NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: From Seed to Harvest: Designing, Monitoring and Improving Internal Funding Programs

From Seed to Harvest: Designing, Monitoring and Improving Internal Funding Programs


  • Kathryn Partlow, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Daniel Campbell, Old Dominion University
  • David Bond, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Carl Batt, Cornell University

Thanks to our session scribe, Regina Coles, Virginia Commonwealth University!

Key points from the session. We learned: 

  • RFP design should include an Eligibility section, Purpose, Goals/Objectives, and provide clear Expectations/Reporting.
  • Include a request for feedback at each step of the process (e.g. submission, review, during the award and closeout).
  • Develop an award agreement and have key persons sign to encourage accountability.
  • Return on investment (ROI) should be tracked throughout the lifecycle and can comprise books, articles, proposals submitted, etc.
  • Require faculty to be in good standing to be eligible; delinquent reporting will make them ineligible for future internal funding.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

This really shouldn’t surprise many, but the notion that program evaluation is critical to improving and understanding the benefits of the program. Essentially, if you are not collecting feedback you cannot improve the program.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

The data that were provided were based on a survey sent out to the NORDP listserv last year. Thus this baseline data is an available resource for others that need it to support their own programs.

What were the most interesting questions asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters’ response?

Q: What outcomes can actually be attributed to the SEED funding and which are tangential to the funding?
A: Is difficult to untangle this however if you are clear in the RFP about what the focus of the funding should be then that will help guide this.

Q: How long do you measure and track outcomes?
A: Depends on the initial focus of the program – must be specific about the goals.

Q: How do you incentivize your reporting?
A1: Create an agreement and include a reporting schedule.
A2: Send reminder emails with a report template.

Q: How many years were data collected for programs that were ultimately sunsetted/discontinued (as provided in example)?
A: About 7 years.

Q: How do you manage faculty that are already well-funded versus un-funded/early career faculty?
A: Eligibility criteria for program should be clear as to which population the funding will support.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

  • Provide FAQs if possible to help faculty/administrators.
  • Consider the submission platform – email vs. online.
  • The review process management should include setting expectations for reviewers, managing conflicts, and developing review criteria.
  • Consider targeted programs for junior faculty or postdocs/grad students.
  • Most seed programs are for funding amounts of $5K-$25K thus an emphasis should be on piloted ideas that are less polished instead of a focus on broader impacts.
  • Suggestion to incorporate a professional development plan for early career faculty in the submission.

One thought on “NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: From Seed to Harvest: Designing, Monitoring and Improving Internal Funding Programs”

  1. I’d like to see example evaluation survey instruments (or interview questions). I’d also like a general sense of how to establish benchmarks for ROI metrics (how does my program ROI compare with similar programs?)


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