MORE AND MORE OF SCIENCE'S most potent advances are popping up between the cracks of academic disciplines such as physics and biology. Yet the rugged individualism of such disciplines is proving to be solidly entrenched. To pull down academia's barriers, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in Durham, N.C., established a long-term initiative in 1995 and invited research organizations to compete for five-year grants by developing programs to foster collaboration at the interfaces between the hard and soft sciences.

Last November, BWF awarded its first grants under the program. It split $10 million among two universities and two academic consortiums: California Institute of Technology; Rockefeller University; LaJolla Interdisciplinary Training Program, a four-member group based at the University of California-San Diego; and Program in Mathematics & Molecular Biology, a consortium of 12 institutions based at Florida State University.

The next competition will begin this September.

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