Crossing the boundaries: delivering trans-disciplinary science in a disciplinary world

Elizabeth A Elliot, Neil W Hayes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Major research initiatives are increasingly drawing on multiple disparate disciplines and systems biology is a key exemplar. Trans-disciplinary research occurs where individual disciplinary traditions combine to create new shared knowledge that cannot be said to fit within the domain of any single discipline. Generation of new understanding of biological systems at the cell, organ, or organism level clearly meets these criteria, and we therefore consider systems biology research a truly trans-disciplinary undertaking. Aside from the technological challenges of combining research outcomes of the contributing disciplines, directing and managing the overall research program also presents a significant challenge. In this chapter, we discuss the challenges of and enablers to working across the broad range of disciplines that contribute to systems biology research; we discuss potential management models that may be adopted and the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each, introducing examples of management models adopted at two UK Systems Biology Centres.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods of Enzymology
EditorsDaniel Jameson, Malkhey Verma, Hans V. Westerhoff
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2011

Publication series

NameMethods in enzymology
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
ISSN (Print)0076-6879


  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Information Management
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Systems Biology
  • Trans-disciplinary
  • Project-based organizations
  • Stakeholder goal


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