Innovative workshop to focus on scientific teamwork

Virtual network

Published January 25, 2019

Improving the amount and quality of collaboration in the realm of scientific research will be the subject of an innovative workshop to be sponsored by the University at Buffalo’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) in February. Early registration closes on January 31.

The 2019 Creative Scientist Workshop, titled “Enhancing Collaboration: Fostering an Evidence-Based Approach to Improving CTSA Network Capacity,” will be a 100-percent virtual workshop that will allow attendees from across the country to fully participate – from anywhere. A variety of videoconferencing and collaboration tools will enable participants to engage in stimulating conversations, small-group interactions, and informal dialogues. The technology eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming travel, and will also reduce the size of the conference’s carbon footprint.

“It’s critical that we address the barriers to getting together and collaborating. That’s true for scientific teams, and we believe it’s just as true for successful workshops,” according to Larry Hawk, PhD, Director, Creative Scientist Workshop, CTSI and Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences.

Working with Hawk on the Planning Committee are Kara Hall, PhD, Director, Science of Team Science, National Cancer Institute; Katia Noyes, PhD, MPH, Director of Team Science, UB CTSI and Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions; Scott Steele, PhD, Director of Regulatory Science Program, University of Rochester Medical College (URMC) CTSI and Associate Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences URMC; and Kevin Wooten, PhD, Board Member, INSciTS, Institute for Translational Sciences University of Texas Medical Branch and Professor, College of Business, University of Houston Clear Lake.

According to the committee, the two-day conference is geared toward people who are interested in helping to build the next generation of research on team science. Attendees will include scholars with a background or interest in the science of collaboration; researchers and practitioners with candidate “best practices” to share; representatives of agencies that fund science collaborations; and experts in assessing research outcomes. The planners are also hoping to attract some team science skeptics, who they feel will help raise the bar for the workshop. The virtual approach seems to be paying off – with registration expected to spike in the coming days, participants have already registered from NCATS, NIH, and NSF, from over 1/3 of the CTSA hubs, and from a range of other academic institutions and businesses.

Christopher Austin, MD, Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, will lead the last of four one-hour pre-workshop micro labs. Hawk notes that “Dr. Austin is a champion of translational science – the science of how to do better science. This clearly extends to collaboration, per Dr. Austin, ‘There is a science to teamwork.’ We’re excited to have him help kick off our workshop to drive that science forward.”

Collaboration and team science are part of the core mission of the NCATS/CTSA and the consortium has developed a number of candidate best practices for researchers interested in building collaborations, strengthening teams, understanding the team process, and assessing the process and outcomes of team science. The planners hope the virtual conference will help shift the current research paradigm from one of case studies and consensus reports to one that advances the science of team science. This will be accomplished through development of proposals to evaluate the efficacy, effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and acceptability of promising conceptual frameworks, assessments, and collaboration “interventions”.

The workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 26-27. The cost of the conference is $50 for early registration (ends January 31), $100 for those who register between January 31 and February 17, and $250 for those register after February 16. Registration fees will be reimbursed to the first registrant from each CTSA.

See the webpage for more information about the 2019 Creative Scientist Workshop or contact Erin O’Byrne, CTSI Research Administrator, at erinobyr@buffalo.edu.