TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. PREFACE 2. WHY DO WE NEED RESEARCH NETWORKS? A. Rationale of interdisciplinary networks 3. PREPARATION – Considerations prior to starting a network A. Establishing Foundation support B. Pre-network development C. Responsibilities of program staff 4. NETWORK FORMATION A. Identifying potential network members B. Desired characteristics of network members C. Problems of disciplinary isolation D. Attributes of network chair 5. NETWORK IMPLEMENTATION A. Establishing a functional network B. First phase of funding i. Role of foundation staff ii. Budget C. Role of network administrator D. Summary of initial recommendations 6. NETWORK MONITORING A. Crucial role of network meetings B. Implementing research agenda C. Annual meetings of network chair and staff D. Mid-course review E. Length of support F. Summary of network accomplishments and network review 7. CONCLUDING REMARKS 8. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 9. APPENDIX-EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL MACARTHUR NETWORKS COPIES AVAILABLE FROM RMROSE@UTMB.EDURMROSE@UTMB.EDU
Robert M. Rose, MD Kevin Wooten, PhD Team Development
TEAMS ARE NOT THE USUAL WAY OF WORKING IN THE ACADEMY Very strong tradition of ‘my lab, my expertise, my specialty’ ‘I haven’t had to do things differently for many years and I am well funded, so why should I change?’ ‘I am a strong leader who can collaborate with others if necessary, but not by relinquishing what has been successful for me.’ ‘Teams are just the current fad, and where is the data that demonstrates they are a better way of doing things?’ ‘Who determines who should be on a team and by what criteria?’ ‘Teams are just another hoop to jump through so I will just play this game to the extent I must.’
GETTING STARTED Do it slowly Chose individuals who are secure in their knowledge, but curious and inquisitive. Give all the potential members a chance to tell what moves them, how they think about their science, their special perspectives and their way to doing intellectual business- method intuition Clearly communicate the expectation that all members are necessary to define the problem and how to proceed to study it and share in the responsibility of success or failure. Permit those who find it burdensome, boring, too time- consuming to withdraw. Teams are NOT for all. Meet regularly and establish the expectation that attendance is a necessary part of membership.
Identify Scientific Opportunities What are the most important and interesting questions What excites the interest and enthusiasm of the group? PI facilitates discussion and actively solicits input and suggestions from others
Build on common interests Team members learn about background, expertise of others All team members provided opportunity to present early in process What do members consider their most important achievements and contributions to their discipline What are the strengths and limitations of various methodologies Set appropriate tone for group meetings-sufficient time for asking questions, soliciting answers
Shared understanding of what is known and not known Consensus of what has been established and what is unclear May need to bring in outside speakers Discussion of potential advantages of adding additional members Who is missing Soliciting input from all members enhances team building
Ask yourself: Am I Ready to Lead a Research Team? Am I able to clearly and decisively communicate and share information with team members? Am I prepared to clearly articulate my vision to team members? Am I prepared to share such that the team is perceived as belonging to all the members and not just me? Am I prepared to model a collaborative process? Am I willing to support team members at all levels, assigning role and responsibilities? Am I willing to manage members’ expectations?
Defining Scope of Research Defining research problem in terms of interdisciplinary and collaborative perspectives Team needs to discuss how each member can contribute to the translational goals and how these interact and thus enhance the team’s agenda How will basic mechanistic findings impact understanding of clinical phenomena and treatment and later impact models of care This understanding needs to be conceptualized by each member of the team, not just by the PI. Develop plan for research, set timelines and milestones Facilitated by use of logic model Discuss what help is needed from key resources
Operational Management Team Meetings Well attended by all members Time and location consistent Agenda available Minutes taken Major decisions, review of progress, alterations of research plan, decisions about new members only in team meeting with all members present These all build the identity and sense of team
Operational Management Dealing with conflict Discussions are candid, not hostile Discussions occur in group setting, not off-line/one on one Capacity of group to deal collectively with disagreements and not splitting into factions, is hallmark of effective teams
Expand horizons and scope of knowledge Schedule presentations from those not on the team-several benefits What other research is ongoing that might be incorporated into the team’s agenda If added or integrated, would such additions strengthen the team’s agenda, illuminate mechanisms not otherwise being investigated Benefit of shared learning First shared learning exemplified by initial presentations of team members Exposure to other new perspectives enhances shared learning of team Both experiences enhance capacity of members to reframe their explanatory models to include other perspectives
Communicating about science: when it’s working Team members share recognition of each other’s contributions Team members develop a common language for the project and translate across disciplines Open discussion, differing opinions, and constructive criticism are encouraged and lead to healthy dialogue. Over time, team members have the capacity to integrate the perspectives of others into their thinking and into hypothesis generation (definition of transdisciplinary success)
Is conflict resolution working? When it is not working, team members, leader: Are unaware of interpersonal conflicts within the team. Do not listen to concerns, engage in mediation, instead seek out other third parties to serve as neutral intervenors. Unaware or avoid acknowledging other members’ motivations and needs. Fail to listen carefully to team discussion Interpret conflict as unhealthy when it is actually constructive Misread a lack of argument or challenge as agreement. Overestimate team members’ ability to work together as a team.
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