Two Years to Two Decades Initiative

2y2d Fostering Collaboration in the 21st Century Initiative

New resources

Provost Brief on UW Innovations on Fostering Collaboration

On the new Office of Research Fostering Research Collaboration website, researchers can access a host of tools, templates, databases, and other resources, including:

Collaborative work is the key to understanding and solving society’s most pressing issues. This initiative of the Sustainable Academic Business Plan works to increase and facilitate UW collaborative research, teaching, and learning in order to support broad-based learning and improve our ability as a society to nimbly respond to emerging issues.


Collaboration in the UW of the 21st Century is:

  • team-based
  • supported by multiple models
  • incubated in grassroots initiatives
  • a key component of excellence
  • sustainable

See the visioning document Fostering Collaboration in the 21st Century for more information.

Near-term goals

  • Create a supportive environment for students and faculty to study, teach, and research across boundaries.
  • Improve policies and practices affecting collaboration, such as research centers and joint appointments.
  • Develop infrastructure for collaborative work.
  • Encourage activity that works on solving society’s major issues, as identified by 2y2d focus groups.
  • Develop criteria for initial and continued investment in infrastructure that benefits collaborative education and research.


  • New website provides detailed guidance on NIH (National Institutes of Health) T32 training grants and GERT, the NSF’s interdisciplinary training program.
  • Continued content creation and management for Research Centers web site, which includes self-reported profiles of UW centers, including including PI, home department, collaborators, and funding.
  • Updating and maintaining tools and resources on the Fostering Research Collaboration site, including databases of potential funders and collaborators.
  • Published Guidelines for Establishing Organized Research Units (Word doc).
  • Published the Handbook for Leaders of Organized Research Units (ORUs) or Collaborative Research Teams (Word doc).
  • Mapped measures of collaborative activity—including joint appointments, joint courses offered, and types of multiple majors—by school and department, and shared them with the UW campus (see Collaboration Mapping).
  • Informed the Office of Research in developing the Complex Proposals Management Group, which helped 10 groups submit proposals. One of these proposals, “Advancing Democracy and Producing Transformations in Information and Technology for Burma,” was recently funded by the US Agency for International (USAID) for $1.5 million. Mary Callahan, Associate Professor of International Studies, is the principal investor for the project, which is a collaboration of her unit, the Jackson School of International Studies, and the Evans School of Public Affairs, the Information School, and University Libraries.
  • Gathered recommendations, best practice for international collaboration.
  • Drafted best practices for joint appointments, which have been reviewed and endorsed by the Board of Deans and Chancellors (BODC).
  • Worked with BODC and ABB committee to remove barriers to collaboration.
  • Established a working group to make recommendations around collaborative teaching (in partnership with the Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century Initiative working groups).

Next steps

  • Provide training for research leaders.
  • Examine policies for recognition, and promotion and tenure for collaborative work.
  • Work with Vice Provost for Global Affairs on international collaboration.


Steering Committee and Working Groups