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Office of Research Development and Education

Office of Research Development and Education

Research Collaboration

Best Practices


​Many of today's evolving research areas require expertise in multiple disciplines. Large funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation strongly encourage cross-disciplinary efforts as do smaller federal and non-federal sponsors. Collaborators may be colleagues within the same institution, other academic institutions, industry, non-profit organizations, government agencies, foreign entities and other organizations.

Research collaborations can provide great benefits along with challenges. Helpful collaboration tools are presented below. As ORDE identifies additional tools, we will make them available to the University Research Community.




 Books Focused on Research Collaboration

Research Guidebook: A Guide for Successful Institutional-Industrial Collaborations (University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, 2012)
This Guidebook addresses opportunities and challenges inherent to collaborations from both the academic and industrial partner perspectives.

Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide (L. Michelle Bennett, Howard Gadlin and Samantha Levine-Finley, National Institutes of Health, 2010)
This helpful guide, written by long-time employees of NIH, talks about how to build an effective research team, develop a shared vision, communicate and share credit. The authors provide a collaborative agreement template.


 Articles Focused on Research Collaboration

Dear Doc: Advice for Collaborators (Howard Gadlin and L. Michelle Bennett, Translational Behavioral Medicine, December 2012)
This essay is a product of two NIH employees who drew together advice articles written by an anonymous scientist. Name or no name, the advice is priceless both in content and humor. Topics covered include collaboration, conflict management, diversity, power, tenure process, change management and successful lab team tips.

How to Collaborate (Sharon Ann Holgate, Science, July 20, 2012)
This article gives specific advice on maintaining positive collaborative relationships from the viewpoint of researchers.

With All Good Intentions (Heidi Ledford, Nature, April 10, 2008)
The author discusses a specific, very public collaborative dispute and then explores how best to avoid problems and build effective collaborative relationships. A helpful checklist of 10 questions researchers should ask at the earliest stages of collaborative work is included.


 Tips for NIH Multiple PI Plans

NIAID Multiple PI Leadership Plan Tips

You and your colleague have determined you will be submitting an application to the National Institutes of Health and that the collaborative effort will be best managed as a Multiple PI project. Once that decision is made, another section of the NIH application is necessary - the Multiple PI Leadership Plan. How will you effectively manage this project under the Multiple PI strategy? ​The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recently released helpful Tips on what should be included in that Leadership Plan to answer any and all questions reviewers may have about your project management.

NIH Multiple PI Success Rates

Dr. Sally Rockey recently discussed success rates for traditional vs. Multiple PI applications from 2010-2013. There are many variables to take into account when making such decisions but it doesn't appear success rates will be a deciding factor. See the full article, How Do Multi-PI Applications Fare?, for details.  


 Other Collaboration Tools

Colorado PROFILES Website
The Colorado Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) has developed Colorado PROFILES to facilitate research collaborations, identify experts or potential mentors and easily network with other faculty in your area of expertise or complimentary areas. All faculty on both the Denver and Anschutz Medical Campuses are encouraged to participate. This resource may also be used to locate collaborators across the country.

NCI Team Science Toolkit
The National Cancer Institute houses a user-led website effort to identify resources to help researchers build better cross-disciplinary collaborations.

NIH 3D Print Exchange for Researchers
The National Institutes of Health has released a public website allowing users to share, download and edit 3D print files related to health and science. Known as the 3D Print Exchange, this site also features video tutorials for new users, a discussion forum to promote collaboration and tools to convert scientific and clinical data to ready-to-print 3D files.


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