Conference Cameo: Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at

Who: Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni, Director of Strategic Research Initiatives
Where: University of Oregon
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 1
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? For our honeymoon, my spouse and I stayed at an old fort in Madya Pradesh, India, that was converted into a hotel. It was on a river, and we spent our days people-watching on beautiful ghats.

Like many of my peers, I essentially “fell into” research development. I initially pursued a traditional academic route and completed a Master’s in Food Studies from NYU with the intention of working for a few years before applying for a PhD program in anthropology or sociology. I worked for a small non-profit that supported refugee and immigrant farmers for a few years, and discovered that I wanted to ask questions about food studies through a more applied focus, rather than strictly academic. I enrolled in Boston University’s Masters in Public Health program and began working in the proposal development office at BU’s medical school; I  found that my career path and training prepared me well to support faculty with their grant submissions. I could manage multiple projects simultaneously and communicate effectively for a variety of audiences. I found that I enjoyed being able to help faculty across disciplines articulate their research ideas, rather than pursue one specific line of research myself. Kate-Petcosky-Kulkarni-Square

After two years, due to the support of a fantastic boss and mentor, I became Director of the Office of Proposal Development. Our team largely managed traditional pre-award functions, but I recognized the need to help our faculty learn how to navigate the research enterprise and be strategic in their approach to seeking external funding. I discovered NORDP in 2018 when I was researching best practices in early career faculty training. The conference was fantastic—much more personal and engaging than the research administration workshops I had attended in the past. I left the conference invigorated with new ideas for supporting our faculty. Indeed, had I not attended the NORDP conference, I would not have had the confidence to apply for my current position as Director of Strategic Research Initiatives at University of Oregon.

I joined UO this October to launch the Office of Research Development, which was in the middle of a major staffing transition. The office had been unstaffed for 4 months and I was brought on to build the team from the ground up. It’s an incredible opportunity and I look to NORDP for support and ideas on a regular basis. The listserv is beyond helpful and the NORDP community is smart, engaging, and supportive.

I am very much looking forward to this year’s conference and the opportunity to connect in person with many of my peers who have provided insight and guidance to me by e-mail or by phone. My new role involves operations that I did not previously coordinate at BU, such as managing internal awards and facilitating limited submissions. I am eager to learn how my peers approach this work and how they evaluate these activities. As my office moves in a new direction, I need to demonstrate efficacy in our approach, so I will be having many conversations about metrics and evaluation.

I am thrilled to be a part of the NORDP community, and I cannot wait to attend the 2019 conference!


Visit the NORDP Store online now through March 15! 

We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

One thought on “Conference Cameo: Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: