Conference Cameo: Archie Pitsilides

#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. 

Who: Archie Pitsilides, Director, Grants & Outreach
Where: Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business
Number of years in research development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Istanbul, Turkey: People, Culture, Food!

I came to work in the research development field as a third profession. Prior to commencing my career in academia, I held a variety of management positions in the archie headshot (2)hospitality industry, followed by directing customs brokerage services for U.S. importers.  In the early part of the millennium, I returned to the university as a non-traditional student to earn an MBA and an M.A. in Spanish, in part because my spouse accepted a tenure-track position at Texas Tech University. As I was contemplating the next chapter in my professional career, a position was serendipitously announced – as a research associate for a Department of Education-funded program that was working to internationalize curriculum to serve faculty, students, and the U.S. trade community.  This position merged my newly acquired academic skill set with my business experience in international trade. From there, I was hooked. I was fortunate to have a great faculty mentor who took the time to introduce me to and help me navigate both the research and funding environments, while the college supported my professional development through attendance at various grant writing and research workshops. As the Rawls College enhanced its focus on the importance of obtaining grant funding, I was promoted to my current position of Director of Grants and Outreach.

As a grants director, I work to develop and secure funding opportunities for both faculty and students in the areas of business education, research and program development. I provide life-cycle services that include curating opportunities that align with the unique interests of business faculty, proposal editorship, budget development, and pre- and post-award management. In the past few years, the college has made a commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research in an effort to incentivize faculty and enhance the collaborative research environment across the university. This emphasis on collaboration has enabled me to work with a diverse group of investigators and teams from our colleges of education, engineering, media and communications, and visual and performing arts. As with all funding efforts, some proposal teams met with great successes while others had some tough defeats.  Alas, such is the life in the dynamic world of RD.

Inasmuch as last year was the first time I attended the conference, I can honestly say I was genuinely impressed with both the variety and caliber of the conference session offerings. While I often self-selected into the break-outs that paralleled my interests, I did consciously make it a point to discover insights on at least one new area of research. More specifically, I chose to attend a session which focused on early stage investigators in biomedical sciences. This session allowed me to gain a different perspective on mentoring and training early career faculty and provided me with some ideas how to engage program officers to their benefit. To that, end, my insider tip is to make room in your personal agenda to take advantage of the Ideas Showcase which is scheduled on Tuesday, April 30, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. If you ever wondered how other institutions pilot programs, achieve results, translate research, or enhance collaboration, do not miss this opportunity to discover a plethora of strategies, processes and people. You will come away with new tools or at least a new way of looking at an old challenge. Finally, enjoy the camaraderie of your peers and make new friends!


For more information about the conference program, 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.

Ask Me: Bright Yellow Buttons and Smiling Faces Welcome You to #NORDP2019

If you are a first-time NORDP conference attendee and lost in the sea of smiling-but-busy-faces, feel free to stop a NORDP Ambassador wearing a bright yellow button that says “Ask Me.” You can ask them about NORDP and how to get the most out of your conference experience, make a connection and a friend!ask_me_buttons

The NORDP Member Services Committee (MSC) launched the Ambassador program last year in an effort to ease first-time conference attendees into the conference experience, provide networking opportunities for first-timers and seasoned attendees alike, and increase engagement with the organization. The program is back, bigger and better, for #NORDP2019.

This year, each first-time attendee is matched with one NORDP Ambassador who is their source of all answers about the conference and the organization. First-time conference attendees and Ambassadors will attend an Orientation and Networking session before the conference begins on Sunday, April 28, 4:30pm-5:30 pm, in the Providence Ballroom.

MSC will have a table by the reception desk, staffed by Ambassadors during breaks to further answer questions. Each Ambassador will be wearing a bright yellow “Ask Me” badge and will be happy to talk/answer questions/network anytime during the conference. Each first-time conference attendee also will have a chance to sign up for a networking dinner hosted by several ambassadors. There will be other opportunities throughout the conference for first-timers to have networking dinners with other NORDP members.

Looking forward to a great conference experience and meeting you all in Providence!

You may contact Samarpita Sengupta ( or Sarah Messbauer ( with questions about the Ambassador Program.


For more information about the conference program, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Stefania Grotti

#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. 

Who: Stefania Elisabeth Grotti, Head Manager of the Research Office
Where: Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Number of years in research development: 18
Length of NORDP membership: 3 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? As a European, I am fascinated by the local cultures of the different Continents I’ve visited. The most fascinating countries I’ve seen are Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as Australia.

