“The scale and complexity of today’s … research problems increasingly demand that scientists move beyond the confines of their own discipline and explore new organizational models for team science.... Many scientists will still continue to pursue individual research projects, but they too will be encouraged to make changes in the way they approach the scientific enterprise.”
- National Institutes of Health Roadmap for Research


A lone researcher struggling to answer the “big question” in his or her discipline tends to be the exception in academia these days. Researchers in many fields prefer to work with others in and out of their areas, in order to obtain complementary expertise, save time, or decrease expenses. Other investigators enjoy collaborations with researchers in differing subjects as a way of finding innovative approaches to solving problems. Multiple factors are contributing to this increase in collaborations. Technology, such as e-mail, favors communication across countries and nations. Further, private and federal funding sources encourage collaborative and multidisciplinary projects. Also, federal law, such as the Bayh-Dole Act, promotes the commercialization of patentable technologies developed at universities, thus allowing relationships between academia and industry to grow. Although collaborative and multidisciplinary research is flourishing, problems do arise. This educational module examines the benefits and potential problems that researchers face when engaging in collaborative and multidisciplinary research. Review Learning Objectives

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