Coaching Scientists to Play Well Together

When scientists from different disciplines collaborate – as is increasingly necessary to confront the complexity of challenging research problems – interpersonal tussles often arise. One scientist may accuse another of stealing his or her ideas. Or, a researcher may feel he or she is not getting credit for their work or doesn’t have access to important data from the study. However, with the increasing popularity of team science, the ability to collaborate is critical, especially as many National Institute of Health and National Science Foundation grants require applicants to show readiness for team science

Researchers from Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute have developed a free online training tool that can help. The tool, teamscience.net, has been proven to help scientists develop skills to work with others outside their own discipline. A new study showed that scientists who completed the program’s modules – called COALESCE – significantly boosted their knowledge about team science and increased their self-confidence about being able to successfully work in scientific teams.