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Developing Your Career in an Age of Team Science
  1. Deborah Zucker, MD, PhD
  1. From the Tufts University, Boston, MA.
  1. Received January 4, 2012, and in revised form February 13, 2012.
  2. Accepted for publication February 14, 2012.
  3. Supported by a grant from the National Center for Research Resource/National Institutes of Health #R13 RR023236. The views expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of the National Center for Research Resource, American Federation for Medical Research, or any other institutions with which they are affiliated.
  4. Reprints: Deborah Zucker, MD, PhD, Tufts University, 800 Washington St, Box 63, Boston, MA 02111. E-mail: dzucker{at}


Academic institutions and researchers are becoming increasingly involved in translational research to spur innovation in addressing many complex biomedical and societal problems and in response to the focus of the National Institutes of Health and other funders. One approach to translational research is to develop interdisciplinary research teams. By bringing together collaborators with diverse research backgrounds and perspectives, these teams seek to blend their science and the workings of the scientists to push beyond the limits of current research.

While team science promises individual and team benefits in creating and implementing innovations, its increased complexity poses challenges. In particular, because academic career advancement commonly focuses on individual achievement, team science might differentially impact early stage researchers. The need to be recognized for individual accomplishments to move forward in an academic career may give rise to research team conflicts. Raising awareness to career-related aspects of team science will help individuals (particularly trainees and junior faculty) take steps to align their excitement and participation with the success of both the team and their personal career advancement.

Key Words
  • career development
  • team science
  • interdisciplinary research
  • translational research
  • conflict management

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