I have over 25 years of experience in the field of Research Leadership and Management, including 18 in academia, specifically at the Politecnico di Milano, where I am Head stefaniaManager of the Research Office. Over the years, I have developed strong leadership skills which have enabled me to build a solid record of success in guiding my team to meet its objectives. I have contributed significantly towards maintaining the Politecnico’s outstanding record of success in research fundraising (particularly from EU calls). Under my leadership, the Politecnico has become the most successful research university in Italy. Currently, I am Chair of the Vision 2020 Network Advisory Board and Secretary of NCURA Region VIII.

I’m a passionate and energetic professional involved in the field of academic research. I have extensive experience in funding and financial management,  and the ability to negotiate and mediate at any level and stage since 1995. Thanks to national and international experience on complex projects, I have developed a robust knowledge of the Organisational HR Field suitable for transnational and diverse Research Contexts (academic and industry).

I first heard about NORDP through my participation in several international networks. I am very interested in Research Development activities; I enrolled in NORDP three years ago and in 2018 I attended the D.C. conference for the first time. I was pleased to find that all the Research Development Managers I met felt very engaged in their activities. It is certainly a stimulating environment for me

Yes, in Italy the Research Development activities are not very developed. The Politecnico di Milano is the first Italian university to have implemented them. I am proud to have been able to apply the strategies and the best practices of Research Development learned during the conference at my university.

I have met many new colleagues with whom I have maintained contact. This also allowed me to be invited as speaker at the 2019 conference in Providence.

To prepare to face the challenges we confront in academic research funding,  I advise attendees to actively participate in the sessions and try to bring home the greatest amount of knowledge, above all from different perspectives, even at an international level. The day-to-day work of the Research Developer Manager can be enhanced tremendously through the exchange of ideas.


For more information about the conference program, 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.

Cranford Addresses Cultural Competency at NORDP’s Plenary Session

cranford“Day to day, what does inclusion look like at your institution?”

This is among the many thought-provoking questions that Jacqueline Cranford, founder of Cranford Advisory Services, will present to NORDP conference attendees at the plenary session scheduled for 11:00 a.m., Tues., Apr. 30.

Cranford’s presentation, titled “Diversity, Inclusion and You: Advancing Cultural Competence within NORDP and the Communities We Serve,” will lay a foundation to help RD professionals understand the concept of cultural competency on both the individual and institutional level.

Cranford will define terms related to diversity and inclusion, create a common language for understanding related issues, and identify ways to recognize issues on campuses throughout the nation and in how we engage with one another within NORDP.

“For example, when you walk the halls at your institution, do you feel represented in the photos on the walls?” she asks. “Is the language that you use with your NORDP colleagues inclusive?”

Cranford encourages RD professionals to come to the plenary session ready and willing to engage in the discussion and experience “how quickly our brains make associations.”  Ultimately, the goal is to provide RD professionals with introspective insights into their own biases, enabling them to be a conduit and help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion at their institutions.

“What can you do to be part of the change?” she prompts.

A graduate of Oral Roberts University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Cranford has spent more than 20 years helping professionals recognize and appreciate the intersectionality of talent management, diversity, and inclusion and guiding them through strategies for effectively managing all three.

In addition to serving clients in the legal and corporate sectors, she has recently focused on the environment of academia, consulting with several business schools and law schools on issues related to cultural competency.  Over the years, clients have turned to her for expertise in diversity and inclusion, recruiting, professional development, performance management, leadership training, business development and global integration.  More information on her firm can be found at

Submitted by Sharon Pound

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.



Things to Do in Providence

For more information about  conference logistics and preparing for Providence, join us Monday, April 8, at 1 pm EST for the webinar “Getting Ready for #NORDP2019” – REGISTER HERE.

Are you getting excited for #NORDP2019? One of the best parts of traveling to a conference is the chance to sneak in some sightseeing between sessions. Or maybe you’ve decided to come to town early or spend a day or two after things wrap up–even better!

Welcome to New England! As someone who’s called Boston home for almost three years, I love taking day trips down to Providence to explore everything this city has to offer. Here are just a few ideas for things to do in Providence while you’re here for the conference.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 9.33.30 PMProvidence Waterplace Park and Riverwalk
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 7 minute walk

This waterside park is so close to the conference hotel that you’ll want to be sure to find some time for a walk. Grab a colleague or take a solo stroll by the river. Sometimes there are even gondoliers!

Providence Athenaeum
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 13 minute walk

Do you love books? The Providence Athenaeum is a fascinating (and extremely photogenic!) library that welcomes visitors. Read about its historical significance–and famous patrons including H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe–here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 10.11.39 PM.pngRISD Museum
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 11 minute walk

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum’s collection “contains more than 100,000 works of art and design dating from ancient times to today including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume and textiles, and furniture from all over the world.” Explore the museum’s current exhibitions here. (Sidenote: I’ve somehow never made it to this museum and would love to, so if you need a museum buddy, come find me!)

