University of Nottingham

Team Science 

Leads: Jeanette WoolardNatalie Poulter and ECR committee chair: Shannon O’Brien

Welcome to COMPARE Team Science 2021! I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say 2020 has been a challenging year and one that we won’t forget quickly.  October 2019 saw a completely new Team Science Committee form for the 2019-2020 year. This comprised: Myself, Evie Garlick & Katja Gehmlich from UoB; as well as Eddy Wragg, Clare Harwood, Andy Benest, Charlie Lay & Sam Cooper from UoN. As a committee, we started 2020 eager to build upon the excellent work completed by the previous year’s committees.

2020 saw the continuation of the COMPARE Team Science seminar series which showcases work of ECRs and other members of COMPARE. The first (and unfortunately only) in-person seminar took place in Nottingham and included a half-hour talk from Dr Emma Faulkner an ECR from UoB and a half-hour talk from Prof Chris Denning a PI, from UoN. Both Chris and Emma gave enlightening talks on their research areas and this provided an opportunity to debut the newly built Nottingham Centre for Biomolecular Sciences building.

Alas, the COVID-19 pandemic followed shortly thereafter and brought with it so many changes to our working lives that were impossible to foresee at the start of the year.  The complexities of COVID-19 cancelled a number of Team Science events, including the 2020 Away Day and the planned seminar series.  After advertising the Team Science summer studentships and Team Science collaborative grants, we had a vast amount of proposals submitted for both, however these were mostly cancelled due to national lockdowns. 2020 wasn’t however all doom and gloom.  This was highlighted in part by the work of PhD student Connie Koo, a member of Dr. Mike Tomlinson’s lab, who was originally awarded the collaborative grant to work in partnership with Professor Ian Hall’s group.  Connie managed to transition the planned collaboration to an entirely online platform, and has written a fantastic post-funding report: ‘Zoom in on the human genome: Team Science collaboration goes online’. 

Team Science has similarly adapted to a virtual format, deciding to host monthly online Journal Clubs that allowed COMPARE members from both universities to connect and engage in scientific discussion.  A number of COMPARE members gave engaging talks surrounding their speciality areas, including: Myself, Jeremy Pike, Rob Hill, Joelle Goulding, Eline Koers and Alexandre Slater.  The journal clubs were all very well attended on Zoom and provided a means to continue scientific discussion during a time when science has been dramatically halted. 

As 2020 (finally) came to an end, we look forward to what 2021 will bring. Andy Benest & Katja Gehmlich have decided to step down from the committee, and the new 2020/2021 Team Science committee now includes Jak Grimes and Jonas Euchner (both from UoB) as their replacements. To celebrate the end of 2020, the 2020/2021 Team Science committee hosted the first virtual Team Science Christmas Trivia Night. Over 50 COMPARE members donned their favourite Christmas jumpers and took part in a high-spirted and eventful evening.  A special shout out goes to Santa ‘Eddy Wragg’ Claus, who made time to be quiz master during this very busy time of the year.  After the success of the virtual journal clubs, we aim to carry these forward into 2021 on a monthly basis.  The Away Day will also continue in 2021 and will be held online in collaboration with European Laboratory Research and Innovation Group (ELRIG), a non-profit organisation which bridges industry and academia.  The collaborative grants are also on offer this year, intended to fund focussed collaborative projects within COMPARE. Some changes have been made as travel between groups is not encouraged but we hope that these will be a success and demonstrate how teamwork can still help drive science forward during these difficult times. 

Despite many events not able to come to fruition, a special thank-you needs to be extended to all members of the TS committee, Natalie Poulter for all your help and guidance, as well as Chris McGrath, Sharmaine Afferion & Gayle Halford who have helped move events to an online platform. As we start the year with a transition to a new leadership team, we wish the best to both Davide & Jeannette, as well as extending a big thank you to Steve Hill & Steve Watson for everything they have done in developing COMPARE and Team Science in the last 5 years. Here’s to 2021!

