Advancing Translational Research by Enabling Collaborative Teamwork: The TRACT Approach

Nedal H. Arar, Divya Nandamudi


Background: The work of multidisciplinary research teams (MDRTs) is vital for translational research. The objectives of this study were 1) to understand the structure and function of MDRTs, and 2) to develop effective strategies to enhance collaboration among team members. Methods and Findings: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 participants involved in multidisiplinary research work at two San Antonio, Texas, institutions. Interview materials were tape-recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed using qualitative methods.

Themes that emerged from the content analysis were used to develop and refine strategies to enhance the work of MDRTs. The findings showed that MDRTs operate through multiple cycles of: 1) team formation, 2) team collaboration, 3) sustainable collaborative activities, and 4) team maturity. Content analysis identified four interrelated basic elements within the MDRT tract that facilitate team cycles: 1) shared interest/vision among agreeable team leader and members, 2) viable means of communication, 3) available resources, and 4) perceived gain/benefit of teamwork.

Conclusions: Our findings highlighted several opportunities and challenges in the formation, dynamics, and growth of MDRTs. Effective strategies to enhance teamwork should levearge these opportunities and address challenges, taking into consideration the interdependent aspects of the basic elements within the MDRTs tract.


Multidisciplinary research teams; Translational research; Team science; Qualitative; TRACT

Full Text: