Is This Collaboration Feasible?
This activity encourages participants to consider the feasibility of a proposed collaboration. By taking the perspective of an outsider, participants are asked to explore how a potential funder may view the possibility of the collaboration and understand the proposed work. Considering collaboration from a funder’s point of view can efficiently itemize the pros and cons of the proposed collaborative arrangement. Specifically, evaluating collaboration in this way is an easy and efficient way to determine if collaboration is necessary and beneficial for all parties involved.
Independently, you and your collaborators each write brief proposals explaining why collaboration is necessary, as if it were going to be reviewed by an external funding source. You may use the questions below as guidelines; these are questions that commonly arise during funding review, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. Then, you review one other’s answers as if you were the one making a funding decision.
1. Does the project span multiple areas of expertise – related or unrelated – to which the collaborators are well suited? What are those areas?
2. Does the project require additional experience and training for any of the collaborating individuals or agencies? If so, what is the nature of that additional training? Will that additional training continue to benefit the trainees outside the scope of the project?
3. Do the collaborators have complementary knowledge and skills, or is there significant overlap in collaborator’s knowledge and skills? If there is significant overlap, will collaboration produce a cumulative effect, or is that knowledge redundant?
4. Are the responsibilities of each collaborating party clearly delineated? Is the leadership and governance structure appropriate for the project?
5. Could the problem or project under consideration be feasibly executed, in a timely manner, without collaboration?