Team Science_UNIT1

Team Science_UNIT1 - Collaboration & Team Science:...

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Unformatted text preview: Collaboration & Team Science: A Field Guide Comnifi'nicate : careers . l p ‘ tigers-anal _ 'Nhoelleffienne‘ttl, *‘ Howard Samantha Levine-Finley Starting to Think About Team Science Over the last decade. there has been a surge of interest and investment in multi— and interdisciplinary team science programs from public agencies and private organizations alike. Today it is widely accepted that “collaborations become necessary whenever researchers wish to take their research programs in new directions’1 (Mactina, 1995). As a result, innovations and advances that were not possible within one laboratory working in isolation are now emerging from collaborations and research teams that have harnessed techniques, approaches, and perspectives from multiple scientific disciplines and therapeutic areas. Team science has been described as a collaborative and often cross—disciplinary approach to scientific inquiry that draws researchers who otherwise work independently or as co— investigators on smaller-scale projects into collaborative centers and groups." As modern research methods have become more specialized and the true complexity of today’s most pressing health issues and diseases is revealed, collaborations among scientists trained in different fields have become essential for exploring and tackling these problems. This specialization of research methods has made interdependence, joint ownership, and collective responsibility between and among scientists near requirements. These features of team science may not suit everyone, but given these current trends, it is increasingly likely that most researchers will find themselves asked to participate on or lead a research team at some point in their careers. There are many types of research teams, each one as dynamic as its team members. Research teams may comprise investigators from the same or different fields. Research teams also vary by size, organizational complexity, and geographic scope. ranging from as few as two individuals working together to a vast network of interdependent researchers across many institutions. Research teams have diverse goals spanning scientific discovery, training, clinical translation, public health, and health policy (Stokols. Hall, Taylor, Moser, 6C Syme, 2008). This Fisk! Guide was developed to help researchers navigate some of the rocky and murky territory associated with building a team either on their own or at the request of someone in their organization. It is not focused on team science from a granting agency or institutional perspective, which can include using funding mechanisms to catalyze and coordinate large- scale research efforts or team science. As the figure on page 2 illustrates, research teams vary across a continuum of interaction and integration. This continuum provides a basic framework for understanding how this Field Guild conceptualizes teams. On one end of the spectrum is independent research, wherein a scientist works individually and independently on his or her research. Collaboration There is a field of inqu1ry called team scrence, or the scrence‘of-teamAsctence. This field encompasses an amalgam ofconceptual and methodological strategies aimed at understanding and enhancing the outcomes oflargeascale coliahorative research and training programs. The Field has emerged in recent years. largely in response to concerns about the cosreel'rectiveness ofpublice and private-sector investments in teamlbased science. Still. the boundaries and concerns of this field are diFficuit to discern and there is need for more data on team science's major theoretical, methodological. and translational underpinnings {Stokols. Hall. Taylor, Maser. 5E Syme. 2008). Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide 1 Starting to Think About Team Science What Is a Scientific Research Team? ...think of it as a continuum... Low Level of Interaction and Integration High 4—.———.———-—> Independent Research Collaboration Integrated Research Team 0 Investigator works largely - Each group member brings expertise I Each team member brings specific independently on a research problem to address the research problem. expertise to address the research with his or her lab. problem. - Group members work on separate parts of the research problem, which - Team meets regularly to discuss are later integrated. team goals, individuals‘ objectives, and next steps. - Data sharing or brainstorming among lead investigators varies from limited - Team shares leadership responsibility, to frequent. decision-making authority, data, and credit. describes a scenario in which researchers work relatively independently on different aspects of a common scientific problem with at least some interaction. At the far right of the spectrum are integrated research teams—interdisciplinary groups that meet regularly (high interaction) and share leadership responsibility, data, and decision—making authority, as well as credit (high integration). This Field Guide addresses a wide range of team science, from collaborations to highly integrated research teams. Of course, scientific teams also vary in terms of their duration. Some teams are put together for a very focused purpose and are not intended to have a life that extends beyond the accomplishment of a specific task. Others may be designed with the expectation of a long- term