Skip to main content
National Cancer Institute

Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: Keyword Meanings for Collaboration Science and Translational Medicine

Edit resource

Klein J. Interdisciplinarity and Transdisciplinarity: Keyword Meanings for Collaboration Science and Translational Medicine. Journal of Translational Medicine and Epidemiolog. 2014;2(2):1024+.

This is the first article in a special issue on "Collaboration Science and Translational Medicine," of the Journal of Translational Medicine and Epidemiology. The abstract for this article follows. ABSTRACT - The keywords of this special issue–collaboration science and translational medicine–appear frequently in conjunction with two other terms–“Interdisciplinarity” (ID) and “Transdisciplinarity” (TD). Interdisciplinarity is linked with collaboration and translational medicine because both integrate insights from multiple disciplines. Transdisciplinarity, in turn, is linked with new frameworks for health and wellness that transcend disciplinary and interdisciplinary inputs, involvement of stakeholders outside the academy in team-based research, and translation of scientific findings into new protocols and treatments. ID and TD, however, are too often buzzwords. Even when authoritative definitions are cited, their relationship to other terms is often unclear. Understanding the relationship of the four keywords is complicated by the growing complexity of boundary crossing today, involving not only disciplines but also occupational professions, interdisciplinary fields, and expertise outside the academy in civil society and the private and public sectors. The research community in translational medicine and epidemiology is well aware of this complexity, since its members work in contexts of basic science as well as preclinical, clinical, and epidemiological settings and in health outcomes. This investigation is aimed at more informed use of the terms ID and TD in collaboration science and translational medicine. It tracks the history of their intersections, overlaps and differences, and roles in the emerging areas of team science, convergence, and applied integrative research. Four major implications follow for translational medicine: benchmarking the heightened importance of the field in the history of interdisciplinarity, philosophical differences in the goals of ID and TD, etymological shifts in keywords, and recommendations for institutional change.

Online at:



Type of Publication:

Journal article


interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary, integration, history, definitions, terminology

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts

Comments (0 comments)

Add Comments
Resource created by Amanda Vogel on 9/16/2014 1:44:14 PM.

Narrow your search by
resource type or goal:

Advanced Search



Email this page