Shannon O’Brien, Chair of Team Science

Team Science Newsletter - September 2019

Team Science Newsletter - April 2019

Team Science Newsletter - September 2018

Team Science Events

Team Science Committee - October 2020-2021
O'brien shannon
Shannon O'Brien (Chair), Unviersity of Birmingham (
Jak Grimes
Jak Grimes, University of Birmingham (
Garlick Evelyn
Evie Garlick, University of Birmingham (
Wragg Eddy v1
Eddy Wragg, University of Nottingham (
Harwood Clare v2
Clare Harwood, University of Nottingham (
Jonas Euchner
Jonas Euchner, University of Birmingham (
Lay Charles
Charlie Lay, University of Nottingham (
Cooper Sam
Sam Cooper, University of Nottingham (
Team Science Committee - October 2019-2020
O'brien shannon
Shannon O'Brien (Chair), Unviersity of Birmingham (
Gehmlich Katja 1
Katja Gehmlich, University of Birmingham (
Garlick Evelyn
Evie Garlick, University of Birmingham (
Wragg Eddy v1
Eddy Wragg, University of Nottingham (
Harwood Clare v2
Clare Harwood, University of Nottingham (
Benest Andrew
Andy Benest, University of Nottingham (
Lay Charles
Charlie Lay, University of Nottingham (
Cooper Sam
Sam Cooper, University of Nottingham (
Team Science Committee - October 2018-2019
Soave mark
Mark Soave (Chair) – University of Nottingham (
Stoddart Leigh
Leigh Stoddart – University of Nottingham (
Dalby Amanda
Amanda Dalby - University of Birmingham (
Koo Connie
Connie Koo - University of Birmingham (
Nesheva Desislava
Desislava Nesheva - University of Nottingham (
Peach Chloe
Chloe Peach - University of Nottingham (
Yule Jack
Jack Yule - University of Birmingham (
Team Science Committee - October 2017-2018

Leigh Stoddart (Chair) – University of Nottingham (

Joëlle Goulding- University of Nottingham (

Mark Soave – University of Nottingham (

Carl White – University of Nottingham (

Dee Kavanagh – University of Birmingham (

Abdullah Khan - University of Birmingham (

Victoria Simms – University of Birmingham (

COMPARE Team Science 2017-2018

The Team Science focus this year has been on early career researchers (ECRs). A Committee was established following the successful Away Day in May 2017, and this cross-institutional team has driven forward a number of key initiatives that have positively impacted on the ECR community. In November, we funded a communications workshop which provided interactive training on how to disseminate research findings to a wider audience. This was coordinated by Media Woman, a team of expert media trainers who offer insight into how to confidently and skilfully share knowledge and experience. Support has also been provided to establish a cross-institutional seminar speaker programme. To date, this seminar series has given thirteen PhD students and post-docs (64% female representation) the opportunity to present their work at the partner university.

In order to stimulate collaboration and networking, the Team Science Committee has funded three collaborative cross-site grants (each £2K), and contributed towards conference attendance for seven ECRs to engage in discussions relating to cutting-edge research activities. We have provided funding for four summer students to work alongside post-doctoral researchers at both institutions; enabling the post-doc to gain valuable supervisory experience, the student to work in a productive research environment and the team leader to trial a potential future PhD student. These awards (4 X £1500) were highly competitive and we hope to continue this opportunity next year. 

The Team Science Committee also planned an ECR symposium day, ahead of the official plenary launch lecture given by Nobel Prize Laureate Brian Kolbika, in April 2018. This was a hugely successful event, with over 130 registered delegates and a full agenda of speakers (40% female representation). The event drew interest from other related networks (ONCORNET and BPS) helping to raise the profile of COMPARE as a leader in this area of research. Following on from the huge success of this event, the Committee also organised the annual Away Day in May 2018. This event once again brought together the ECRs from both institutions to discuss issues relevant to Team Science: authorship and contribution, recognition, progression and collaboration. Invited speakers to this event included representatives from the journal Nature Communications, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Prof Jason Swedlow (a member of the International Advisory Board) and Prof Steve Watson (Editor-in-Chief, Platelets) joined the panel discussion. The excellent feedback from this highly subscribed event again highlights the positive impact of Team Science, particularly on the ECR community.

