• Management of large interdisciplinary team science projects: a multi-methods approach to examining competencies

      Veazey, Alice Danielson; Monahan, John; Cahill, Catherine; Daniel, Mary Jo; Taylor, Karen (2017-05)
      Over the past fifty years, the world has experienced a significant increase in the scale and complexity of scientific research that is focused on society's most important issues. This type of research requires a team approach from people with diverse skill sets working together across multiple disciplines, and that trend is reflected in a significant rise in collaborative research. "Team science" is the focus of research efforts intent on better understanding the challenges and maximizing the effectiveness of collaborative research. Projects that involve large teams of scientists require a thoughtful and planned approach to leadership and management in order to achieve the stated goals and outcomes. The science community has recognized that in order to run effective team science projects, people must identify the knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and beliefs that define the competency set for large-scale team science leadership and management. This study used a mixed-methods approach to obtain both quantitative and qualitative data through group concept mapping to develop a concept map of the competencies required to lead and manage large, interdisciplinary team science programs. These results were then used as a lens to examine the competencies identified through the content analysis of hiring documents for positions related to a broad spectrum of team science efforts. Expert team science managers defined a list of five critical competencies: project management, shared leadership, personal competence, social competence and communication. Analysis revealed that hiring practices do not identify these skill sets in position descriptions and announcements, typically focusing on project management and communication and neglecting the remaining three competencies. In order to hire people capable of managing large science teams, hiring practices, training programs and career tracks must be developed and align with these core competencies.