Inclusive collaboration across plant physiology and genomics: Now is the time!

Research and discovery rely on teamwork and collaboration, yet many academic structures don’t support or reward such models. Additionally, the significant challenges addressed by plant scientists go beyond the expertise of one PI or lab, further highlighting the need for research teams that span disciplinary boundaries. In this recent white paper, the Interdisciplinary Plant Science Consortium reports on a set of workshops that addressed how to support inclusive collaborations, and recommendations to train scientists to become more inclusive and collaborative. The article discusses strategies to identify partners and funding sources, but also recommends new approaches to support and encourage collaboration. For example, large numbers of faculty and students at research less-intensive institutions (e.g., minority serving institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, etc.) have much to contribute to collaborative research if provided with funding and training opportunities; increasing flexibility in funding programs can support such efforts. Another challenge is that at many universities the tenure and promotion systems still focus on independent, rather than collaborative efforts; likewise, most prestigious awards recognize individuals rather than groups. The authors also point out that journals can support interdisciplinary collaborative research through focus issues and providing a dedicated submission and review process for submissions derived from such projects. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Plant Direct 10.1002/pld3.493