2017 Conference Cameo: Kimberly Eck

#NORDP2017 starts Monday, May 8 in Denver, CO. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for live conference updates. Register here: http://www.nordp.org/conferences.

Who: Kimberly Eck, Director of Research Development
Where: University of Tennessee
Number of years in research development: 8
Length of NORDP membership: 2
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
How do you unwind? Taking my Boston Terriers for a walk.

As a first-generation college student, I would have never predicted that I would one day have a PhD and be serving as an administrator in an institution of higher education. Like many research development professionals, my understanding of and career in research development have evolved greatly since I started. I am thrilled toeck_pic share more about my background and the value I found in NORDP.

I started working in research development in 2009 when I joined a small consulting firm whose clients came from the health care and public health arena. I was able to leverage my academic background (my PhD is in epidemiology) while working with diverse clients from federally-qualified health centers, to state departments of health, to multi-hospital health systems. It was an intensive introduction to grants, federal funding, and more.

In 2013, I joined the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY). I worked across all disciplines and with even more funders. I was excited to work outside of my comfort zone. As a part of this role, I convened and actively participated in faculty-led workshops and other meetings.

During one of these workshops, a guest speaker – Michael O’Rourke – scribbled five letters on a piece of scrap paper. He handed it to me and asked, “Do these letters mean anything to you?” “N-O-R-D-P,” I read. No, they didn’t. Of course, I quickly googled NORDP and was ecstatic to find this fantastic group of research development. Finally, I found my people!

I attended my first Annual NORDP Conference in 2014. It was incredible! Everyone I met was genuinely interested in learning, sharing, and advancing and legitimizing the field of research development. I had never felt so welcomed by a professional organization before. I started the conference knowing 1 person and left the conference with meaningful contacts at more than 30 institutions. My 2015 conference experience was even better.

Now as the Director of Research Development at the University of Tennessee, I’ve encouraged my team and others to attend the 2017 Annual NORDP Conference. I am most excited to share early results from a research project sanctioned by the NORDP Board of Directors to characterize the field of research development. (Be on the lookout for our brief survey!)

If you are new to research development or to NORDP, my advice is to join the group dinners and breakfast discussions. You never know who you’ll meet. Just make sure to bring extra business cards!


We hope to see you at the 2017 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 8-10 in Denver, CO. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2017 updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at rdconf@nordp.org

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