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Assessing Collaborative Interactions within a COBRE Funded Research Center

Gwen C. Marchanda, Kristine M. Bragga & Jonathan C. Hilpertb

aUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas

bGeorgia Southern University

Background and Objective

Effective assessment of multidisciplinary collaborative research efforts requires strategies to determine how well collaborative research teams function to provide research support and meet goals. Formative and summative evaluation strategies of the COBRE funded Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience (CNTN) measure activities related to the Cores, Projects, and career advancement of the junior investigators. This presentation focuses on two of the major elements of the grant: mentoring relationships and human capital development for sustainable collaborative science.

Methods

Mentors and mentees were given baseline assessment interviews followed by annual end-of-year mentoring surveys.  Mentoring relationships were assessed on skill development, communication styles, networking interactions, and personal characteristics.

Social network analyses (SNA) addressed collaboration effectiveness on scholarly productivity and team functioning over time. Data sources were annual publication data for 12 identified key personnel and an annual CNTN census survey.

Results

The mentoring assessment outcomes indicate that mentors have provided expert guidance on research development to their mentees and helped their mentees expand their collaborative research networks. SNA results suggest that 1) CNTN members have become more collaborative and productive over time, and 2) the work of the CNTN is distributed across the entire team with success of the collaborative resting on both scholarly and support relationships.         

Discussion and Conclusions

These findings represent early evidence for collaborative outcomes supported by the COBRE grant.

The project described was supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institute of Health under Grant #P20GM109025.