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NIH Office of Ombudsman National Institutes of Health
Collaboration and Team Science

NCI Center for Cancer Research Criteria for Evaluating Contributions to Team Science

If the PI is involved in collaborative, multidisciplinary, or interdisciplinary research:

  • What is his/her role in driving the project(s) forward?
  • Is she/he leading a major effort within the project or making key scientific contributions to it?
  • What accomplishments/achievements can be attributed to the PI?
  • Was the contribution essential for the overall success of the project?
  • To what degree did the contribution influence the overall outcome or direction of the project?
  • Was the contribution original rather than a reproduction of the work of others (e.g., did the PI develop software with novel, original features that will be used by others in the field, or did the PI merely modify existing software to make it compatible with the workflow of the project)?
  • For PIs whose research is mainly collaborative, how is the contribution
    of the individual PI regarded in the PI’s field of research?
NIH Tenure Policy and Multiple PI Grant Application Mechanism

At NIH, there are several examples of changes that have been made to help shift the perception that recognition and reward for team science projects are lacking. Most notably, in 2006, the NIH modified its intramural tenure evaluation guidelines to include recognition for participation in team science. The guidelines indicate that substantial impact of investigator initiated pursuits, as well as those characterized as team science, will qualify an individual for recognition for tenure. Another NIH effort recognizing the importance of collaboration was the establishment in 2007 of a grant application mechanism for multiple-PI projects.
To view NIH tenure guidelines, visit:
For information on NIH multiple-investigator grants, see