E
Survey of Institutions and Individuals Conducting Interdisciplinary Research

To enhance scholarship and collect quantitative data on the impediments, programs, and evaluation criteria related to interdisciplinary research (IDR), the committee developed survey instruments and disseminated them to provosts and others.1 In this appendix, we analyze the results of the committee’s surveys of those interested in IDR, including students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, funders, policy makers, and disciplinary societies.

The first survey, referred to in the report as the “convocation survey,” was given to the 150 persons who attended the Convocation on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, on January 29-30, 2004 (see Appendix C); 91 convocation participants responded to the survey—about a 75 percent return rate. The “individual survey,” a slightly modified version of the convocation survey, was posted on the committee’s Web site. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to universities, professional societies, nongovernment organizations, and participants in federal and private interdisciplinary programs; 423 people responded to the solicitation. An invitation to participate in a third survey, the “provost survey,” was distributed on line to provosts or vice-chancellors of institutions that conduct IDR; 57 institutions responded.

1  

http://www7.nationalacademies.org/interdisciplinary/SurveyHome.html. The survey instrument for individuals is appended. It differs from the provost survey in question #1.



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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research E Survey of Institutions and Individuals Conducting Interdisciplinary Research To enhance scholarship and collect quantitative data on the impediments, programs, and evaluation criteria related to interdisciplinary research (IDR), the committee developed survey instruments and disseminated them to provosts and others.1 In this appendix, we analyze the results of the committee’s surveys of those interested in IDR, including students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, funders, policy makers, and disciplinary societies. The first survey, referred to in the report as the “convocation survey,” was given to the 150 persons who attended the Convocation on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, on January 29-30, 2004 (see Appendix C); 91 convocation participants responded to the survey—about a 75 percent return rate. The “individual survey,” a slightly modified version of the convocation survey, was posted on the committee’s Web site. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent to universities, professional societies, nongovernment organizations, and participants in federal and private interdisciplinary programs; 423 people responded to the solicitation. An invitation to participate in a third survey, the “provost survey,” was distributed on line to provosts or vice-chancellors of institutions that conduct IDR; 57 institutions responded. 1   http://www7.nationalacademies.org/interdisciplinary/SurveyHome.html. The survey instrument for individuals is appended. It differs from the provost survey in question #1.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research It must be noted that the survey population does not represent a random sample. There was undoubtedly selection bias in those who attended the Convocation on Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research and in those who responded to the Web-based survey. The results are representative of a wide population of researchers, but cannot be extrapolated to the entire population of researchers involved in interdisciplinary projects and programs. That said, the findings corroborate and extend previous studies of IDR, and offer unique insights on joint appointments and differences between researchers and administrators, and provide suggestions for how to prioritize change efforts. DISSEMINATION The convocation survey was distributed at the convocation in Washington, D.C. and the individual survey was distributed by the following organizations. We made every attempt to distribute the survey as widely as possible. Our strategy was to request larger organizations and umbrella societies in a variety of fields to distribute the survey American Chemical Society (ACS) American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Association for Integrative Studies Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Association of American Universities (AAU) Association of Independent Research Institutes Biophysical Society Council of Graduate Students (CGS) Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) National Academy of Public Administration National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium (NIH BECON) DOE National Laboratories National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Centers NSF Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR) awardees NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT) awardees NSF Science and Technology Centers Washington Science Policy Alliance

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research The following institutions participated in the provost survey. We received the assistance of NASULGC and AAU in distributing the survey to their member universities. Barnard College Boston University Carnegie Mellon University Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Clarkson University Columbia University Department of Energy Idaho Operations Office Florida State University Georgia State University Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social Iowa State University Jackson Laboratory Johns Hopkins University Lewis & Clark College Massachusetts Institute of Technology Medical College of Georgia Miami University National Cancer Institute National Dairy Council New York University North Dakota State University Northwestern University Pennsylvania State University Purdue University Simon Fraser University Stanford University Syracuse University Texas A&M University Tulane University University at Buffalo University of Arizona University of California, Irvine University of California, Los Angeles University of California, Santa Barbara University of Chicago University of Cincinnati College of Medicine University of Houston University of Idaho University of Illinois, Chicago

