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Abstract

This paper analyses differences in group perceptions amongst a large international and multi-disciplinary research community. It is a cluster of excellence with the explicit aim of bringing natural sciences and humanities together in joint experiments. Who wins, when disciplinary borders fall? The article discusses the moment of the appearance of the cluster on the grounds of a thorough analysis of the notions of interdisciplinarity, excellence and the recent history of European research policy. This empirical study of the forms of knowledge, practices and behaviours that intersect with differences of cultures, disciplines and gender in this community is part of self-reflexive structures that were installed within the cluster research on research practices. The results show that this new form of structure of ‘big interdisciplinarity’ offers the formation of new (collaborative) identities to those involved. New forms of group minority and majority understandings emerge, which, in contrast to the expectation of the cluster at the beginning don’t seem to advantage usually disadvantaged identities in science.