The collaboration readiness of transdisciplinary research teams and centers findings from the National Cancer Institute's TREC Year-One evaluation study

Am J Prev Med. 2008 Aug;35(2 Suppl):S161-72. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.03.035.


Growing interest in promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration among health scientists has prompted several federal agencies, including the NIH, to establish large, multicenter initiatives intended to foster collaborative research and training. In order to assess whether these initiatives are effective in promoting scientific collaboration that ultimately results in public health improvements, it is necessary to develop new strategies for evaluating research processes and products as well as the longer-term societal outcomes associated with these programs. Ideally, evaluative measures should be administered over the entire course of large initiatives, including their near-term and later phases. The present study focuses on the development of new tools for assessing the readiness for collaboration among health scientists at the outset (during the first year) of their participation in the National Cancer Institute's Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) initiative. Indexes of collaborative readiness, along with additional measures of near-term collaborative processes, were administered as part of the TREC Year-One evaluation survey. Additionally, early progress toward scientific collaboration and integration was assessed, using a protocol for evaluating written research products. Results from the Year-One survey and the ratings of written products provide evidence of cross-disciplinary collaboration among participants during the first year of the initiative, and also reveal opportunities for enhancing collaborative processes and outcomes during subsequent phases of the project. The implications of these findings for future evaluations of team science initiatives are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Models, Organizational
  • National Cancer Institute (U.S.) / organization & administration*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel / organization & administration*
  • Science / organization & administration
  • Time Management
  • United States