Deputy Director's Message: Developing Team Science

Big science wins often develop in the background of collaborative teams consisting of laboratories with diverse but complementary research expertise and interests. Among the advantages of developing teams with common scientific goals, is a synergism that arises from unique perspectives. As a result of this synergism, scientific teams make high impact discoveries and develop resources that create a cohesive scientific community. 

While the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) has always maintained a strong emphasis on nurturing team science, we hope to actively engage and develop more teams around common scientific themes. As part of our Annual Retreat, this year, our program breakouts will focus on identification of scientific themes that cut across multiple programs; themes wherein 3-4 laboratories have common research interests and goals that would best be served by a team approach. Your active engagement and feedback during program breakouts is needed to stimulate the best science, help shape projects and ensure they are competitive at a national level.

While the merit of this approach is widely appreciated, the mechanisms for funding teams (P-grants; P01 or SPORE) have been limited by available funds from NIH/NCI for the past decade. This issue is now being addressed and it is expected that NCI will increase the available funding for the P-grant mechanism to stimulate the development of high impact teams.  The Case CCC is poised to be at the leading edge of this effort.

I hope to see you all at the retreat. Please register to attend if you haven't already.

J. Alan Diehl, PhD
Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer