We have recently generated a new pilot program that seeks to encourage close collaborations between laboratories that share common goals.
The focus is on the exchange of graduate students or postdoctoral fellows for a period between three months and a year. The purpose of these exchange visits is to inititate pilot experiments on concrete projects that benefit from the complementary expertise in both laboratories.
Several components need to be already in place to enter a partnership:
1) The PIs need to have an agreement and a concrete and relatively mature research plan needs to be in place that motivates the collaboration
2) individual graduate students or postdocs have already been identified and they need to be enthusiastic about the appproach
3) The actual learning goals, and more importantly, the "deliverables" that should come out of the visit need to be specified
4) Funding - mostly for travel and housing - needs to be already secured
5) Institutional support should be in place, at least to a degree such that no major obstacles are anticipated