Innovation in nanotechnology as an interdisciplinary learning process (PhD project) (completed)

The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of knowledge creation processes in science & technology environments. 

Project leader: Dorothy Sutherland Olsen  

About the project

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in "interdisciplinary" knowledge creation (Gibbons et. al. 1994) and an acceptance of the growing importance of this factor, particularly in the development of emerging science-based technologies (Meyer Krahmer & Schmoch, 1998) . The field of nanotechnology is characterised as being interdisciplinary and has been chosen as the field within which to study interdisciplinary learning.


The processes of knowledge creation will be investigated to see how they are reflecting the need to combine knowledge and practices from different disciplinary sources. Qualitative methods will be used to analyse interdisciplinary cooperation in practice in R&D projects and communities. Interdisciplinary collaboration will be further investigated based on an examination of the interdisciplinary networks established by these R&D projects within the field of nanotechnology. The thesis will be explorative and attempt to develop theory rather than test hypotheses, however the work will take a social learning approach and will draw upon theories of situated learning (Lave & Wenger) concepts of communities (Amin & Cohendet, 2004) and knowledge networks (Hakkaraeinen, 2004).


The thesis will be in the form of several articles rather than a monograph. The results of this study should add to the body of knowledge on innovation and learning.



Amin, A. & Cohendet, P. (2004) Architectures of Knowledge: firms, capabilities and communities, Oxford.

Gibbons M. Limoges C. Nowotny H. Schwartzmann S. Scott P.Trow M. (1994) The New Production of Knowledge - the Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies

Hakkarainen, K., Palonen, T., Paavola, S. & Lehtinen, E. (2004) Communities of Networked Expertise: Professional and Educational Perspectives. Elsevier.

Lave J. & Wenger E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation

Meyer-Krahmer F.& Schmoch U. (1998) Science Based Technologies: University Industry Interactions in Four Fields, Research Policy 27, 835 - 851

Time period for the project(start - slutt) Oktober 2005 - Oktober - 2009


Collaboration partners : Uformell samarbeid med Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, Frankrike og med SPRU, ved University of Sussex, Brighton, UK


  • Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, Frankrike
  • SPRU, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
Published Sep. 20, 2010 1:41 PM - Last modified Dec. 2, 2011 1:14 PM