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ERIC Number: EJ1152270
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-1590
Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: A Qualitative Study of the Role of the Coordinating Center in Facilitating Coordinated Collaborative Science
Rolland, Betsy; Lee, Charlotte P.; Potter, John D.
Journal of Research Administration, v48 n1 p65-85 Spr 2017
As collaborative biomedical research has increased in size and scope, so, too, has the need to facilitate the disparate work being done by investigators across institutional, geographic and, often, disciplinary boundaries. Yet we know little about what facilitation is on a day-to-day basis or what types of facilitation work contribute to the success of collaborative science. Here, we report on research investigating facilitation by examining the work of two coordinating centers (CCs), central bodies tasked with coordination and operations management of multi-site research. Based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, both CCs were run by the same team and part of National Cancer Institute-funded consortia engaged in what we call "Coordinated Collaborative Science." These CCs were charged with facilitating the collaborative work of their projects, with the aim of helping each cancer-epidemiology consortium achieve its scientific objective. This paper presents the results of a qualitative, interview-based study of the coordinating centers of two National Cancer Institute-funded consortia. Participants were observed in meetings and interviewed about their work in the consortium. A grounded-theory approach was used to analyze field notes and interview transcripts. We found that each CC engaged in four types of facilitation work: (a) structural work; (b) collaboration-development work; (c) operational work; and (d) data work. Managerial and scientific experience and expertise have been institutionalized in processes and procedures developed over decades of managing consortia. By applying collective decades of experience and expertise in the facilitation of collaborative work, the CC PIs and staff were able to provide the consortium with a neutral, third-party view of the project, keeping it on track toward its scientific objectives, and providing leadership and support when needed. The CCs also helped the consortia avoid some of the pitfalls of collaborative research that have been well documented in the literature on team science. As such, the CC saved research-site personnel time, effort, and money. Further research on the development of facilitation standards is crucial to the success of Coordinated Collaborative Science.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Cancer Institute (NCI) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington (Seattle)
Grant or Contract Numbers: R03CA150036