Introduction: Optimizing the effectiveness of a team-based approach to unite multiple disciplines in advancing specific translational areas of research is foundational to improving clinical practice. The current study was undertaken to examine investigators' experiences of participation in transdisciplinary team science initiatives, with a focus on challenges and recommendations for improving effectiveness. Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with investigators from twelve multidisciplinary teams awarded pilot research funding by the University of Kentucky College of Medicine to better understand the barriers and facilitators to effective team science within an academic medical center. An experienced qualitative researcher facilitated one-on-one interviews, which lasted about one hour. Structured consensus coding and thematic analysis were conducted. Results: The sample was balanced by gender, career stage (five were assistant professor at the time of the award, seven were senior faculty), and training (six were PhDs; six were MD physicians). Key themes at the team-level centered on the tension between clinical commitments and research pursuits and the limitations for effective team functioning. Access to tangible support from home departments and key university centers was identified as a critical organizational facilitator of successful project completion. Organizational barriers centered on operationalizing protected time for physicians, gaps in effective mentoring, and limitations in operational support. Conclusions: Prioritizing tailored mentoring and career development support for early career faculty, and particularly physician faculty, emerged as a key recommendation for improving team science in academic medical centers. The findings contribute to establishing best practices and policies for team science in academic medical centers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 23 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Association for Clinical and Translational Science.


  • Team science
  • career development
  • physician scientist
  • pilot programs
  • program evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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