Building Bridges: Skills and Strategies to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Research Teams

Building Bridges: Skills and Strategies to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Research Teams


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Interdisciplinary research yields more significant results. Do you have the essential skills to effectively further these projects on your campus?

Interdisciplinary research (IDR) is the future of academic research; it builds bridges between diverse ideas and methodologies, provides a competitive edge for external funding, and delivers high-impact findings.

However, this unique work presents a special set of challenges for everyone involved. Differences in expectations and culture across disciplines and team members can lead to conflict and misunderstanding. As a research developer, you are a leader and a coach for interdisciplinary teams; you need extensive communication, leadership, and teamwork skills to work across disciplines and achieve mutually-agreeable outcomes.

Join us for this unique learning experience to expand your leadership skill set and learn how to build, facilitate, and fund interdisciplinary research at your institution. Through a series of practical and interactive sessions you’ll dive deep into how to:

  • Adopt effective communication strategies to break down silos
  • Use seed funding to propel IDR
  • Engage underrepresented groups
  • Coach faculty to write effective strategic grant proposals
  • Gather metrics, evaluate projects, and celebrate successes

During this workshop, there will be ample time provided to network with your peers from across the country, who are engaged in the same work as you are. You will leave the program with increased confidence to facilitate successful interdisciplinary research teams at your institution.


Who Should Attend

This workshop is designed for research development leaders and professionals who are in charge of facilitating interdisciplinary research at their institution.

Bring your team and save!

Save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.


Follow Through With Success Coaching

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  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed.
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you’ve learned.
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice.

To learn more, contact Patricia Sandler at or purchase the Premium Pass with success coaching below.


Day 1


The Landscape of Interdisciplinary Research: Challenges, Benefits, and Considerations

What is the current state of interdisciplinary research (IDR) in higher education? What challenges and benefits accompany interdisciplinary research? Where does it have the most potential? This session will help ground us in the current state of IDR in higher education and explore examples of IDR research projects that have had far reaching success.  



Building Interdisciplinary Communication Across Your Institution

Getting the word out and igniting interest in interdisciplinary research opportunities is a beneficial place to start, but breaking down silos and communicating across disciplines can be challenging. During our discussion, you will explore your role as communicator and connector. This session will also include programming and event-planning strategies.



Networking Reception


Day 2


Using Different Levels of Seed Funding to Accelerate Interdisciplinary Research

One way to advance interdisciplinary research is to use seed funding mechanisms. We will discuss a variety of ways you can use any budget to foster interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty. We will also cover strategies for sustaining teams once they have secured seed funding.



Interdisciplinary Competencies

Before starting an interdisciplinary research projects, your team must be aware of key differences in discipline norms, how research is conducted and how success is measured. Due to the way higher education is structured with departments and disciplines, people do not get regular exposure to other disciplines unless they actively seek them out. We will dive into interdisciplinary competency and hone in on ways to share a common language and goals across disciplines.



Engaging Underrepresented Groups in Research

Besides engaging faculty from across disciplines, it’s also crucial to engage intercultural and diverse teams. In this session, we will discuss how to get underrepresented groups involved  in order to vary the perspectives and broaden the valuable contributions of the group.



Leadership Principles for Cultivating Interdisciplinary Research: Collaboration and Communication

Research developers often act as leader and coach to groups of faculty. This interactive leadership session will include working time to practice creating a shared vision, removing barriers, setting up collaborative spaces, and building consensus and trust.



Leadership Principles for Cultivating Interdisciplinary Research: Managing and Removing Barriers

This second interactive session will explore more specific components of coaching and leadership including project management, conflict management, change management, and coaching faculty to be principal investigators.


Day 3


Securing Funding: How to Write Strategic Grant Proposals

How can we coach faculty to write strategic grant proposals that highlight the core purpose of their research? This is not your average grant proposal writing session; our speakers will help you coach faculty to describe their goals and secure funding for their interdisciplinary projects.  



Evaluating Research Outcomes and Celebrating Successes

Many time, evaluation and celebration is a forgotten stage of any major project. Closing the loop is another leadership skill that is easily unattended. After this closing session, you’ll better understand how to gather metrics, evaluate the project, and celebrate successes, further bolstering interdisciplinary research interest at your institution.  



Nathan Blouin

Director, Office of Research Development, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Nathan has over 10 years of experience in Research Development and pre-award Sponsored Research Administration. In his current role, he constantly looks for new ways to support the research mission of the university. Nathan has also supported dozens of successful large scale proposal efforts, across a number of federal, state, and private grant-making agencies.

Read Nathan's full bio here.


Melissa Edwards

Executive Director of Strategic Research Communications, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

In her current role, Melissa leads strategic communications activities for the Office of the Vice Chancellor. She works to connect the scholarly community with resources to conduct research, find collaborators, identify funding opportunities, develop and submit proposals, publicize awards, and share the impact of their discoveries.

Read Melissa's full bio here.


Dr. Howard Gadlin

Former Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Gadlin is studying the dynamics of scientific teams and collaborations and developing new approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists.He has designed and conducted training programs internationally on dispute resolution, sexual harassment, and multicultural conflict.

Read Howard's full bio here.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Brittany Iwaszkiw

Brittany Iwaszkiw
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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