To join or not to join: an investigation of individual facilitators and inhibitors of medical faculty participation in interdisciplinary research teams

Clin Transl Sci. 2011 Aug;4(4):274-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-8062.2011.00321.x.


Interdisciplinary research (IDR) teams are an important mechanism for facilitating medical breakthroughs. This study investigates the role of individual-level predictors of the choice to join a new IDR team at a major medical institution. We collected survey data from a sample of 233 faculty members who were given the opportunity to participate in IDR teams that had recently formed around a wide range of medical topic areas. Our results suggest that even under supportive organizational conditions, some medical experts were more likely to participate than others. Specifically, basic and translational researchers, associate professors, and faculty with distinctive topic area expertise and with more experience collaborating across departmental boundaries participated at a greater rate than their peers. Our findings have implications for research, practice, and policy focused on overcoming the challenges of drawing together diverse medical experts into IDR teams with the potential to advance knowledge to prevent, cure, and treat complex medical conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Expert Testimony
  • Faculty, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Studies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Research Personnel / statistics & numerical data*