New Board Member Cameo: Anne Maglia


Who: Anne Maglia, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Where: University of Massachusetts Lowell
Number of Years in RD: 12
Length of NORDP Membership: 4.5

When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

Prior to my role at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, I spent six years at the National Science Foundation, as a science adviser and program director. The majority of my work at NSF was RD related, things like helping people write grants and managing portfolios of funding.  Also, with my research in bioinformatics and evolutionary biology, I had my own successes in grant writing and funding.

My current position encompasses four main areas: research integrity, research administration, research communications, and research development. The RD core includes a small team that facilitates team science and large proposal development, runs faculty development events, and develops social media, written communication, and on-campus events about research.  We also oversee the internal seed funding programs and assign contracted grant writers for our faculty. In addition, I provide administrative oversight for about 24 centers and institutes.  As a certified project management professional (PMP), my background in project management comes out no matter what, especially as we work in RD to bring together groups of people strategically and efficiently.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

When I first joined UMass Lowell, I saw so much opportunity to help the Research and Innovation group build our funding portfolio. I wanted to leverage my knowledge of federal agencies and funding priorities, and upon joining NORDP and reading more about RD, I worked with Julie Chen, my boss, the Vice Chancellor for Research to centralize and formalize our research development activities. It took about a year, and we created a new unit called Research Support Services and hired into four new positions.

My roles with NORDP largely include presenting at meetings and mentoring; I have two mentees this year. I’ve presented several times at NORDP’s annual conference and NE Region meetings, and my group co-hosted the virtual regional meetings this year. Since joining NORDP, I’ve generally become more active in advocating for research development; for example, I’ve developed a three-week summer writing course, several grant writing workshops, and a website with short videos such as “How to Talk to Program Officers,” and “How to Write Your Synergistic Activity Section” that have been well received

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

My NORDP relationships have been built through involvement with the NE Region group, especially leaders like Kathy Cataneo who has been an incredible mentor to me, and meeting NORDP members like Sharon Pound at the annual conference. Sharon presented a poster on project management in RD, and I was so excited to see another PMP that we started talking immediately, and subsequently co-presented a workshop at the 2019 annual conference. Going to meetings, jumping into committees, giving collaborative presentations, and working in small groups has been very easy. Everyone in NORDP is so dang friendly and very supportive!

Presenting at the project management workshop with Sharon gave us both a lot of visibility. I met a lot of NORDP colleagues after that, which, as an introvert, is not very easy!  I’ve come to be an evangelist for using formalized project management skills in RD because of the opportunities it presents. There’s such a close link between RD and PM, and as careers shift, the project management skills can provide opportunities. This year I developed and taught a course in the UMass Lowell Project Management Certificate program on Project Management for Researchers, which had about 20 researchers and RD professionals enrolled.

What are you most excited about as a board member?

NORDP introduced me to the finer aspects of the field of research development. Although I had been doing RD, I didn’t know I was doing RD until I joined NORDP.  I want to help with outreach to other professionals who are doing RD but may not know about NORDP. I spent time as faculty at smaller institutions where people were doing RD without knowing it.  NORDP has further opportunities for inclusion and equity by reaching out to those schools where vice provosts, deans, center directors, project managers, and department chairs are doing the RD and could benefit from our NORDP community and resources.

While I haven’t been a member of NORDP for long, I felt that serving on the Board now, while my NSF experiences are still fresh in my mind and my relationships are still strong, provided a unique opportunity to build partnerships. There is a lot of overlap with the best practices promoted by NSF and NORDP, and we should explore opportunities to build closer connections with federal funders by collaborating with them on joint workshops, webinars, and trainings.

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Communications Working Group

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.

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