Lessons and challenges in the CTSP

After a year of intense exploratory and experimental research, the Clinical Trials System Project seems to be moving into a new phase of synthesis and collaboration. These past few months have been about expansion and contraction, definitions and re-definitions, the integration of new and old knowledge, and designing future trajectories. As we have had the fortune of being involved in this transition, we think it worthy of sharing a few lessons and reflections that may be applicable to the next phase of the project (and other similar projects out there):

  • An interdisciplinary team must value and protect diversity. This diversity extends beyond our research disciplines, to nationalities, cultures, gender, age, leadership styles, and points of view—all of which, at one point or another, will have an important role to play in enriching and improving individual and collective outputs.
  • Systems approaches require playing with scales, tools, and languages. It is unlikely that a singular point of view, paradigm, or methodological framework will resemble an implementable (let alone correct) solution. From mathematical models to social ethnography, self-reflections, round tables, and case studies, an interdisciplinary team must learn how to study not only parts and processes, but also the dynamics of interactions, power relationships, and the emerging realties of systems.
  • Inductive and deductive thinking must move beyond mere coexistence to tackle human complexity. As we integrate inductive and deductive strategies of research, we are also learning how to approach the reality of clinical trials using “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches. Although we have learned how to develop a common language, we must continue pushing our limits to ensure a system focused on the needs of patients.

Our mission as a team is to learn how to face a critical issue like clinical trials using new approaches and tools to offer unique viewpoints and cutting-edge solutions. After a year of hard work, our task is now to consolidate lessons and ideas— to chart research plans and collaborations that will enable us to push not only our own limits, but also those of the systems around us.

Network Map – Clinical Trials System Project:

Francisco Del Canto Viterale and Viva Dadwal