Stanford Research Development Office

Resources for Collaboration and Team Science

Multi-disciplinary, transdisciplinary, and interdisciplinary work has increasingly become standard in scientific fields and common in humanistic fields. To support this work, diverse disciplines studying such efforts, such as psychology, public health, management sciences, and communications are investigating and disseminating best practices for successful collaboration and "team science."

RDO has curated a variety of resources on the Science of Team Science (SciTS) to help both new and experienced researchers. Please note that while “team science” was developed with an eye toward leveraging the strengths, experience, and expertise of multidisciplinary teams to solve complex scientific problems, researchers across disciplines can learn from these approaches. In fact, fields without clear expectations or training around collaborative research can particularly benefit from cultivating an intentional approach toward collaborative efforts. (Most recent content update: July 15, 2021)

General Team Science Resources

The following offer a good starting point if you would like to enhance your collaborative team science processes and outcomes.

  • Collaboration & Team Science: A Field Guide – An RDO team favorite, this downloadable guide helps researchers from any field prepare for and work effectively as a member or leader of a research team. Includes illustrative examples, tips, tools, and tactics. Addresses topics including leadership dimensions; fostering trust and psychological safety among team members; engaging with difference and conflict; and recognizing, rewarding, and sharing credit for contributions.
  • Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science – A research-based approach to building and supporting teams from the National Academies. A free PDF version is available, as well as a report brief.
  • Science of Team Science (SciTS) Resources – Selected references, training materials, tools, and communication channels relating to Science of Team Science as a field of study in the social sciences.
  • NIAID’s Build Your Team – A guide to deciding when and how to build a team, and how to help team members work together most effectively (relevant to collaborations outside of typical NIH-funded fields).
  • NIH Division of Cancer Control & Population Sciences Team Science Toolkit – A collection of resources and information to support the practice and study of team science. The Team Science Toolkit also offers a knowledge-sharing forum to help team science initiatives achieve maximum effectiveness. (Currently undergoing maintenance; check back soon.)

Leadership and Management Tools

These resources are especially helpful for team and center leaders who want to explore best practices in management and leadership. The tools provided can also inform the development of Management and Collaboration plans for proposals.

Personality Typologies and Assessments

In addition to providing a dose of fun and team bonding opportunities, personality assessments can offer valuable insights into why team members feel and act the way they do. Consider one of these for a kick-off meeting or annual retreat. Please note that the personality assessments listed below may require fees for the instrument, event facilitation, or other costs. Any additional costs are to be borne by PIs.

  • 16 Personalities – Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality assessment, this website offers free individual personality profiles, fee-based Team assessments and workshops, and a variety of resources to understand possible implications of personality type.
  • The Kirton Adaptation-Innovation Inventory – The Kirton Adaptation-Innovation (KAI) inventory measures style of problem solving and creativity. It is available in an online and paper version, and can be used to train managers and members of diverse teams, as well as help improve team cohesion and effectiveness.
  • CliftonStrengths – A popular team-building activity, we especially like how the Strengths Finder gives shared language for articulating individual strengths, contribution styles, and input preferences.
  • DiSC - The DiSC model and assessment helps raise self-awareness, improve teamwork, and identify productive ways to address the conflict that inevitably comes up in team collaboration. 

Team and Group Development Models 

These resources can help managers and team members navigate the challenges associated with new and evolving teams. The models described may also be useful in writing progress reports on funded projects, and may support conversations with advisory committee members who are experts in team collaboration.

  • Using the Stages of Team Development – An explanation of Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development framework: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing (and Termination/Ending, also known as Adjourning). We loved this resource so much that we are willing to link to our colleagues at MIT!
  • Understanding the continuum of change & engagement – An extension of the Tuckman model as it applies to managing changes and disruptions in team functioning.

Team Science Training Programs

For more in-depth information, we recommend these more comprehensive Team Science training programs and self-study modules.