Academic research in health care is a challenging endeavor involving two intertwined forms of complexity. On the one hand, research is understood as projects and are organized as such: they are temporary and go through many phases. Each project has an abstract and difficult-to-define end goal consisting of “discovery” and “knowledge advancement” – even when topics are more or less applied. As if this is not challenging enough, research programs must articulate several projects over time. In addition, academics are not only involved in managing their own program, they also take part in projects involving others’ program. This makes time management challenging. On the other hand, research is usually complex enough to require experts organized in teams. Interestingly, academics are trained as individual contributors. Collaboration within teams is far from simple. Team members vary in mastery as graduate students must be trained as well as contribute to projects. Teams are often made up of academics from different fields, background and training. This requires constant “translation” across “knowledge silos”. Another issue is the need for research teams to include multiple stakeholders other than scientists. “Users” such as patients, community members or advocacy groups are now part of the equation. One last element adding to collaborative complexity has to do with roles. Roles include but not limited to “principal investigator”, “co-principal investigator” and “collaborator”. However, these roles are not necessarily well defined, the responsibilities they incur vary over time in a single project and are inconsistent across projects. While academics are aware of these difficulties, most feel ill-equipped to manage them which severely hinders the successful completion of research projects. This presentation aims at combining extant literature on teams and project management to outline ways to manage research projects and the “human” factors involved.
After the workshop and discussion, participants will
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