Tales from the Listserv: What does it take to cultivate multiple effective science teams in a targeted focus area?

The below blog consists of catalogued answers to an RD question posed on the listserv. 

NORDP Listserv Question from:

Jeff Agnoli, Education, Funding and Research Development
The Ohio State University

Hello NORDP Colleagues: we are searching for resources (programs, curricula) to develop university-level interdisciplinary faculty leaders—so, going one level up from “what does it take to be a great leader of a science team” to “what does it take to cultivate multiple effective science teams in a targeted focus area”?

There are programs out there to develop leadership skills in faculty, but they often aim toward becoming a dean or a department chair. How do we develop and support faculty leaders tapped with growing a new strategic interdisciplinary focus area/center?


Melanie Chase, Ph.D., Facilitator, Advisor, Coach
Change Solutions

This Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program is an exciting opportunity to advance interdisciplinary research for health equity: http://interdisciplinaryresearch-leaders.org/about-the-program/. Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is a leadership development opportunity for teams of researchers and community partners, including community organizers and advocates. These teams use the power of applied research—informing and supporting critical work being done in communities—to accelerate that work and advance health and equity. Their innovation helps build a Culture of Health, one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

Kim Patten, Director of Research Development Services
The University of Arizona

We’ve been looking at developing a similar program.

Sarah Bronson, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Research
Penn State College of Medicine

I just met Suresh Garimella last week at a BTAA Academic Leadership Seminar and he told me about this program he is running for the first time this year. It sounded neat although I have not contacted him yet for the syllabus, see https://www.purdue.edu/research/flair.php

M.S. AtKisson, Ph.D., President
AtKisson Training Group

Since peeling off my former company, I’ve worked to fill exactly this niche—research leadership development. My approach has been to translate some of the work that has a long history in the business world to the language and the needs of researchers. The business programs often start from the idea that the person sits in a hierarchy, which people answer to them and they answer to people above them. For center directors or leaders of multidisciplinary teams, the other researchers are really their equals.

For developing research leaders, I do an individual coaching program over 8 weeks. I use a combination of an adapted a curriculum and just straight up leadership coaching (I’ve trained through CTI).

If anyone would like more information, please contact me off list. http://www.atg.consulting/

Susan Carter, J.D., Research Development Director
Santa Fe Institute

There is a leadership development component to the faculty and leadership retreats that have been a part of our CREDITS (Center for Research Excellence and Diversity in Team Science) project in California…the lead PI for that NSF funded project is Barbara Walker at UCSB.

Holly Hapke, Ph.D., Director of Research Development
University of California-Irvine

  • First, there is a Science of Team Science listserv that “facilitates knowledge sharing among individuals engaged in, studying, facilitating, and supporting team science, in the US and internationally. It is maintained by the SciTS Team of the National Cancer Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.” (scitslist@list.nih.gov) You may want to subscribe and consult its members as well since interdisciplinarity is certainly a component of many team science undertakings.
  • Second, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program provides fellowships to support the development of interdisciplinary research leadership skills for scholars working in the area of health equity. See: http://interdisciplinaryresearch-leaders.org/about-the-program/. It might be a resource to consult.
  • Third, at UC-Irvine the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) supports the ICTS Team Science Support Committee, which implements theoretical and evidence-based tools to improve, assess, and evaluate the capacity of interdisciplinary translational science teams. Its members provide consultations. See https://www.icts.uci.edu/services/team.php for more information and contact information.

Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, Ph.D., Vice President of Research Intelligence
Global Strategic Networks

Other than perhaps some offering at the annual Association for Interdisciplinary Studies conference (you’ll need to check the web site), I’m not aware of any particular training/professional development program. Here’s a set of resources I recommend if you consider developing something anew:

  • Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Cultures: A Model for Strength and Sustainability, by Julie Thompson Klein à Julie is amazing, she’s been a collaborator for years, you may want to invite her to campus at some point;
  • Julie and I published an article about P&T policies for interdisciplinary research (IDR) and team science (TS), Interdisciplinary and collaborative work: Framing promotion and tenure practices and policies;
  • Breaking Out of the Box: Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Faculty Work, by Marilyn J. Amey and Dennis F. Brown;
  • Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, National Academies Press;
  • Practising Interdisciplinarity, Peter Weingart and Nico Stehr;
  • A Guide for Interdisciplinary Researchers highlights the essential attributes and support required for successful interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, at the individual, team and research environment levels;
  • Another collaborator of mine, Prof. Michael O’Rourke, is the Director of the Michigan State Center for Interdisciplinarity is also an expert worth reaching out to. He presented a webinar last year November to the Intereach group.

Jill Jividen, Director of Research Development
University of Michigan

Another resource for us – consultants – Hanover has been working with our Law, Business, Glenn, and ASC folks on some other projects. This ppt describes the resources available to faculty at different career stages.


Members can login to Circles and learn more about Developing Research Faculty Leaders HERE

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

%d bloggers like this: