This chapter draws on interviews with members of the red blood cell project team and uses an auto-ethnographically-informed approach to reflect on our experiences and expectations of interdisciplinary research collaboration more broadly. While some believe that serendipity is an important feature of all academic life, the role of serendipity seems to feature predominantly in the lives of interdisciplinary researchers. The aim of the Novosang project was to “use pluripotent stem cells to create a supply of red blood cells equivalent to those found in the body. The project developed the skills of the junior social scientist who learned about the practicalities of conducting social science “for real” rather than as part of the more constrained context of PhD research, and this experience led to her acquiring another academic research position. Academic researchers in general, and interdisciplinary researchers in particular, work within an imperfect system where there exist at least two systemic failures that confound interdisciplinarity.