Translational Science Project Team Managers: Qualitative Insights and Implications from Current and Previous Postdoctoral Experiences
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The development of leadership and project management skills is increasingly important to the evolution of translational science and team-based endeavors. Team science is dependent upon individuals at various stages in their careers, inclusive of postdocs. Data from case histories, as well as from interviews with current and former postdocs, and those supervising postdocs, indicate six essential tasks required of project managers in multidisciplinary translational teams, along with eight skill-related themes critical to their success. To optimize the opportunities available and to ensure sequential development of team project management skills, a life cycle model for the development of translational team skills is proposed, ranging from graduate trainees, postdocs, assistant professors, and finally to mature scientists. Specific goals, challenges and project management roles and tasks are recommended for each stage for the life cycle.