The studied academic initiative was initially established to reinforce strategic research competences in a particular research area, through collaboration among professors. Due to the initiative’s wide scope of goals and an interdisciplinary approach, the first steps proved rather laborious as participants sought to collaboratively define agendas for the initiative. As a result, the first year of operation appeared to produce few tangible results. The difficulties in buildings a common focus, and the consequent slow start of the initiative were interpreted as signs of ineffectiveness by the funding university. Simultaneously, the funding university faced a generally declining financial situation, and the cumulative effect led to considerable budget cutbacks for the initiative.
In addition to the lack of common focus, insufficient communication between the initiative members and university top management also played a role in the negative funding decision. Moreover, the communication was hampered after key individuals at the university top management changed during the first year of the initiative.
The sudden drop in funding created a sense of discontinuity for he project. This divided project members into those who focused on their existing research areas, and those who sought small-scale projects within the interdisciplinary team. However, commitment was considered to be exceptionally high, which allowed researchers to successfully achieve results despite the limited resources.
Furthermore, the management decided to endorse an innovative learning space for students as part of the initiative. This allowed the initiative as a whole to assume a new orientation towards student activation. The new orientation was supported by a bottom-up management approach focusing on locally developed activity.