Request for Information (RFI): Approaches for Supporting Team Science in the Biomedical Research Community

Notice Number: NOT-GM-16-107

Key Dates
Release Date: May 4, 2016
Response Date: June 17, 2016 

Related Announcements
NOT-GM-16-104

Issued by
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)

Purpose

This Notice supersedes NOT-GM-16-104; the only change is to provide the additional option of anonymous response via a web form. The option to respond via email (at the address listed below and in the previous Notice) remains available.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) seeks input on team-based scientific research and the manner in which this activity could be supported by the Institute. This Request for Information (RFI) will assist NIGMS in considering needs and opportunities in team science at the multi-investigator, institutional, regional and national level. Comments are invited from any interested party.

Background

NIGMS supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The Institute also supports research in certain clinical areas, primarily those that affect multiple organ systems. In support of the objectives of the NIGMS 2015-2020 strategic plan, the Institute is examining the benefits and challenges of team science and is considering how best to support this mode of scientific research. For the purposes of this RFI, team science and team-based research are defined as research that involves multiple investigators to answer questions that cannot be answered by either a single investigator and his/her individual laboratory or by a group of closely collaborative investigators supported on a multi-PI R01 grant.  Team science allows for a level of collaboration that has the potential to achieve scientific breakthroughs or new understandings of phenomena that would not be attainable either by an individual or by simply additive efforts of two or more scientists.

Information Requested

NIGMS invites all interested parties including the general public to provide input on topics listed below related to the support of team science. Respondents may address one or more items and do not have to address all items to submit a response to this RFI.

1. Interest in team science
Comment on the appropriateness and usefulness of team-based research to address particular areas of biomedical science. This may include comments on the relative importance of team science in your field and your own experiences with team science.

2. Management and advisory structures in team science
Comment on the types of management structures within a project that would enable an effective team science program.  This may include the organizational structure, leadership models, and use of advisory boards or external review groups. Comments on challenges and solutions for issues such as the training needed for effective team science leadership, approaches for maintaining communication within and between teams, and strategies for maintaining team effectiveness are welcome.

3. Team composition
This may include comments on recruiting team members, the importance of training students or mentoring junior PIs involved in team science, the value of diversity in team science, and the challenges of recognizing individual efforts on team-based research within a university or research institute setting.

4. Resources and infrastructure
Comment on the resources and infrastructure that are needed to support team science, including teams consisting of groups from multiple institutions. This may include comments on technical and administrative cores, both those currently available at your institution and those that would need to be established to support team science.

5. Assessment of team science
This may include factors that should be considered in the peer review of team science-based grant applications, the value of interim reviews during the funding period, the importance of outreach activities, and the appropriate quantitative and qualitative measures of the success and impact of team science.

6. Comments on past or current NIGMS team-based programs and funding mechanisms
Comments are welcome on the advantages or disadvantages of programs and grant mechanisms such as the National Centers for Systems Biology (P50), Centers for Injury and Peri-Operative Research (P50), Centers for HIV/AIDS-Related Structural Biology (P50), COBRE Centers (P20), Glue Grants (U54), the Protein Structure Initiative (U54), and Program Projects (P01).

7. Other issues
Please feel free to offer comments on any other issues pertaining to the advantages and disadvantages of conducting or supporting team science.

How to Submit a Response

Responses to this RFI will be accepted through June 17, 2016. Two options are available. 1) Comments may be submitted via email as text or as an attached electronic document. Microsoft Word documents are preferred. Your responses should be addressed to: TeamScience@mail.nih.gov. 2) Comments may be submitted anonymously via a web form at https://www.research.net/r/Team_Science.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. The Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information provided and respondents will not receive individualized feedback. This RFI is for planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the United States Government. NIGMS will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. NIGMS does not intend to make any type of award based on responses to this RFI or to pay for either the preparation of information submitted or the United States Government’s use of such information.

The information submitted will be analyzed and may be shared internally, appear in reports or be reflected in future solicitations, as appropriate and at the Government’s discretion. Proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should not be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s) or other activities. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government's use of such information.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Susan R. Haynes, Ph.D.
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Telephone: 301-594-0943
Email: TeamScience@mail.nih.gov