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Description Participants Agenda (pdf) Summary

NIMBioS Investigative Workshop

Communication in Collaboration: Leading Collaborative Groups

Workshop group photo.

Topic: Communication in Collaboration: Learning to Lead Collaborative Groups. A Project of the Interdisciplinary Communication Laboratory for Undergraduate Biology (iCLUB) – A National Science Foundation funded RCN-UBE Incubator.

Meeting dates: July 29-30, 2012

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Jenifer Alonzo, Communication and Theatre Arts, Old Dominion Univ., Norfolk, VA
Holly Gaff, Biology, Old Dominion Univ., Norfolk, VA

Objectives: Major advances in research are made through collaborations across traditional disciplines. Yet, students and faculty involved in interdisciplinary research activities often confront obstacles to healthy collaboration, including differences in personal and professional values, differences in research practices and use of language, undeveloped listening skills, and undeveloped conflict resolution skills.

ICLUB's foundational workshop provides hands-on training specifically focused to help researchers better communicate across disciplines. Participants will be introduced to tools that actors use to foster healthy communication. The workshop is action-oriented, allowing participants to practice techniques that they may then use to support their research groups. Participants will learn tools for:

  • Quickly building rapport among team members.
  • Developing better listening skills.
  • Identifying areas of potential conflict.
  • Increasing comfort in communicating with conflict.
  • Establishing agreed upon ways to communicate.
  • Expanding skills for identifying and communicating goals and values with potential collaborators.

Hands photo. Summary Report. TBA

NIMBioS Investigative Workshops focus on broad topics or a set of related topics, summarizing/synthesizing the state of the art and identifying future directions. Workshops have up to 35 participants. Organizers and key invited researchers make up half the participants; the remaining participants are filled through open application from the scientific community. Open applicants selected to attend are notified by NIMBioS within two weeks of the application deadline. Investigative Workshops have the potential for leading to one or more future Working Groups. Individuals with a strong interest in the topic, including post-docs and graduate students, are encouraged to apply. If needed, NIMBioS can provide support (travel, meals, lodging) for Workshop attendees, whether from a non-profit or for-profit organization.

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to Dr. Ernest Brothers, the NIMBioS Associate Director for Diversity Enhancement ( You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.