, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 531-534
Date: 21 Nov 2012

Confessions of a team science funder

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When I arrived at the National Cancer Institute in July of 1998, my colleagues and I were afforded a remarkable opportunity: create and build a new division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s largest institute. Visionary leadership, a rapidly growing budget, a wealth of new positions to fill, and an intriguing array of scientific opportunities presented a unique context within which to revisit the most recalcitrant and complex challenges in cancer control. There was only one (of many, as we were later to learn) problem. Many of the career staff who had been reassigned into our newly formed Behavioral Research Program shared neither our excitement nor our enthusiasm. As a newly arrived team leader, I was soon awash in a tidal wave of skepticism. With no government experience, I was viewed as naïve and unrealistic. Many of the most experienced staff were also the most cynical and pessimistic. Having felt unsupported and disconnected from their previous leadership, they were dis

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