What is Team Science?

The National Cancer Institute defines team science as:

“… a collaborative effort to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields.”

Why engage in team science?

Teams of investigators from diverse disciplinary backgrounds with different skills may be better suited to tackle scientifically complex, interlinked problems with multiple causes, such as climate change, the future of global water and food security, social determinants of health and others. As funding agencies are increasingly focused on the importance of employing diverse expertise to tackle grand challenges, leading research institutions must advance and apply the growing body of knowledge on best practices for team science excellence.

How is this any different from what we already do?

Many researchers hear the term Team Science and think “I’ve been doing this for years – interdisciplinary research is all I do!” This is often true, and increasing in fact, as teams are charged with addressing more scientifically complex problems and reaching broader groups of stakeholders, including academic scientists, clinicians, community members, industry partners, and policy makers. The Science of Team Science focuses on increasing the efficacy and establishing best practice methods for designing, co-generating and synthesizing new knowledge that draws on a broad range of expertise and perspectives. The Duke CTSI Team Science Core draws upon the growing evidence basis to learn from successes and create consulting and training resources that grow key skills.

The Duke CTSI Team Science Core Seeks to:

  • Promote team science skills and concepts across Duke

  • Conduct research studies advancing team science

  • Develop and track metrics to evaluate the impacts of team science education and practices

Why is Duke CTSI interested in supporting team science?

The average time to take a discovery at the laboratory bench to a clinically approved therapeutic (Translation) is over 15 years, and this process requires coordination of effort between scientists, clinicians, medical centers, research participants, regulatory agencies and many others along the way. The Duke CTSI and its sister hubs around the country are working to develop tools and methods for novel partnership development to facilitate more efficient translation.

There is a rich and growing body of work in the Science of Team Science field, which provides evidence-based guidance for assembling teams and optimizing the communal efforts toward implementing complex integrated research agendas. The Duke CTSI Team Science Core is here to connect researchers and leaders across the University and Health systems with this critical knowledge.

Connect with the Team Science Core by completing the service request form.

What Can the Team Science Core Do for Me?

The Team Science Core offers multiple avenues of consulting and training to support complex, boundary-spanning research: 

  • Team Science training seminars and workshops:

    • An Introduction to the Science of Team Science, the Evidence-Base for Effective Collaboration in Boundary-Spanning Research

    • Effective Team-based Leadership

    • Planning for Successful Collaborations

    • Coming Soon: Equity in Team Science

  • Consulting services to teams and leaders and navigation to self-serve tools and resources

  • Design and structured facilitation for meetings and workshops for pre-award and post-award teams

  • Self-serve tools and resources

  • The TSC can also share your resources if you have tools and services. Please contact us if you have a resource that could be used by other Duke Researchers in their team-based research.

Connect with us via our Service Request Form for more information about our services, upcoming events, resources and community updates.

The Team Science Core will work with:
  • Researchers across the University and Health System who want to build skills in support of excellence in transdisciplinary, team-based research

  • Schools, institutes, and initiatives to identify ongoing and future collaborative research, and provide training and professional development opportunities to support their scholars and teams

  • Duke leadership to identify current practices and potential improvements in the recognition of collaborative science in the tenure process

The Team Science Core was established in 2018 with the third renewal of Duke’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (NIH Grant Number UL1TR002553). We continue to connect with team science stakeholders across the University and Health System. In communication with this growing community, we have established a service core to offer a broad array of consulting and facilitation services to interested interdisciplinary teams throughout the University and Health system.