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Collaboration Resources

The RAC aims to build teams’ collaborative capacities. The below resources represent a selection of tools and models we’ve found to be useful.

Equitable Collaborations

Bringing an EDI Lens to Research

Title: Guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research

Source: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Description: This webpage provides guidance on how to apply a critical EDI lens through the planning of research at each stage of the process and for building and maintaining a high-performing diverse team. It also includes a list of resources, references, and a glossary.

Type and Length: Guide | ~ 24 pages


Title: Why Am I Always Being Researched? 

Source: Chicago Beyond

Description: Chicago Beyond, an impact investor group, created this guidebook to help shift the power dynamic and the way community organizations, researchers, and funders uncover knowledge together. It is an equity-based approach to research that offers one way in which we can restore communities as authors and owners.

Type and Length: Guide | 112 pages | Pages 30-105 are subdivided for different readers: community orgs, researchers, and funders

Power, Positionality, and Bias

Title: Risk and Equity Matrix

Source: MIT Gov/Lab

Description: The objective of the matrix is to ensure that risks and benefits of research collaborations are distributed in a more equitable manner.

Type and Length: Guide + Tool | 23 pages


Title: Understanding researcher positionality using the insider-outsider continuum

Source: Pedersen & Nikulina | i2Insights

Description: Presents an insider-outsider continuum that provides language for researchers to talk about positionality. They explain six different positionalities researchers can have.

Type and Length: Blog post| ~ 4 pages


Title: Implicit Bias Project

Source: Project Implicit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and collaborative of researchers

Description: The mission of Project Implicit is to educate the public about bias and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the internet. Project Implicit scientists produce high-impact research that forms the basis of our scientific knowledge about bias and disparities.

Type and Length: Tests | Each test can take several minutes to complete.

Team Building

Developing Healthy Team Dynamics

Title: Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide

Source: L. Michelle Bennett, Howard Gadlin, Christophe Marchand | HHS & NIH

Description: Why do some research teams achieve a state of high functioning while others do not? What factors maximize a research team’s productivity or effectiveness? How can research teams best be recognized, reviewed, and rewarded? This field guide was developed to help answer these and other questions. It can be read in any order.

Type and Length: Guide | 139 pages | Each of the 13 modules stands alone and is subdivided into small sections (1-3pp) that can be used individually.


Title: How to have difficult conversations: A practical guide for academic & practitioner research collabs

Source: MIT Gov/Lab

Description: The guide is structured in a series of questions meant to clarify priorities and spell out assumptions. Each section includes questions that both partners should consider together, with specific lists aimed at academics and practitioners.

Type and Length: Guide | 26 pages


Title: Collaboration Dialogue Tool

Source: L. Michelle Bennett, Edgar Cardenas and Michael O’Rourke (Toolbox Dialogue Initiative)

Description: This series of reflective questions is intended to facilitate dialogue about shared rules of collaboration and to open pathways for anticipating, identifying, and addressing obstacles as they arise. It is a generic version of one originally developed for the NSF Convergence Accelerator Program. The process is based on that used by the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative.

Type and Length: Guide + Prompts | 20 pages

Conflict Approaches

Title: Conflict in your research group? Here are four strategies for finding a resolution

Source: Science

Description: This article is focused on conflicts in university labs. The four strategies are as follows: Assume Good Intentions, Listen Carefully, Assess Severity, and Be Open to Change.

Type and Length: Article | ~ 3 pages


Title: Dealing with differences in interests through principled negotiation

Source: i2Insights

Description: This article is focused on principled negotiation, also known as negotiation on the merits or ‘getting to yes.’ The author claims principled negotiation is a useful way of managing conflicting interests with the aim is to find a mutually agreeable fair solution through a problem solving approach.

Type and Length: Blog post | ~ 3 pages


Title: Liberating Structures

Source: Liberating Structures

Description: This website offers a suite of facilitation tools and exercises that help groups work together.

Type and Length: Website | 33 exercises

Project Development and Management

Team Agreements

Title: An Ethos of Care

Source: Emily Skop, Martina Angela Caretta, Caroline Faria and Jessi L. Smith | Inside Higher Ed

Description: The authors offer other scholars engaged in research collaborations an “ethos of care pledge” to set new norms and new strategies around collaboration.

Type and Length: Blog post + Pledge | ~ 3 pages


Title: Questions to Consider When Drafting Your Collaboration Agreement

Source: NIH Office of the Ombudsman | Virginia Tech Toolkit

Description: List of 20 questions teams can use to address core collaboration issues. Themes include goals and vision, responsibilities, authorship and credit, contingencies and communication, and conflicts of interest.

Type and Length: List of 20 questions | 2 pages


Title: Preempting Discord: Prenuptial Agreements for Scientists

Source: Gadlin et al. | HHS | Virginia Tech Toolkit

Description: This document lists questions about core issues that are common to collaborative research projects. It also includes an intro to the topic of authorship disputes and how to avoid them.

Type and Length: Article + Questions | ~ 2 pages


Title: How to Write a Collaboration Plan

Source: Hall et al. | Virginia Tech Toolkit

Description: Provides guidance for investigators on key factors to consider in preparation for a collaborative initiative, including: rationale for team approach and team configuration; collaboration readiness; technological readiness; team functioning; communication & coordination; leadership, management, and administration; conflict prevention and management; training;  quality improvement activities; and budget/resource allocation.

Type and Length: Guide |8 pages

Team Meetings

Title: First Meeting Guide

Source: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

Description: This guide has tips on how to structure and make the most of your first interdisciplinary team meeting.