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research University of Maryland, Baltimore County University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri, Columbia University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill University of Tennessee University of Texas, Austin University of Utah University of Washington Vanderbilt University Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Wayne State University Wright State University SURVEY DEMOGRAPHICS The committee collected information on respondent position and rank, involvement in IDR, age, and institution type, size, and budget. Position and Rank Respondents were predominantly faculty researchers, administrators, or both.   Convocation Individual Provost Position n % n % n % Student 2 2.2 26 6.2 0 0 Postdoctoral scholar 0 0.0 18 4.3 0 0 Researcher/faculty 29 31.9 325 76.8 3 5.3 Administrator 26 28.6 5 1.2 12 21.1 Researcher/admin. 17 18.7 47 11.1 40 70.2 Funder 16 17.6 0 0 0 0 Other/not answered 1 1.1 2 0.5 2 3.5 Total 91 100.1 423 100 57 100.1 Respondents to the convocation and provost surveys predominantly held senior positions. The individual survey showed a wider array of ranks, but people holding senior-level positions outnumbered middle-level and junior positions by 2 to 1.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research   Convocation Individual Provost Rank n % n % n % Senior 64 70.3 194 45.9 52 91.2 Middle-level 17 18.7 113 26.7 1 1.8 Junior 6 6.6 105 24.8 2 3.5 Not answered 4 4.4 11 2.6 2 3.5 Total 91 100.0 423 100.0 57 100.0 Age Distribution Overall, age distribution was fairly normal, with a mean of about 50 years.   Convocation Individual Provost Total Age n % n % n % n % 20-29 3 3.3 31 7.3 0   34 6.0 30-39 11 12.1 103 24.3 1 1.8 115 20.1 40-49 27 29.7 122 28.8 7 12.3 156 27.3 50-59 35 38.5 95 22.5 30 52.6 160 28.0 60-69 11 12.1 48 11.3 12 21.1 71 12.4 >70 3 3.3 6 1.4 0   9 1.6 Not answered 1 1.1 18 4.3 7 12.3 26 4.6 Total 91 100.1 423 99.9 57 100.1 571 100.0 Type of Institution The majority of respondents were working at public academic institutions. About half as many worked at private academic institutions. (See Figure E-1.) Industry researchers, funders, and disciplinary-society representatives were targeted for participation only at the convocation and are not represented in the individual or provost survey populations.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research   Convocation Individual Provost Type of Institution n % n % n % Public academic 42 46.2 264 62.4 33 57.9 Private academic 15 16.5 122 28.8 17 29.8 Industrial R&D org. 2 2.2 3 0.7 0   Government R&D org. 3 3.3 17 4.0 3 5.3 Indep. research inst. 3 3.3 9 2.1 1 1.8 Public funding inst. 9 9.9 8 1.9 0   Private funding inst. 8 8.8 0   0   Professional society 6 6.6 0   0   Other/not answered 8 8.8 0   3 5.3 Total Surveys (Totala) 91(96) 105.6 423 101.8 57 100.1 aSome respondents gave multiple answers to this question. Percent is calculated using the total number of surveys returned, and may add up to more than 100%. FIGURE E-1 Type of institutions responding. Size, Budget, and Number of Researchers Survey respondents were asked to indicate the annual budget of their institutions and the numbers of faculty, undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows (see Figure E-2). It appears that most respondents were working at large research institutions. Annual budgets showed a bimodal distribution, with peaks at $10 million–100 million and over $1 billion. At the same time, almost half the respondents indicated that they

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-3 Number of faculty and researchers at the respondents’ institutions. were not aware of their institutions’ annual budget. Responses indicated that institutions tended to have over 500 faculty, 10,000 undergraduates, and over 2,500 graduate students (Figures E-3, E-4, and E-5). Most respondents did not know how many postdoctoral fellows were at their institutions (Figure E-6). FIGURE E-2 Annual institutional budgets.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-4 Number of undergraduate students at the respondents’ institutions. FIGURE E-5 Number of graduate students at the respondents’ institutions. FIGURE E-6 Number of postdoctoral fellows and trainees at the respondents’ institutions.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research RELATIONSHIP TO INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH Participation in Interdisciplinary Research In the combined surveys, 94 percent of respondents were at least partially involved in IDR.   Convocation Individual Provost Participation n % n % n % Primarily interdisciplinary 53 58.2 263 62.2 24 42.1 Partially interdisciplinary 28 30.8 147 34.8 22 38.6 Not interdisciplinary 0   12 2.8 4 7.0 Not answered 10 11.0 1 0.2 7 12.3 Total 100.0   433 102.4 57 100.0 Specific Roles Respondents were asked to indicate how they were involved in IDR. This was a free-answer section; responses were analyzed and categorized by staff. Because more than one answer could have been provided, results may add up to more than 100 percent.   Convocation Individual Provost Involvement in IDR n % n % n % Oversee or support IDR programs 19 23.5 0 0 45 97.8 Fund IDR programs or grants 14 17.3 0 0     Research is interdisciplinary 41 50.6 366 89.3 23 50.0 Collaborate with others in different disciplines 3 3.7 97 23.7 2 4.3 Head/director of IDR program 7 8.6 28 6.8 1 2.2 Involved with IDR training program or teach IDR classes 2 2.5 18 4.4 1 2.2 Editor of IDR journal 0 0.0 2 0.5 0 0 Other 8 9.9 8 2.0 0 0 Total involved in IDR 81   410   46   Not interdisciplinary or not answered 10   13   11  

