Team Science 101

What is Team science?

According to the National Cancer Institute,“Team science is a collaborative effort to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields. Although traditional single investigator-driven approaches are ideal for many scientific endeavors, coordinated teams of investigators with diverse skills and knowledge may be especially helpful for studies of complex social problems with multiple causes.”

What do these collaborations look like?

  • Science of Team Science Resources: There is a new interdisciplinary field of science, entitled the Science of Team Science, that is devoted to understanding team science and the process of developing and managing collaborative research teams. This site contains a number of resources, including, blogs/social media accounts, organizations, and articles that may be useful for building teams. (Here is a link to join their Listserv for even more resources)
  • Team Science Toolkit: The National Cancer Institute maintains a Team Science website, which offers a good introduction to team science and the extensive work going on in the field.

Things to consider

  • Collaborative Agreement Template: A list of questions to guide you as you and your team negotiate shared expectations for research team members prior to the start of research.
  • When to Collaborate?
  • Why Collaborate and why now?
  • Communication: Not just between disciplines but between people, institutions, departments, funding mechanisms, etc.
  • Interdisciplinary Research Management: Often large interdisciplinary teams pose specific challenges to project management. This article proposes a potential management framework that reflects the emergent difficulties associated with team science projects.
  • Power and Collaboration: This short piece examines how power can influence processes within team science. Power comes in many forms, including interpersonal, institutional, and information power.