Characteristics of a Good Collaboration

Broader Impacts: The concept of broader impacts should extend beyond benefits to graduate or undergraduate students. Partnering between science centers and universities is beneficial to the science centers as it allows both partners to build off of each others' expertise and infrastructure that already exists. When people come to a science center, they expect to see state of the art technology.

Administrative: Institution administrations must be aware of the broader impact responsibilities of its research facilities. While more money is going to individuals that want to do outreach, contact between university administrators (presidents, provosts, deans, etc) and heads of science centers (or collaboration partners) can help facilitate such partnerships. This, therefore, extends the responsibilities of the researchers to the broader institution communities.

Diversity: People from all fields of study (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) collaborate. It is advantageous for partnerships to not just exploit the expertise of the scientists and science centers, but also the knowledge of other academic departments that may already being doing outreach projects. In addition, many professors that are retired or are approaching their retirement tend to have more time to devote to volunteering for outreach and public education.

Flexibility: Partners recognize and respect each other's area of expertise. They must be willing to compromise on objectives and process. Plan for turnover by going beyond established individual relationships.

Understanding: Mapping out the responsibilities of each partner ahead of time to avoid disagreements and disorganization later on. Make sure there is a clear scope to the project. Mutual respect, facilitated by site visits.

Initiation: Science centers often go straight to university to find a member of the faculty who is interested. Grants are received first and then the outreach institution seeks scientists.