Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Creating an interdisciplinary research team using the R13 mechanism

As lines between many fields become more blurred, it is becoming more important to include interdisciplinary teams of researchers on grant proposals. Having a variety of perspectives and backgrounds included not only enhances your proposal, but also contributes to your research in important ways. For example, your background in psychology might cause you to look at various external factors shaping a particular type of behavior, while a neuroscientist may look at the factors in the brain related to this behavior, and a geneticist may look at inherited genes related to the behavior. All of these perspectives are important, and together can help to create a project that is able to examine many factors contributing to the particular behavior. In other words, creating a multidisciplinary team allows you to look at the same problem in ways you may never have imagined. Working together allows for exchange of ideas, intellectual debate, and unified theories that are useful across disciplines.

So, now that you understand that this is important, consider ways that you may be able to reach outside of your comfort zone and begin to work with scientists in related but different fields. One way that you might begin to engage in discussions and work toward applying for funding for joint research projects is to set up meetings. NIH recently released an RFA that will fund this type of meeting. The RFA-CA-10-017 uses the R13 mechanism to fund scientific meetings that are designed to build collaborations between researchers in basic behavioral and social science research. The grants are capped at $50,000 in direct costs per year for a maximum of 2 years. Not a researcher in the social and behavioral sciences? Don't worry, PA-10-016 also includes researchers in the life and physical sciences, as well as behavioral and social sciences researchers. This opportunity has a budget cap of $25,000 in direct costs per year for a maximum of 2 years.

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