NORDP 2020 Conference Notes: Encouraging and Supporting Multidisciplinary Team Science and Collaborative Proposals – Part 1

Over the next several weeks, we will share notes from select NORDP 2020 virtual presentations. Check out the learning management system for details on all of the NORDP 2020 available presentations:

  1. Login with your NORDP member info.
  2. Select the session you are interested in viewing.
  3. Go to the Session Materials box and click on Materials which will take you to the presentation video and slides. 
  4. The session will also appear in your personal course list for future viewing.


  • Sandra Holden, Ph.D. – Assistant Director, Stanford Research Development Office
  • Babette Heyer, Ph.D. – Director, Research Strategy Development at the Stanford Cancer Institute
  • Sarah Ott – Senior Grants Consultant, Hanover Research

Thanks to our session scribe, Daniel Campbell, Old Dominion University!

Key points from the session 

Institutional level incentives can involve seed grants, faculty release time, recognition in the promotion & tenure process, priority access to RD staff and Red Team review. RD level often does not have the authority to set these items up, but we can support implementation of these programs by administering seed grants, coordinating Red Team reviews and prioritizing support for team science proposals.

RD level strategies can involve encouraging faculty to meet others from different fields, share bios & research interests on internal databases, and RD staff can foster connections among PI’s you work with as an individual.

Important first steps when considering a project include: a detailed review of FOA; ask does the PI have the time to do it right; confirm institutional support; solicit funder input; and establish partnerships.

It is important for the team to be thinking not only about how to write the proposal, but how they will work well together. Team Science Guiding Questions to consider include:

  • What is your rationale?
  • Are you ready to collaborate?
  • How will you address and manage essential team processes?
  • Do you have the technology and resources required?
  • How will you communicate and coordinate?
  • How will team leadership, management, and administration look?
  • How will you resolve conflict?
  • How will you evaluate your collaboration?

It is important to have an institutional level advocate ideally who can be a supporter of the project when hurdles or issues develop.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

When developing the project timeline use the last 1/3 to review combined elements.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member?

Is there an optimal number of team members to make a proposal competitive? 

Response: There is no ideal number. It is really determined with the scope of and what is required by the individual project. The key is to have engaged participants, engagement not number is the most important aspect.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

There are a lot of great resources discussed by the presenters including project management tools, proposal writing resources, document management considerations, and networking activities.

There’s also a Part 2 that is an informal Q&A session that is a follow-up to Part 1.  

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