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Tuesday, July 26 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
L11 – Catalyzing Team Science: How to Forge a Team to Attack Complex Problems

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Ronald Margolis

Abstract: Complex problems, particularly in the life and natural sciences, are characterized by increasingly complex and technically challenging approaches. Often it takes a cross- or trans-disciplinary approach to first understand and then solve such problems. To do so, teams of investigators drawn from several disciplines must come together to bring their separate, and sometimes overlapping, expertise to bear on the problem.

One challenge is to assemble teams from all levels of the academy, from trainees (undergraduate and graduate students) and junior faculty, to the most senior members of a department or discipline. Melding these differing levels of experience, expertise, and working knowledge of the necessary technologies and approaches to form a cohesive team is a task for a core group of organizers who are able to manage disparate personalities and career paths. Understanding the needs of junior versus senior members of such a team involves questions of allocation of credit, openness to ideas from all contributors, and willingness to sometimes push the envelope.

The rewards both for the participants and for the field as a whole can lead to outcomes with broad impact as movement is made toward solving the initial complex problem. Catalyzing a team’s efforts toward the common goal is not easy, but the results can lead to expanded opportunities for team members as they interact with new collaborators and ideas.

This course will explore the concept of a team approach to solving a complex problem and help participants to see both how they might fit into such a concept and how they might seek to initiate a team science approach to a complex and unfulfilled problem.

Activities will include finding and focusing on a complex problem; identifying the expertise needed to address the problem and whether and which disciplines may be needed; and deciding how to identify, recruit, and meld a team of investigators, as well as how to organize the team around the goals set for addressing the problem. The final steps will include how the team can report out its findings.

Audience: Researchers, librarians, faculty/scholars, publishers, and administrators. The instructor’s background is in the natural sciences, though the concepts embodied in the course outline would apply to the physical sciences as well.

Tuesday, July 26
Wednesday, July 27
Thursday, July 28


Ronald Margolis

Visiting Scholar, UCSD School of Medicine

Tuesday July 26, 2022 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
L11 Zoom room