L. Michelle Bennett, Ph.D., did her postdoctoral fellowship in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) IRP, where she was part of the team that characterized and localized the human BRCA1 gene to the long arm of chromosome 17. She became passionate about understanding the characteristics of successful research team functioning and collaboration when she worked in one of the NCI’s IRPs, the Center for Cancer Research (CCR). Dr. Bennett is currently charged with creating a new office within NCI that will work with scientists from across the organization to develop recommendations for identifying research gap areas and new research opportunities.
Teaming Science seeks to understand the key elements that contribute to successful teams. Dr. Bennett and her group studied a number of NIH research teams to discover the secrets of their success. The results are examined in the second edition of Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide, which contains new insights from individuals, teams, and organizations around the world.
LASER PULSE’s implementation activities bring together many new team members – including for Buy-Ins, for research application awards, and for LASER conference session collaborations – and beyond. Dr. Bennett consulted with the LASER PULSE team in January of this year, to help them understand some nuances of teaming that are not widely understood. Among these are the fact that newly-formed teams, and the addition of any new team members, undergo four main stages in their attempts to align their psychological and professional worlds: forming, storming, norming and performing. Alignment doesn’t always happen for individual team members, in which case the norming and performing stages are not stops in the journey for that team. Team members may leave, and new ones take their place. Given the multi-disciplinary, professionally varied, and often multicultural nature of these teams, LASER PULSE staff want to get ahead of the need to provide support for the new teams in order to increase the probability of their collaborative success in research translation. Toward this end, we want to provide our Network Members access to Teaming Science materials. And we will be adapting and including teaming science templates in all future RFA packages, so you can better describe your teams and their familiarity in collaborating.