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research Ranking of Institutional Environment for IDR Respondents were asked to rank the general supportiveness for IDR at their current institution and up to two previous institutions on a scale of 0 (IDR-hostile) to 10 (IDR-supportive). There appears to be a trend toward more supportive environments for IDR. It is possible that respondents moved to institutions that were more supportive during the course of their careers. Rankings are reported as mean +/– standard deviation. Not all respondents provided an answer. The total number of responses to this question was n = 480. Environment for IDR Convocation Individual Provost Current institution 7.74 +/– 2.07 7.25 +/– 2.31 7.24 +/– 1.70 Previous institutions 5.95 +/– 2.17 6.35 +/– 2.57 5.67 +/– 2.04 To determine whether rank was associated with institution size or budget, we sorted the rankings by annual budget, number of faculty, and number of undergraduates (see Figures E-7 and E-8). There was no relationship between number of undergraduates and ranking, but there are some interesting trends for budget and number of faculty. It appears that smaller or larger institutions have a better environment for IDR than those with intermediate budget and faculty numbers. FIGURE E-7 Relationship between institutional budget and rank.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-8 Relationship between number of faculty and rank. INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AT INSTITUTIONS When asked whether there were impediments to IDR at their current institutions, 70.7 percent of the respondents answered yes, 23.2 percent answered no, and 6.2 percent did not know or did not answer (see Figure E-9). FIGURE E-9 Top impediments to interdisciplinary research at various institutions.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS Finally, respondents were asked to list one action that each stakeholder group could take to best facilitate IDR. Responses were categorized and are illustrated below in graphs for institutions, units and departments, funders, journal editors, principal investigators and team leaders, educators, post-doctoral scholars, and students. These were free-response questions; staff analyzed and categorized the responses. Percentages are based on the numbers of responses provided for each category. The top three recommendations for institutions (n = 341) were to foster a collaborative environment (26.5 percent), to provide faculty incentives (including hiring and tenure policies) that reflect and reward involvement in IDR (18.4 percent), and to provide seed money for IDR projects (11.1 percent). See Figure E-14. The top three recommendations for departments (n = 294) were to adopt new organizational approaches to IDR (32.1 percent), to recognize and reward faculty and other researchers for interdisciplinary work (20.8 percent), and to adapt or increase departmental resources to support IDR (12.3 percent). See Figure E-15. The top three recommendations for funding agencies (n = 266) were to provide more support for IDR (39.1 percent), to develop and implement a more effective review process for IDR proposals (17.7 percent), and to rethink funding allocation strategies (11.3 percent). See Figure E-16. The top two recommendations for journal editors (n = 196) were to adjust the expertise of editorial and review panels and incorporate more reviewers with IDR experience (38.8 percent) and to feature novel innovations and initiatives (36.2 percent); 17.3 percent of respondents reported that they were satisfied with the current situation. See Figure E-17. The top three recommendations for principal investigators (n = 186) were to increase leadership and team-forming activities (44.1 percent), to develop and clearly state their research goals and their overall vision (34.4 percent), and to build networks with researchers in other disciplines (20.4 percent). See Figure E-18. Respondents (n = 190) recommended that educators develop curricula that incorporate interdisciplinary concepts (64.7 percent), take part in teacher-development courses on interdisciplinary topics (40 percent), and provide student opportunities in IDR (23.7 percent). See Figure E-19. Respondents (n = 157) encouraged postdoctoral scholars to get a broad background and learn new skills (14.0 percent), to find a postdoctoral fellowship in a field different from their own graduate work (12.7 percent), and to develop collaborations and seek additional mentors (12.1 percent). See Figure E-20.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-14 Institutional recommendations to best facilitate IDR.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-15 Departmental recommendations for adapting approaches to IDR. Finally, respondents (n = 171) recommended that students cross boundaries between disciplines (25.1 percent), take a broad range of courses (23.4 percent), but also develop a solid background in one discipline (12.3 percent). See Figure E-21.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-16 Recommendations for funding agencies to provide more support to IDR.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-17 Recommendations for journal editors. FIGURE E-18 Recommendations for principal investigators. FIGURE E-19 Recommendations for educators.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research FIGURE E-20 Recommendations for postdoctoral scholars. FIGURE E-21 Recommendations for students.