Providence Place
Distance from the Conference Hotel: Attached!

Shoppers, get ready: Providence Place is attached to the conference hotel. If you left a business casual essential at home or just want to browse, you won’t even need to grab your jacket.

Wander Around
Distance from the Conference Hotel: Up to you!

Providence is a wonderful city to explore on foot. For classic New England architecture, head toward Brown University’s campus. If you’re interested in food, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants within walking distance of the conference hotel. In fact, the conference organizers have put together this helpful interactive map if you’re interested in exploring even more ideas for things to do in Providence.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 10.03.57 PM.png

Have fun in Providence! I hope you’ll enjoy this city as much as I do.

(All photos courtesy of me and my iPhone.)


For more information about the conference program, visit @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Request for Comments: Proposed Changes to NORDP Bylaws

Preamble from the NORDP Governance Committee: The Board of Directors is considering making changes to the NORDP Bylaws, as described below. Before implementing any changes, the Board posts the proposed changes so that NORDP members may review them and comment. 


Dear NORDP members,

At the October 23, 2018 Board of Directors meeting, the Board unanimously voted to amend Article VIII, Section I of the NORDP Bylaws (adopted 12/22/2015), which discusses the role of the NORDP Immediate Past President (IPP) on the NORDP Board. Per NORDP policy, we are publishing the proposed amendment for membership review and comment.

The current Bylaws stipulate the IPP shall be an officer of the Board, with voting privileges. The IPP is meant to serve in this officer role by providing advice and counsel, as a former NORDP President, to the Board. The assumption was that the IPP would still be serving in their Board term during their IPP year (the term for a NORDP President is one year, meaning that we have a new IPP every year).

A Board member has a four-year Board term, and a Board member can serve as President in their fourth year. However, if a Board member serves as President in their fourth year, they roll off the Board when they are IPP and they no longer have voting privileges. Even so, the Board still desires to benefit from the IPP’s perspective and experience. For this reason, the Board has decided to exercise its ability to appoint members by appointing an IPP whose Board term has ended as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Board.

To reflect this decision, the Board proposes to amend Article VIII (Officers and Agents), Section I (Election and Term of Office) of the Bylaws as follows (added text in italics):

The officers of the Corporation shall be elected by the Board at the annual meeting of the Board of Directors, or at another regular or special meeting called for that purpose, after due notice has been given. The Secretary and the Treasurer shall serve for two years. The Vice President normally serves one year as Vice President and then a second year as President. If a member is elected directly to the presidency, the term shall be for one year. The President shall then serve one year as Immediate Past President. In the event that the President will not be a member of the Board during their Immediate Past President year, either through resignation or completion of the term as a Board member, they will retain their Immediate Past President role as advisor to the Board by serving as an ex-officio, non-voting member. 

If you are a NORDP member, and you have comments or concerns about the proposed change to the Bylaws described above, please post your comments here, on the blog. You may also post them to the NORDP listserv. The comment period closes on May 3, 2019. At that time, all comments received will be reviewed and considered by the Board. Thank you for your review and input!

Conference Cameo: Don Takehara

#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. More information at


Who: Don Takehara, Associate Director for Research
Where: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Engineering
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 5 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
How do you unwind? Being with good people!

It is mindboggling that 30+ years ago I received my PhD in Chemical Engineering at takehara-donald-180322.jpgNorthwestern. Where did the time go? These years included 16+ years doing R&D at Dow Chemical, 9 years as a professor at Taylor University, and 5 years in the College of Engineering Office of Research at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

At UIUC I work with faculty to help them move forward with their research. This includes faculty development as well as facilitating large, multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, team science, convergent research efforts leading to centers and institutes.

Building of relationships, collaborating, and networking – this area has been the biggest key to successful research during my entire career. The whole research enterprise would be unsuccessful without this. Not only is relationship-building key for obtaining funding, but it is also key for bringing together the right people, expertise, facilities, support systems, culture, etc.

NORDP is a gem for building key relationships for those doing Research Development. There are many people who have great experience with all aspects of Research Development from many different viewpoints, expertise, experiences, etc. In addition to great sessions where one can learn about various aspects of RD, the NORDP Annual Conference is wonderful for meeting individuals to learn from and collaborate with in the future.

Corporations/industry are becoming increasingly important in the research programs at federal agencies, foundations, etc. As a result, NORDP has an alliance with NACRO – the equivalent of NORDP in the Corporate Relations field. The NORDP Great Lakes Regional Conference will be in Ann Arbor, MI, on Oct. 21, 2019. The interface between research development and corporate relations is being looked at as a part of this conference. This will be a good time to bring research development and corporate relations people together to examine what this interface looks like and how to optimize the efforts. Be on the lookout for more information.


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, 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.