collaboration exploring multiple facets of a set of problems not expected to be resolved even over a fairly lengthy time frame. As the focus on research teams sharpens, questions are emerging about what constitutes a successful team and how research teams can maximize their effectiveness and experiences. Not every team is successful—some are able to achieve only some of their goals, or fail and dissolve. Other teams are highly successful—— reaching and often exceeding their recognized goals and creating positive experiences for team members and the institutions that support them. Why is this the case? What constitutes a 2 Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide Starting to Think About Team Science successful research team? Why do some research teams succeed while others do not? What factors maximize a research team’s productivity or effectiveness? How can research teams best be recognized, evaluated, and rewarded? Collaboration and 72mm Science: A Field Guide was developed to help answer these and other questions. A host of factors determine whether a team will meet the challenges it faces or find itself struggling. These factors include characteristics such as team size, organizational complexity, geographic dispersal, leadership structure, level of formality or informality, relational dynamics, and context of establishment. To make matters more vexing, there are examples of successful and less successful groups for every combination of characteristics. The Field Guide is intended for anyone who is currently participating on or leading a research team, considering becoming involved in a research team, or contemplating building a research team. The first section—Preparing l’ozrrsetffor 7.73am Scz'mceiemphasizes how important it is that individuals at all levels reflect on how prepared and willing they are to engage in team science. The subsequent modules explore the many dynamic factors that contribute to successful research teams, offer suggestions on how to apply “best practices” to maximize research team effectiveness, and offer strategies to address the challenges and prevent or reduce the pitfalls that commonly confound or srymie research teams. Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide Preparing Yourself for Team Science earn science is rapidly becoming a primary mode of operation for biomedical scientists and clinicians working on fascinating and complex questions involving human health. But making the most of the opportunities that team science has to offer may seem fraught with the challenges of adapting from a soloninvestigator culture to one of collaboration. For example, individuals, collaborators, and highly integrated teams often have different perceptions and experiences of What this “team science” stuff is all about. Some people naturally function as part of a research team, while others must develop and apply skills to enable them to successfully contribute to team efforts. Effective team members and team leaders possess a number of skills that contribute positively to the overall functioning and success of the team. They must be able to communicate with others and both give and receive constructive feedback. In addition, they must also embrace a collaborative spirit, meaning they are willing to share data, credit, and decisionmaking with other team members. The strength of these skills is often dependent on an individual's level of personal insight and self-awareness, ability to be in touch with his or her thoughts and feelings, and level of consciousness of his or her impact on other people. Whether you are participating on a research team or leading a research team, mentally and emotionally preparing yourself is critical to your team's overall success. Some tips include: ' Recognize that others do not necessarily share your understandings or perceptions. ' Consider many options and possibilities for how others may understand or perceive an experience. ' Appreciate that different understandings and perceptions of experiences do not have to threaten your identity or relationships. The scenarios below were developed to help stimulate thoughts around these challenges and to formulate questions so you can make the most of the opportunities team science presents. Case Study 1 [ti lunchtime and Dr. 1Malfrtroni is walking to the eafiteria with a coileagaefiom another iah, Dr. Miller. Dr. Miller starts discussing a problem he is having with a specific team research project. He says he feels stack; he has most of the expertise he needs hut lac/E's it in one particular area that would allow him to may advance his research. Dr. Wéhtrom tells him that she not 0ij has the expertise and resources to help, hat that she sees another line of inquiry that could he important to follow. Her contrihutiom would heijo with the pahiication Dr. Miller is trying to prepare and also broaden its scope and contribute globally to the research project. Dr. W/ehtrom invites him to provide her with the cell lines she would need to Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide 5 Preparing Yourself for Team Science perfiirm the experiments and says she’ll provide him with any findings. Dr. Miller says that is not how his lab does things. Instead, he wants to introduce Dr. Wehtrorn to the team leader to discuss these ideas. As it turns out, the Pl in Dr. Miller} lah is always open to new shillr and perspectives of other scientists that will help them get the data needed. The lah finds it