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research THE “INDIVIDUAL” IDR SURVEY Demographics Please tell us about yourself: __ Researcher/faculty member __ Administrator __ Student __ Postdoc Rank: __ Senior __ Mid-level __ Junior Age: _____ Describe your research: __ Primarily interdisciplinary __ Partially interdisciplinary __ Not interdisciplinary Which of these best describes your institution? __ Public Academic __ Private Academic __ Industrial R&D organization __ Government R&D organization __ Independent research institute __ Other (Please describe): _______________________________ What is the size of your institution? Annual budget: __ $0-1 Million __ $100-250 M __ $750 M-1 Billion __ $1-10 M __ $250-500 M __ >$1 B __$10-100 M __$500-750 M __Do Not Know If research institution, number of: Faculty/ Researchers 0 1-50 50-200 200-500 500-2000 Over 2000 Do Not Know Undergraduates 0 1-500 500-2000 2000-5000 5000-10,000 Over 10,000 Do Not Know Graduate Students 0 1-200 200-500 500-1000 1000-2500 Over 2500 Do Not Know Postdoctoral Researchers, Fellows, and Trainees 0 1-10 11-50 51-100 101-500 Over 500 Do Not Know

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research Relationship to Interdisciplinary Research How are you involved with interdisciplinary research? Based on your personal experiences, rate your present institution and prior institutions (that you feel able to judge) on general supportiveness of interdisciplinary research (IDR) using a scale from 0 (IDR-hostile) to 10 (IDR-friendly): Interdisciplinary Research at Your Institution Are there impediments to interdisciplinary research at your institution? Yes ______ No ______ Do Not Know ______ If yes, please indicate the top 5 impediments in order of importance. __ Budget control __ Indirect cost recovery distribution __ Publication in disciplinary/interdisciplinary journals __ Compatibility with college/dept strategic plans __ Promotion and tenure criteria __ Credit for joint authorship __ Unit reporting relationships __ Space __ Honoring award agreements __ Restrictions on faculty autonomy __ Other_____________________________ Does your institution provide seed money to help start up interdisciplinary programs? If yes, please briefly describe the amounts available and major criteria employed in making awards. Yes ______ No ______ Do Not Know ______

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research If yes, please indicate: Amount: Duration: Award Criteria: Does your institution make joint appointments for interdisciplinary faculty/staff members in which salary support is shared between departments, units, and/or schools? Yes ______ No ______ Do Not Know ______ If yes, what proportion of the faculty/staff have such joint appointments? __0-10% __10-25% __Over 25% Using the table below, please list and describe up to three interdisciplinary program(s) at your institution with which you are currently involved. These programs could be centers, organized research units (ORUs), teaching programs, etc.   A B C Program/Center Name:       URL:       Contact person:       Phone #/e-mail:       i. Number of involved depts/ schools/colleges __ 1 __Don’t know __ 2-4 __ 5-10 __ Over 10 __ 1 __Don’t know __ 2-4 __ 5-10 __ Over 10 __ 1 __Don’t know __ 2-4 __ 5-10 __ Over 10 ii. List the primary depts. involved       iii. Extrainstitutional groups involved? __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know iv. Number of Researchers __1-5 __5-10 __10-20 __Over 20 __Don’t know __1-5 __5-10 __10-20 __Over 20 __Don’t know __1-5 __5-10 __10-20 __Over 20 __Don’t know

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research   A B C v. Faculty Lines? __Yes __No __Don’t know __Not applicable __Yes __No __Don’t know __Not applicable __Yes __No __Don’t know __Not applicable vi. Source of Funding? __ DoD __ DoE __ NASA __ NIH __ NSF __ Foundation: __ Institutional: __ Don’t know __ Other: __ DoD __ DoE __ NASA __ NIH __ NSF __ Foundation: __ Institutional: __ Don’t know __ Other: __ DoD __ DoE __ NASA __ NIH __ NSF __ Foundation: __ Institutional: __ Don’t know __ Other: vii. Central Facility? __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know viii. Space Allocation __ Project-driven __ Researcher-specific __ Don’t know __ Project-driven __ Researcher-specific __ Don’t know __ Project-driven __ Researcher-specific __ Don’t know ix. Training Slots? __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know __ Yes __ No __ Don’t know Evaluation of Interdisciplinary Research Programs What are the dominant methods of evaluation employed by your institution to evaluate interdisciplinary programs? (check all that apply) __ Visiting Committee __ Internal Committee __ Benchmarking Surveys __ Interviews __ Informal Feedback __ Principal Investigator Assessment __ Do not know __ Other (Please describe):

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Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research What are the dominant methods you use to evaluate the success of interdisciplinary programs? (select up to three or add your own). __ Level of (or potential for) scientific discovery or innovation __ Quality of leadership __ Attracting a greater number/mix/caliber of undergraduates into science __ Enhancing the richness of the undergraduate/graduate experience __ Increasing the ability to attract outstanding faculty/postdocs __ Societal relevance of problem being addressed __ Enhancing institution’s reputation __ Increasing institution’s research funding levels __ Do not know __ Other (Please describe): Proposed Recommendations If you could recommend one action each of the following could take that would best facilitate interdisciplinary research, what action would that be? Institutions: Units/Departments: Funding Agencies: Journal Editors: Principal Investigators/Team Leaders: Educators: Postdocs: Students: