Inter-Campus Research Collaboration: Challenges and Best Practices
Johns Hopkins University
While much literature exists about how to collaborate across differing sites and teams, there is a lack of research into how research is conducted across different campuses of the same institution. This type of collaboration is called an inter-campus collaboration. The idea for this project came out of a research study currently being conducted at the University of New Mexico (UNM) between two departments on different campuses. The coordinator of this study has noted a litany of issues during the implementation of this project including incompatibility among e-mail platforms, issues with IT permissions, lack of research skills and differences in management style. Research administrators from around the country responded to the Inter-campus Research Collaboration Survey and the Revised Partnership Self-Assessment Tool (RPSAT) to identify challenges and attitudes surrounding inter-campus collaboration. It was found that the top five most commonly identified challenges surrounding inter-campus research collaboration were as follows: 1. Different attitudes/values surrounding research; 2. Different priorities in regards to the research project; 3. Different accounting practices; 4. Lack of relationship with investigator/team members from other campus; 5. Difficulty coordinating schedules. Attitudes towards inter-campus research collaborations were neutral, if not positive, for most domains in the RPSAT. This means that in general, these types of collaborations are viewed in a more positive than negative way. The main recommendation for improving the quality of inter-campus research collaborations is communication. Don’t assume anything, even if the departments are housed under the same institution. Both partners need to actively talk about project goals, administration, and leadership for this type of collaboration to really flourish.