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Assessing the impact of a transdiscplinary team science initiative on scientific collaboration networks

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Okamoto J, Vogel A, Hall K, Srinivasan S, Shariff-Marco S. Assessing the impact of a transdiscplinary team science initiative on scientific collaboration networks. Poster presentation at Poster presented at The 2nd Annual International Science of Team Science (SciTS) Conference. Chicago, IL 2011.

Large-scale transdisciplinary (TD) team science initiatives have been identified as a promising approach to hasten scientific progress to address complex and multi-factorial social problems, such as the growing global burden of chronic disease and global warming. The Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been a leader in funding TD team science through center grant initiatives that have supported research into the causes of health inequalities in cancer, the relationship between energy balance and cancer, and the complex factors contributing to tobacco use. The Science of Team Science (SciTS) team within DCCPS applies novel, multi-methods research to explore the impact of these initiatives on research collaboration, productivity, and innovation. In the current study, we used social network analysis (SNA) methods to document collaboration networks among scientists participating in one such initiative, the Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD). The CPHHD Initiative initially funded from 2003-2008, provided support for eight geographically dispersed centers for health disparities research and training. After an extension period, CPHHD was renewed from 2010-2015, providing funding for ten centers, including three renewed and seven new centers. The CPHHD initiative was designed to foster TD team science both within each center and across centers. To support this approach within centers, each CPHHD center was required to conduct at least three research projects, each addressing a different “level” of science that may contribute to our understanding of social inequalities in health, such as laboratory science, clinical studies, and epidemiologic studies. Research studies focus variously on gene–environment interactions, psychosocial stress, cultural influences, and other individual, interpersonal, and societal factors contributing to health inequalities. Each center receives funding for shared resources to support its research projects, such as administrative, statistical, and translational and dissemination resources. To support cross-disciplinary collaborations across centers, grantees are required to participate in semi-annual grantee scientific meetings and cross-center working groups that meet more frequently, providing opportunities for cross-center information exchange and scientific collaboration. Findings demonstrate that investigators’ experiences and attitudes related to transdisciplinary research collaboration are related to their positions and roles within collaboration networks. Also, those with an interdisciplinary orientation were closer to others in the network, indicating they have a better idea of what is going on in the network because they can more quickly and easily access information. Finally, investigators with a more inter/transdisciplinary outlook and approach tend to serve as vital connectors among people in the CPHHD initiative.



Type of Publication:

Poster presentation


Collaboration Networks, Network Analysis, Transdisciplinary Research, Research Orientation

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Establish or maintain effective team science endeavors
  • Enhance team performance, interactions, and attitudes
  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science

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Resource created by Janet Okamoto on 2/13/2012 2:38:14 PM.

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