Paper Session: Developing Successful Science Through Better Team Management and Team Building

Wednesday, August 3, 2022
11:30 PM - 12:45 PM ET


Team Science Training with Early Career Scientists

Whitney Sweeney

Abstract: BackgroundTranslational research is complex and best conducted with a transdisciplinary team science approach. Although experts in their fields, many early-career translational scientists are not prepared to effectively form, launch, and manage interdisciplinary teams. To address this, we created a five-session training series covering the best practices from the Science of Team Science. The goal was to create a series of sessions accessible for all scientists and collaborating researchers, active to facilitate learning, and actionable so that skills and knowledge can be readily applied. Our workshop series included the following 90-120 minute sessions: 1) An Introduction to Team Science, 2) Forming Breakthrough Science Teams, 3) Launching Breakthrough Science Teams, 4) Effective Team Leadership, and 5) Evaluating Your Team.MethodsWe started with a thorough literature review of the relevant topics. Sample modules were then developed and presented to focus groups of postdoctoral researchers using an iterative process. The feedback provided allowed us to hone in on the most effective content and activities. A revised version of each workshop was created and again presented to post-doc focus groups for feedback. Workshops were evaluated using a pre- and post-survey design, using the best practices metrics articulated in Rolland et al. 2021. These include 1) developing a shared, mission, vision, and goals, 2) building a culture of trust, accountability, openness, inclusivity, and constant learning, 3) facilitating interdisciplinary conversations on approaches, methods, and results, 4) building robust research support systems (information management, scientific coordination, project management, and communication systems, 5) building accessible, transparent data management systems, and 6) fostering robust and functional leadership.ResultsInitial results indicate that workshop participants found value in the workshops, plan to recommend them to their colleagues, and, most critically, intend to implement the skills and insights they acquired with their teams. The pre- and post-survey comparisons indicate that participants also gained confidence in the best practices assessed.  Based on these results, our training sessions provide early-career translational scientists with the skills and knowledge to form, launch, and manage their interdisciplinary teams more effectively.Future WorkEarly-career translational scientists are not the only audience that would benefit from this targeted team science training. We plan to modify and expand our training to include versions for senior scientists, research administrators, and community partners in future iterations.


Rolland, B., Burnside, E. S., Voils, C. I., Shah, M. N., & Brasier, A. R. (2021). Enhancing reproducibility using interprofessional team best practices. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, 5(1).

Research Development: Organizational Structure, Programs, and ervices to Enable a Successful Extramural Award Pipeline

Whitney Cheung

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The pathway to successful (large) extramural awards and research enterprise growth begins long before a funding opportunity is announced.  Such calls require a mechanism which enables rapid response and continues post-award to support ongoing impact at all levels.  While much emphasis at institutions of higher education is placed on the proposal preparation process, we have demonstrated that offering a suite of research program development services serves to effectively catalyze new research as well as supporting grantsmanship training and institutional partnerships (Figure 1).  This paper will address the organizational structure, programming, and services which have resulted in successes and provided valuable lessons in future program design. DESCRIPTION: Effective collaboration without topical boundaries allows a smooth transition from nascent interdisciplinary research concepts through to proposal submission and beyond.  Our team is divided into multiple units which address different phases of the award pipeline from *pre*-pre-award through to post-award impact (Figure 2).  A unique feature of our approach is PhD level domain-specific expertise across the team, enabling a more efficient working relationship with investigators and informing the design of new programs in an interdisciplinary manner.  In parallel with building inter- and intra-institutional partnerships, we have been able to offer early career and grantsmanship training, provide dedicated time to program-specific cohorts (e.g. NSF-CAREER), catalyze collaborations with seed funding programs, and disseminate strategic intelligence / funding opportunities through our focused communication networks. RESULTS: While the COVID-19 pandemic forced a rapid shift from in-person events and proved a challenge to networking strategies, we were able to transition much of our programming to a virtual format.  In some cases, this enabled additional attendance via asynchronous sessions for those whose teaching, research, and personal commitments would have otherwise prevented their participation.  One program series alone held 19 events with over 1,600 attendees.  Following a dedicated cohort, our faculty set a new campus record in number of CAREER awards received.  Our team also supported both National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Health (NIH) proposals from small-group workshops through to virtual site visits (outcomes pending as of submission). ADVANCING THE SciTS FIELD:  SciTS focuses on conditions which lead to successful team science and the creation of "toolkits" of approaches and schema.  Organizational structure varies by institution and the context of each team; however, we believe the underlying setup and types of services offered will translate across disciplines and institutions.

From Lab to Patients: Effective Teambuilding and Assessment Strategy for Biomedical Research Accelerators

Olena Leonchuk

Abstract: Successful translation of academic research into viable products requires the coordinated effort of government, business, and academic partners coupled with a deep understanding of the innovation process, specifically, diffusion and adoption of new technologies and methods. Biomedical innovations face an additional challenge of navigating the world's most powerful regulatory body, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, programs that support research translation and acceleration of biomedical discoveries entering practical use need to address two key questions: 1) how to assemble cohesive team with in-depth knowledge of different aspects of biomedical research and development (R&D) to support technologies at all the stages of innovation process, from early proof-of-concept to the later pre-clinical stage, and to help them meet the stringent FDA requirements; and, 2) how to assess the performance of these programs given the enormous diversity of technologies (e.g. drugs, devices, diagnostics), diseases targeted by these technologies, innovation pathways each technology can take (e.g. startup formation or licensing to an existing company), and the uniqueness of the innovator's profile (e.g. demographics, interest and experience in commercialization).The current paper describes in detail the approach designed and modified over the last seven years by a multidisciplinary team to address these two questions as part of the systematic assessment of four large federally funded programs. To answer the first question, the key observations from the on-going monitoring of these programs will be shared to demonstrate the unique composition and characteristics of the teams that support academic innovators by providing training, mentoring, and access to different expertise and resources in addition to funding. To answer the second question, relevant data, metrics, tools, and insights generated from these assessments will be used to demonstrate the effect of these programs on trajectories of the technologies supported and the overall impact on academic culture change.