators say.

At the same time, observers warn, there are institutional roadblocks to such collaborations. Most universities remain bound by traditional departmental structures for administrative and curricular purposes, including peer review, tenure, and promotion.

Funding agencies, too, have been structurally allied to a discipline-specific academic model, agency officials acknowledge, and have found it difficult to handle collaborative research proposals. But recent government initiatives have begun to address and support this trend in investigation_and if schools don't follow suit, they may find top scientists passing them by, researchers warn.

Mark Rogers WAVE OF THE FUTURE: Duke's Mark Rodger says the institutions that will succeed are those that can reorganize themselves.

"The best institutions of the future are those that can reorganize themselves to address scientific and educational...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!