Over the last decade, there has been increased engagement, investment and interventions designed to grow, support and embed interdisciplinary research (IDR) in higher education institutions (HEIs) in England. In this study, we considered the cases of 10 HEIs in England that take a variety of approaches to grow, sustain and embed IDR. The sample included a range of institutions and considers different approaches, institution types, geographical locations and disciplinary spread.We found that a need to address complex societal and practical challenges, and a desire to access more diverse or larger funding streams are major drivers for IDR in HEIs. We identified different models for organising and conducting IDR within English HEIs as well as the mechanisms used by these institutions to grow, sustain and embed IDR. Finally, we reflected on ‘what works’ in different contexts and policy considerations for stakeholders who want to support and grow IDR.