Commentary: Team Science

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Abstract

A revolution in biomedical science is under way, and participation demands the successful integration of new technologies and concepts drawn from many fields, including but not limited to the biologic sciences, the physical sciences, and engineering. This integration, often called team, or interdisciplinary, science, is easy to conceive but surprisingly hard to achieve. The authors reflect on the emerging ways teams assemble, confront institutional and cultural barriers, and integrate trainees. They focus in particular on the article by Ravid and colleagues in this issue of Academic Medicine, which describes three years of their institution’s successful experiment to foster interdisciplinary science.

The authors acknowledge the impressive outcomes of this experiment but state that the research community should be thinking down the road of ways to evaluate whether the output from team-based science actually has more impact in changing paradigms and opening up new avenues of research; whether more risk-taking science is being performed when science is team based; whether there are fundamental implications for the organization of academic health systems, schools, and departments; what the implications are for training our students; and what the short- and long-term implications are for investigator reward and development.

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