- Supervisors & managers
- Leadership development for principal investigators
- Managing people
- Research team
This section explores strategies for successfully forming a team and understanding individual difference in relation to team roles and team development. It addresses the team element of Adair's leadership model but has close links with the individuals, yourself (the PI) and project management sections.
What is a research team?
The phrase ‘research team' is widely used, and misused in academia, meaning different things in different contexts. What constitutes a research team in one department or institution might be described as a research group, research centre, research unit or research institute elsewhere. Regardless of the terminology used, the key characteristic of a research team is that it comprises people working together in a committed way towards a common research goal.
Research team diversity
There are many different configurations of research teams in academia and boundaries can be 'fuzzy'. They may variously comprise co-investigators, fractional or pooled staff, technical and clerical staff and postgraduate research students. There may also be inter- and intra-institutional dimensions and increasingly international ones; some team members' contributions may well be largely virtual, via email, phone or videoconference.
Also, team members may have different disciplinary backgrounds, different motivations and aspirations, and different cultural backgrounds. Over time, team members' roles may change from being core (fully dedicated to the research goal) to peripheral (committed to this research goal, but also working in one or more other teams), and vice-versa.
It may be helpful to note the potential impact (positive and/or negative) that these individual differences might have on the operation of the research team.
How might the positives be encouraged, and the negatives be addressed?
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