Type and Length: Guide | 4 pages


Title: Facilitating Interdisciplinary Meetings: A Practical Guide

Source: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center

Description: This guide offers a practical introduction to approaches and practices to facilitate meetings, trainings, and workshops to help improve teamwork processes. It touches on roles, pre-meeting steps, meeting techniques, and post-meeting activities.

Length and Type:Guide | 34 pages

Assessment and Evaluation

Title: Centering Equity in Collective Impact

Source:  John Kania, Junious Williams, Paul Schmitz, Sheri Brady, Mark Kramer & Jennifer Splansky Juster | Stanford Social Innovation Review

Description: This article describes collective impact as an evaluation model and explores how it has been used and how equity can be centered within the model.

Type and Length: Article | ~ 25 pages


Title: Theory of change in inter- and transdisciplinary research

Source: Josefa Kny, Sabine Hoffmann, Emilia Nagy, and Martina Schäfer | i2Insights

Description: This article provides a glimpse into different functions that theory of change can fulfill. The authors claim that, although theory of change was not developed for inter- and transdisciplinary research, both the process and the product of theory of change are relevant for such investigations.

Type and Length: Article | ~ 2 pages


Title: Tools to Increase Trust

Source: Virginia Tech

Description: This webpage contains guides to debriefing models and team and self-assessment strategies.

Type and Length:

  • After-Action Review Guide (USAID) | 3 pages
  • Guide to After Action Reviews from the Center of Evidence-Based Management | 12 pages
  • Collaboration Self-Assessment Tool | 12  pages | Journal article (9 pages) + Tool (3 pages)
  • Collaboration: A Self-Evaluation Tool | 4 pages
  • New Jersey Department of Education Collaborative Teams Self-Assessment | Tool | 4 pages
  • Prevention Institute’s Collaboration Assessment Tool | 2 pages

Other Social Impact Resources

Data Sharing Agreements

Title: Data Use Agreement Template

Source: UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute

Description: This template formalizes the parties’ understanding of how data will be collected, maintained, and used during the study. It consists of a data sharing and ownership agreement between tribes and universities.

Type and Length: Data Use Agreement Template | 4 pages


Title: Sample Tribal Resolution

Source: UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute

Description: This template formalizes the parties’ understanding of how data will be collected, maintained, and used during the study. It consists of a data sharing and ownership agreement between tribes and universities.

Type and Length: Sample Tribal Resolution | 1 page

Additional Resources

Toolkits and Resource Lists

  • Alaska NSF EPSCoR Collaboration Agreement (University of Alaska): This is an example of a Collaboration Agreement from the Alaska NSF EPSCoR Fire & Ice project. Topics include shared respect and collaboration; leadership responsibilities; conflict resolution; authorship; data sharing; and resources.
  • Conduct Team Science Resources (National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center – SESYNC): SESYNC brings together the science of the natural world with the science of social systems and decision making to solve problems at the human-environment interface. They offer resources on team science, including videos, case studies, guides, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • EDI in Research Resource Library (UBC): This is a list of resources organized into 4 categories: EDI in Research Design, EDI in Research in Research Practice, Institutional/Funder Policies, and Principles of EDI Research.
  • Engaged Scholarship Tools (MIT Gov/Lab): This file includes elements from the Difficult Conversations Questions Guide, the Risk and Equity Matrix, and the Workplan Template.
  • Inclusive Collaboration Toolkit (Center for Research, Excellence, and Diversity in Team Science, CREDITS): A curated set of resources related to DEI on science teams for research development professionals and collaborative team members. Resources include publications, examples, and models to address the challenges of diversity on science teams.
  • Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute: This toolbox provides practical knowledge that addresses specific and common team needs. It is organized according to the following categories: team formation, team launch, team maturation and team assessment.
  • Positionality in Hazards and Disaster Research and Practice (Natural Hazards Center | NSF): This Training Module is composed of 4 lessons regarding positionality, with many toolkits and strategies.
  • Power: A Practical Guide for Facilitating Social Change (Carnegie UK Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation): A guide for facilitating power analyses.
  • Research Templates (UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute): This website offers templates for a Data Use Agreement, a Code of Ethics & Integrity, Publication and Dissemination Guidelines, and Student Involvement in the Research Team. It also includes a Sample Tribal Resolution and a Sample Research Protocol Code.
  • Team Collaboration Agreements (Virginia Tech): This webpage contains a document with guidance for writing a collaboration plan; a poster that identifies ten components as the recommended core content for collaboration plans; an example of a collaboration agreement; and other resources.
  • Team Science Toolkit (NIH): The toolkit resources are getting updated and are not available at this time, but several publications related to team science are available. These publications cover topics such as evidence-based principles for cross-disciplinary science, the role of team personality in team effectiveness, etc.
  • Team Science Tools (University of Cincinnati): This toolkit includes Team Science articles, guides, tools, links, presentations, and videos. Examples of tools include a team charter template, a self-assessment tool, and a team task and relationship conflict scale.
  • Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI): TDI is a collective that conducts research in combination with its facilitation of communication and collaboration in cross-disciplinary research and practice. This page includes a variety of publications (primarily peer-reviewed articles), often with an emphasis on philosophical aspects of these collaborative endeavors.
  • Transdisciplinary Field Guide: Methods and Resources (Utrecht University): This toolkit offers steps to designing your transdisciplinary process and methods that can be useful. It includes practical and academic resources, as well as tips on how to avoid common pitfalls.

Publications and Additional Resources