Skip to Main Content
Stokes advocated the benefits of uniting basic and applied research as a way to facilitate research breakthroughs. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy launched an initiative designed to foster better integration in research and technology development (R&D), such as the concurrent application of scientific and engineering knowledge. This paper suggests that in basic and applied research- two arenas in the production of knowledge- there are difficulties in integrating them because of two somewhat disparate barriers: (1) cognitive distance among the researchers and (2) structural differentiation in the idea innovation network. This paper discusses these two barriers in greater depth and explains why these barriers are increasing. The larger issue is to build a diverse and integrated knowledge community via the following kinds of mechanisms: complex charters, visionary team leadership, recruitment from diverse sources, multiple team and network integration mechanisms, and diverse sources of funding. These ideas emerge from not only the recent literature but more critically from a case study of a transformational research organization that built an international knowledge community in biomedicine, the Institut Pasteur.