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Promoting interdisciplinary research in departments of medicine: results from two models at Boston University School of Medicine.

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Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


We have sought to broaden our department's research capacity using two different interdisciplinary approaches. First, we created the Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research (ECIBR) - a virtual center that promotes and funds Affinity Research Collaboratives (ARCs) initiated by faculty from within and outside Boston University (BU). Of the 11 funded ARCs, the 4 ARCs in existence for a minimum of 3 years have a total of 37 participants, 93 co-authored publications, and 33 new grants. Second, the Department of Medicine (DOM) created a Section of Computational Biomedicine in 2009 to enhance analytical and computational expertise in the DOM. After 3 years, the section is comprised of 10 faculty members and 21 trainees. The faculty members have collaborated with 20 faculty members in other sections or departments and secured 12 extramural grants (totaling ∼$20 million in direct costs). The ECIBR and the Section of Computational Biomedicine represent new organizational approaches to stimulating innovation in research in a DOM.

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