Small teams commonly receive funding to expand projects established through successful collaboration. Project expansion can occur in a variety of ways. The most integrated scenario aims to include new collaborators as full team members; ideally, make this type of expansion coincide with a new grant-writing cycle. Allow plenty of time for adding members, and be willing to adjust the research questions so that they reflect the expertise of new team members. Some of the more common scenarios where this might occur include:

  • A new discovery leads to the need for focused expertise: The project makes an unexpected discovery outside of the planned lines of research that will be important for understanding the system. In this situation, recruit someone with the appropriate expertise to take on the work.
  • Maximizing outcomes from a systems project: Systems projects often produce data or samples that can be used to address questions beyond the expertise of the research team. For example, Moss et al. (2004) describe how the Rothamsted experiments have contributed to understanding weed ecology, although that was not the purpose of the experiments. In such situations, the new collaborator may not need to join the project team. Instead, they may agree to analyze samples or data and to coauthor publications without becoming involved as a full collaborator. This can be a mutually beneficial arrangement in which the team expands the information generated by their project, and the collaborator benefits without making the time commitment that would be required of a full team member.
  • Serendipity, or taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves: Occasionally, an opportunity for new collaboration presents itself before plans are in place to expand the project. For example, a new faculty member with a research interest well suited to an existing project may join the institution or meet a team member at a professional conference.