Perhaps as a result of the success of many of the activities highlighted above, the profile of COMPARE Team Science has been raised and we are now being recognised as leaders in this area. Steve Hill and Jeanette Woolard were invited to take part in a series of interviews, specifically aimed at highlighting imaging scientists, and the important role of Team Science in recognising wider contribution to research outputs. This website is now available at: Natalie Poulter and Jeanette Woolard were also invited to the Academy of Medical Sciences in June 2018, as part of their two year progress review meeting on Team Science. 


Professor Jason Swedlow, University of Dundee presenting at the Team Science Away Day, Fazely Studios, May 2018
Swedlow Away Day
Team Science Mug

Looking forward, Team Science needs to move to the next phase of delivery. Our focus will be on maintaining the positive steps with the ECRs, and integrating Team Leaders into several sand-pit and collaborative events. Team Science is defined by a multi-disciplinary approach, and we now need to encourage broader collaboration. We have engaged with the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and several clinical collaborations are in development. There are opportunities to develop these further and our Team Science Committee hopes to take the lead in this area.

COMPARE Team Science 2016-2017

In 2016, the Academy of Medical Sciences, chaired by Prof Anne Ridley, published a report on Team Science which highlighted some key areas of concern for the future of collaborative research, namely that; 

• academic research is rooted in a tradition of individual and small team scholarship; 

• there is a lack of recognition for contribution of both academic and, importantly, non-academic colleagues; 

• there is ill-balanced focus on first and last author position, and 

• there are issues of who is the Principal Investigator on the grant and the relative contribution of the Co-Investigator. 

The report suggested several changes to research culture, highlighting the need to reassess distribution of recognition, funding for training (in team skills) and career development (this should be a ‘deliverable’ on grants) and research behaviour, particularly to ensure that credit is allocated fairly, and that PIs give due consideration to the career paths of colleagues outside the ‘PI track’. 

COMPARE has embraced the concept of Team Science and have appointed Jeanette Woolard, Deputy Director of COMPARE (Nottingham) and Natalie Poulter, Research Fellow (Birmingham) as the two Team Science leads who will work towards establishing a Team Science environment within COMPARE, with an annual budget of £20,000 to support training events, team building and networking. The focus will be on the younger generation, the Post-Docs and PhD students, who will help attitudes to change and team science to grow into the future. 

Jeanette Woolard visited both Prof Ridley and another member of the Team Science Advisory Committee, Dr Anne-Marie Coriat, Head of the Wellcome Trust Research Grants Committee, to seek additional guidance on how COMPARE could become a beacon for Team Science in the Midlands. The advice was clear: to develop networking and collaborative links between UoB and UoN for our early career researchers, by facilitating travel and attendance at conferences, and through establishment of a COMPARE Team Science Committee, composed of members of this cohort. To this effect, an Away Day was organised and took place on the 26th May 2017 at East Midlands Conference Centre. This event was attended by 44 PhD and Post-Doctoral researchers representing a wide range of the research groups within COMPARE. The purpose of the day was to introduce the aims of COMPARE, the concept of Team Science and to allow the young researchers from the two Universities to get to know one another through short presentations on themselves, their key research questions and skills and through a team building exercise. The event was a great success with excellent feedback received. 

A Team Science Committee was formed consisting of seven members representing both Universities and PhD students and Post-Docs. This committee will decide the format of future events. Grants to attend conferences to develop networks and grants to support travel and consumables to a partner laboratory are also being offered to foster further personal scientific development and cohort building both within and outside of COMPARE. The overriding feeling from the event was one of enthusiasm and hope for the future of Team Science and we look forward to seeing where this goes in the coming years.

Team Science Away Day

Team Science Away DayTeam Science Away Day 2

The Academy of Medical Sciences - Team Science 

In Partnership: The Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham

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The University of Nottingham
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Telephone: +44 (0)115 846 7554