Ideas often find fertile ground in minds other than the ones where they were initially conceived. When those ideas cross borders and oceans – and scientific discoveries are viewed through the lens of other cultures and value systems – new doors open and great leaps forward are made.
As the scientific world became more interconnected through the Internet, we saw a dramatic increase in international collaboration. According to data gathered through the Global Science and Technology Project, by 2009 more than 35 percent of science research articles were the result of international collaborations among researchers from different countries – a 40 percent increase during a 15-year period. By 2010, the number of internationally coauthored papers was more than double the number published 20 years earlier.
When visitors walk into our own NeuroRecovery Research Center, they find an international team working together in close collaboration. As researchers, we benefit from this diversity of cultural perspective, and the gains we make through new discoveries are transferred quickly to clinical care. When we brainstorm or troubleshoot, our team brings a myriad of views to the table. Some of them move us out of our comfort zone, but we know that this kind of open discussion is at the heart of innovation.
We’re also fulfilling a broader mission through TIRR Memorial Hermann’s collaboration with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Baylor College of Medicine, where we train young physicians and researchers to apply what we discover. We are fortunate to live in a country with an advanced practice of rehabilitation that includes clinical care, education and research. When we open our doors to the global community, the result is the best of all possible worlds.
Gerard E. Francisco, MD
Chief Medical Officer
TIRR Memorial Hermann
Chair, Department of Physical Medicine
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth