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

Preparing Yourself

Team 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 solo-investigator 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 decision making with other team members.

The strength of these skills is often dependent on an individual’s level of personal insight

and self-awareness, the 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:

ƒ. Recognize that others do not necessarily share your understandings or

perceptions.

ƒ. Consider many options and possibilities for how others may understand or

perceive an experience.

ƒ. Appreciate that different understandings and perceptions of experiences do

not have to threaten your identity or relationships.

 

For more on Team Science and Collaboration - check out the Field Guide (see below).

Download a free PDF of the "Field Guide"

Collaboration and Team Science: A 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.
We welcome your input and feedback.

teamscience.nih.gov