Featured Events

Fall 2011, Issue 13

Tufts Interdisciplinary Science Day

A faculty-organized, university-wide conference to build new research interactions among faculty in science, math, and engineering was held in January 2011. Breakout sessions and a plenary discussion provided opportunities to talk to colleagues and identify resources needed to make new collaborative research efforts successful. Tips offered by faculty members who have successfully built multidisciplinary teams included the following:

  • Build a team of people with complementary expertise; meet frequently; learn from each other; develop a culture in which it’s OK to not know things. As for publication policies within the team, decide on roles and rules. Drop nonresponsive team members.
  • Build a proposal so that the sum is greater than the parts. Drop weak projects.

For more tips on building multidisciplinary teams, members of the Tufts community may access the new “Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research @ Tufts” wiki for information on Tufts Interdisciplinary Science Day, including presentation slides and attendee contact information. The site also lists upcoming events and seminars, and pages for finding collaborators, locating resources, and exchanging research-related information. To access the wiki, sign in to Spark and click on “Go to your wikis.” Under “Tufts Wikis,” click on “Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research @ Tufts.”

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Research Day on Sustainability

The Office of the Vice Provost hosted a Research Day on Sustainability in May 2011. Vice Provost Peggy Newell welcomed attendees to this eighth in a series of Research Days, which showcase current work at Tufts and its affiliated hospitals, and provide opportunities for finding collaborators. The Research Day on Sustainability was truly an interdisciplinary event, with participants from every school at Tufts.

Brief faculty presentations in four key areas (sustainable technology, sustainable development, sustainable cities, and sustainable policy) were followed by panel discussions based on questions from the audience. Barbra Batshalom, executive director of the Sustainable Performance Institute, gave the keynote presentation “Whole Systems Strategies for Market Transformation.” The day concluded with poster presentations and a reception at which attendees could speak directly with researchers to learn about sustainability research at Tufts. For more information, please go to http://www.tufts.edu/central/research/researchdays.

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Collaboration Sandbox

In June 2011, the Office for Technology Licensing and Industry Collaboration (OTL&IC) sponsored a half-day program to bring together physicians and engineers interested in medical device innovation—to “build some collaborative energy,” as Nina Green, director of the OTL&IC, put it. William Mackey, professor and chair of surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at Tufts Medical Center, and Eric Miller, professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and associate dean for research in the School of Engineering, were instrumental in the development of the Collaboration Sandbox. Green, Mackey, and Miller matched physicians and engineers to exchange ideas in break-out sessions devoted to airway management, imaging, implantable devices in cardiology, implantable devices in neurosurgery, orthopedics, and sensors.

Michael Tarnoff, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs, Covidien, began the event with insights on the challenges, both financial and technological, of medical device innovations. Tarnoff also maintains a part-time clinical and academic practice in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine, where he is an adjunct associate professor of surgery. Feedback on this first-of-its-kind event at Tufts was very positive. The OTL&IC plans to provide support to the groups that formed as a result of the Collaboration Sandbox, and to host similar events in the future. For more information, please go to http://techtransfer.tufts.edu.

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