more rewarding to httild a dynamic team that works together to uncover the multiplefizcets that underlie complex scientific questions, rather than have people worh in isolation and just contrihate data. As Dr. Whtrom enters the cafeteria and approaches the colorfizl salad bar, where she sees all the dzfiérent oegetahles that will soon comhine to hecome her lunch, she realizes that she has the opportunity to hecome part ofan interdisciplinary team. What does she need to know ahoat heing part of an interdisaplinary team? Case Study 2 Dr. Antonelli has heen tanning her own lahfirr a filo years and things are going fizirly well. She has had a couple ofpapers in high—impactjoarnalr and is fieling good ahottt the contrihations her group is making to science. Yet she hnows her group could he doing much more with current projects. In fact, she has been firmalating an idea for a mach larger efihrt that would require her to hring together a number of experts in different fields. But Dr. Antonelli is hesitant to by to pull the trigger on starting that hecaase she fiels something is missing in her own lah. And she just can’t pat her finger on the problem. Dr. Antonelli har noticed that people in her lah don’t ofiér mach daring weehlv lah meetings and, when they do, they are reluctant to gioe details ahont their experiments. Sometimes they even malee disrespectfitl comments to each other. She has heen surprised when junior scientists have come to her with reguests to worh on projects that are irrelevant to the lah} mission. Most concerning, Dr. Antonelli finds herself having to stamp out ofi‘en hitter argnmen ts hetween some lah memhers over authorship and reliability of data. Where are things going wrong. and what can Dr. Antonelli do about it? And she does do something ahoat it, can she apply what she has learned to that higger, holder project that is hahhling in her mind? Leadership The characteristics of successful research team leaders are as diverse as the teams they lead. There is no one formula that can be applied to a successful leader. However, there are a number of common strengths exemplified by leaders that contribute to the overall success of the team. A team leader must be able to clearly and decisively communicate, share information with team members, and articulate the team’s vision. He or she must be prepared to model a collaborative approach to science and motivate other members to do so as well. A team leader must also support and empower team members, assign roles and delegate responsibilities, and manage team members’ expectations. Strong leadership 6 Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide Preparing Yourself for Team Science that capitalizes on a portfolio of strengths is a critical component of team SUCCESS. Bringing together a talented group of researchers to work cooperatively to solve a problem takes time, commitment, passion, and a lot of hard work. Whereas everyone on the team plays an important role, there is typically one individual steering the effort. The leader can bring people together to brainstorm, discuss new ideas, develop strategies and time lines, and coordinate small contributions of individual resources that together can get a project off the ground. Leaders can build both personal and scientific trust among the team members and provide a conduit to senior leadership in the organization. In addition, they can foster mutual respect among the members, the desire to share data and credit, a willingness to continually challenge each other to advance the project while containing conflict, and the development of a dynamic process that evolves its priorities and vision over time. Leadership styles, like leadership characteristics, vary widely. Some leaders employ a style in which they both self-identify as the team leader and are seen clearly by others as heading the effort. They are in command and in charge. On the other hand, some would be less inclined to describe themselves as leaders and could be thought of as driving from the back of the bus. That is a leadership role that is less directive. Once again, there is no right way. However, there are styles that can damage and detail a team effort, including: ' Absentee leadership—unavailable or insufficiently involved I Inhibited leadership—conflict avoidant or averse and reluctant to handle difficult people or situations ' Defensive leadership—resistant to feedback regarding systemic problems and projecting outward blame I Hostile leadership—actively promoting competition and conflict within the lab. Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide 7 Preparing Yourself for Team Science Strong scientific and interpersonal communication skills are critical and required to keep the group interacting, cohesive, and on course. Communication includes both the subjects for discussion as well as the logistical strategies for effective interactions. The leader must ensure that the team outlines roles and responsibilities, commitment of resources, and how credit for participation in team efforts will be shared and assigned. Communication strategies may include listservs, teleconferencing, interactive Web-based collaboration tools, and e-mail. Workshops and retreats provide forums for face—to—face interaction as well as strengthening and broadening of networks. The importance oflearning each other’s scientific languages cannot be understated. The Value of a Mentor Mentoring is an indispensable aspect of successful collaboration. When embarking on a collaborative effort for the first time, or as your collaboration evolves into a highly integrated and diverse team, being or having a good mentor can help. The absence of mentors can lead to Frustration, uninformed decisionmaking, and poorly conceived behaviors on the part of more junior scientists that can undermine a research project.