It has been a challenging year for all of us–from a global pandemic, to a national reckoning with racial injustice, to political turmoil. We have experienced anxiety, uncertainty, fear, frustration, exhaustion; some of us have experienced tremendous loss. We have tapped into enormous wells of community and creativity and empathy and fortitude for our personal and professional well-being. We keep swimming.
While many institutions and organizations may face ongoing financial and other uncertainties wrought by the pandemic, I’m pleased to assure you that NORDP has emerged from the year stronger than ever. We have sustained membership (nearly 1,100 members from more that 460 institutions) and recently enjoyed a high-energy virtual conference with a record number of attendees–more than 700–with revenue that will help us realize long-time, long-term goals. Our current priorities include:
- developing programming for NORDP members at all professional levels–from those just entering RD to experienced members who are looking toward leadership advancement and institutional strategy;
- providing resources and training to help members incorporate DEIB best practices in their RD work and professional goals;
- doing the hard work and “heart work” (thank you, Etta Ward, for introducing me to that term!) of ensuring that NORDP is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive organization;
- providing a pipeline and mentorship to encourage interest in and build confidence to pursue leadership roles in NORDP, and
- improving communications, so members can know what programs and activities are available to them and use our website as a valuable tool for connection and resources.
Everywhere you look, NORDP is a hive of activity.
There are more reasons for optimism. Research Development continues to grow, and there are signs that the field will be critical to the success of our institutional research activities. The current administration has shown renewed vigor in funding research at the federal level, not only to address complex challenges (e.g., climate change, energy, infrastructure), but to keep the U.S. competitive globally in science and technology. The National Science Foundation (NSF) may see a new directorate and is anticipating a significant overall budget increase. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched the UNITE initiative toward ending structural racism, dedicating new funding to health equity research and efforts to diversify the scientific workforce, while continuing to roll out new multidisciplinary initiatives, like Bridge2AI. These new investments position RD professionals as essential staff, as we support researchers in pursuing funding, building effective teams and harnessing innovation for solutions.
This is an exciting time to be a Research Development professional, and no better time to engage with NORDP.
As the Board of Directors begins its new year, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the outstanding directors who have wrapped up their service: Rachel Dresbeck, Jennifer Lyon Gardner, Jeri Hansen and Karen Fletcher. We are welcoming five new directors this month: Antje Harnisch, Jennifer Glass, Melinda Boehm, Carolynn Julien and Lisa Lopez; additionally, director Nathan Meier is returning for a new term.
I especially want to express gratitude to the MANY volunteers who make NORDP such a vibrant and rewarding community. Time is our most precious resource; thank you for giving yours to this organization.
Finally, I want to ensure that NORDP leaders are accessible to members. I will be offering opportunities for members to connect with me and other NORDP leaders via Zoom over the next year. Keep an eye on the NORDP events calendar for more information. And remember that you can reach out to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the year, please make use of the listserv to ask your colleagues about RD and subscribe to the NORDP Blog for relevant NORDP and RD news.
I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year (and seeing you next spring in Bellevue, Washington)!
Sincerely, Jill Jividen
Jill Jividen, PhD
Director of Research Development
University of Michigan
Office of the Vice President for Research