Ganging up on Cancer: Integrative Research Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (B)

Case Solution

Heidi K. Gardner, Edo Bedzra, Shereef M. Elnahal
Harvard Business School ()

Dr. Barrett Rollins, Scientific Director of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, seeks to foster scientific collaboration by applying project management principles to medical research. The resulting innovation, the Integrative Research Centers, is new to this field and poses a significant challenge to the culture of the institute, which had previously given the faculty researchers full autonomy in their research. Center leaders must develop a business plan, adhere to agreed-upon performance metrics, and undergo periodic progress reviews by a collegiate oversight committee. In case “A,” the Cancer Nanotechnology Center, a new but important center in the program, did not achieve nearly all of its goals in the first year, and a heated discussion between two faculty members at the center ran into complicated problems. . Case “B” describes the decisions Rollins made regarding leadership and other strategic issues, and shows how he fared at the center a year after his disappointing initial progress.

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