* Being a Mentor Leading a successful research team is much more than ust being an effective supervisor or manager. While managers are talented at making expectations clear, holding people accountable, and dealing with conflict, good leaders are also able to articulate a vision and bring together people who are committed to attaining that vision. Gifted leaders are also skilled mentors who recognize the strengths of each team member and identify areas in which newer scientists have the greatest potential to grow. Mentors are committed to helping others learn the nuances of the science, unravel and handle the politics of the organization and/or the discipline, develop scientific and other skills in various areas, and create strategies for successful collaborative interactions. Great mentors will help you achieve success along your chosen career path through assisting with networking, identifying opportunities, and tackling complex scientific situations or questions by assembling the right resources and sharing the formative successes and failures they faced along the way. Great mentors will support scientific collaborations by serving as thoughtful and encouraging guides for anyone involved in the endeavor. Seeking a Mentor It is valuable to have a mentor or several mentors—regardless of your career stage—who can serve as a sounding board as you work your way through the maze of issues, challenges, and opportunities you will face. If you do not have a mentor, consider seeking out and identifying an individual who could be a strong one for you. Although your supervisor may or may not be a mentor to you, he or she can be a terrific resource for identifying others who can help guide you in that role. * For more on mentoring, take a look at Entering ill/[entering by Handelsnian, Pfund, Laufer, 5t Pribbenow (2005). 8 Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide Preparing Yourself for Team Science Are You Ready? The Value of Self-Reflection Whether you are a member or a leader, your contributions to your research team can benefit from selfureflection. Although you may not think that the consideration of the finer points ofinterpersonal dynamics is relevant to biomedical research, there is more ofa connection between scientific thinking and self—reflection than appears at first glance. Both depend heavily on inferential reasoning—selectively focusing on observable data, drawing inferences about what the data might mean, and finding ways to test those inferences with additional observable data. While the “data” of interpersonal relationships may not have the facticity of data in research studies, they are nonetheless available for observation, inference, and reflection. Over the years, studies of interpersonal dynamics, group functioning, and individual cognitive and emotional processes have established that, through self-reflection and communication, people can become more aware of themselves, their behavior, and the impact they have on others. More importantly, such awareness can give people greater control over their own reactions to others and improve the quality and direction of their relationships. For this reason, self-awareness among team members is crucial for the effective and satisfying functioning of research teams. As written by Cohen and Cohen in Lah Dynamics (2005), an excellent discussion of management skills for scientists, “... selfaawareness allows you to exercise behavioral options and choose the behavior that will be most effective, rather than the one that may make you feel good for the moment, but that you will later regret." However, to move toward self—awareness, it is necessary to overcome what social psychologist Lee Ross (Ross (36 Ward, 1996) has described as “naive realism”fithe belief that we see events as they really are. Each person believes that his or her attitudes and beliefs derive from an objective reaction to information and that other rational people will react in the same way if they are open to the same information. In this regard, scientists are like most other people. Case Study 3 Tit/o colleagues, Dr. Maxim and Dr. Lao, haoejnst presented their research results at a COHfiI‘Eh‘fE. A question flow the audience challenges the pair} conclusions. Dr. IWaxim regooncls defl’nsioetfi; hecanse he 'heara'”and uexperiencerl” the challenge as an attack. Dr. Laojnmps into the discmsion with a very diflioent attitude; she welcomes the challenge and is eager to dehate the data that led to the conclusion. These two people are ashes! the same question ahoat the same data, yet each hrings a :1er di erent perspectioe. Instantly each person in the room, including Dr. Maxim and Dr. Lao, draws conclusions and creates 'Etories” to explain the r'eseairheis’difi'rent reactions. It is likely that none is totally correct. The following sections provide tools and resources that can help you explore and become more aware ofhow you see yourself and the world, which will provide useful insights into your contribution to the team dynamic. Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide 9 ...
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