The Interdisciplinary Research (IR) Program is one of eight National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund initiatives developed to overcome barriers to medical research that are inherent in single discipline approaches. The broad goal of the IR program is to change academic research culture to facilitate interdisciplinary approaches that dissolve academic department boundaries within academic institutions, increase cooperation between institutions, train scientists to cultivate interdisciplinary efforts, and build bridges between the biological sciences and the behavioral and social sciences. The Interdisciplinary Research Consortium (IDRC) program is one of four components funded under the IR program. This study was conducted as a mid-course evaluation of the program to examine consortia management structure and management issues at the project and program level, leadership qualities, and the experiences of investigators and post-doctoral trainees.
Most participants rated the IDRC program positively. Investigators rated team leadership favorably with the most positive ratings being observed for supporting innovative projects. They also reported positive perceptions of the team science climate at their consortium. Trainees strongly agreed that the IDRC program exposed them to new scientific approaches and paradigms and that the program was a better way to explore a biomedical problem than single discipline research. Most Program Officers thought the program was a novel and innovative approach to solving complex problems and agreed that the scope and scale of such projects would not be possible without cross-institute collaboration and the use of Common Fund resources.
Report Title: Facilitating and Experiencing Interdisciplinarity in Biomedical Research (Mid-course Evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Research Consortium Program: an NIH Common Fund Program)
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Rosanna Ng, 301-496-5367
Performer: Abt Associates Inc.
Record ID: 9496 (Report issued August 31, 2011)