Paper accepted to #SciTS2021!

Sharing a great news – We have a paper accepted to The 12th Annual International Science of Team Science (SciTS) Conference! Congrats to authors Alina Lungeanu, Neelam Modi, Piyush Premchand Kalkute, Leslie DeChurch, and Noshir Contractor.

The conference is virtual and will be live 7-11 June. More information about the conference can be found here.

Please find the title, abstract and citation of the paper below:

Title:Hard to recruit but worth trying: Searching for cross-boundary collaborations in clinical and translational science


Research examining collaboration that produced the greatest scientific breakthroughs highlights boundary-crossing collaboration. By boundaries, we mean disciplines, organizations, cultures, professions, and demographics. Although collaboration has long been important in science, the rapid specialization of knowledge across domains is making collaboration essential. This is especially true in biomedical research.

The National Institutes of Health makes substantial investments to encourage cross-boundary team science in biomedicine. This research project focuses on an exemplar support mechanism, the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program. The CTSA Program is designed to facilitate collaborations between the (laboratory) bench and the (clinical) bedside. In particular, the CTSA’s Pilot Grant program, which provides seed funding to hundreds of teams each year, seeks to incentivize new cross-boundary teams that bring together basic scientists and clinical researchers, junior faculty and experienced mentors, and researchers from different departments or institutions.

 While cross-boundary collaboration in team science has demonstrated benefits, research also suggests they are unlikely to form, and when they do, are prone to coordination costs. Our study seeks to advance the Science of Team Science by understanding the assembly of cross-boundary teams who conduct clinical and translational science. We leverage both social network theories and research on teams to answer two research questions: (1) Do funding investments shift team composition in favor of cross-boundary collaboration? and (2) Which cross-boundary combinations are the most effective?

In this study, we use archival data about researchers submitting proposals to one Midwestern University CTSA’s program between the years of 2014 and 2019. We examine 217 proposal submissions, of which 38 were awarded. This results in 369 researchers listed as investigators on proposals, of whom 302 did not have their proposals awarded, 15 had both awarded and un-awarded proposals, and 53 had awarded proposals. We extract demographics, education and employment information, and department affiliation from the university’s internal database. Additionally, we use publication data from the Web of Science database to construct bibliometric information for the entire population of researchers who submitted grant proposals.

 We use Exponential Random Graph Models to assess factors influencing the assembly and success of grant proposal teams. Preliminary results show that in general cross-boundary collaboration are not likely among teams submitting proposals, but cross-disciplinary collaborations are more likely among the team proposals that were successful. Thus, even though cross-boundary collaboration is widely promoted, researchers are more likely to consort within their own demographics. However, in order to be successful, scientists would benefit by collaborating with different disciplines.


Lungeanu, A., Modi, N., Kalkute, P. P., DeChurch, L. A., & Contractor, N. S. Hard to recruit but worth trying: Searching for cross-boundary collaboration in clinical and translational science. Accepted at the 2021 SciTS Conference. 

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