NORDP’s International Collaboration

Karen Eck, Ph.D. and Gretchen Kiser, Ph.D. presented an online workshop, Research Development: Contextual and Relational Approaches to Institutional Research Support, in early December 2021 to research management professionals in India as part of IRMI, or India Research Management Initiative, an initiative of the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance for strengthening institutional support for research in India. Reflecting on the experience of delivering a workshop outside of typical work hours (2:00 AM PST in this case!), Kiser commented that “although engaging with international partners may involve odd hours, it is nonetheless interesting and exciting.”

The opportunity came about after Savita Ayyar, Ph.D., a consultant leading the IRMI initiative, attended a talk given by Eck, Kiser and Jacob Levin, Ph.D. during the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) conference in Spring 2021. After the conference, Ayyar inquired after an interactive workshop offering for the recently formed IRMI network, who hosted their first conference in January 2021.

Research Administration (RA) is in its early stages in India and is growing with new careers in both research development (RD) and RA. Ayyar says, “India has tremendous opportunities for team science, and Research Development can play an important role in nurturing these large-scale collaborations.  The April 2021 INORMS workshop by NORDP colleagues provided excellent examples of how team science could be professionally facilitated and how to hire people and build local capacity for this purpose. This motivated me to connect with Dr Eck and Dr Kiser, to explore possibilities for a joint workshop for our colleagues in India. We kept in touch and it was wonderful to see the workshop taking place later in the year.”

At the virtual December IRMI workshop, a first of its kind for NORDP, over 40 people from a variety of Indian university, research and private sector settings participated. They explored a variety of RD roles through interactive simulations with small group discussions that highlighted RD contextual and relational approaches, skills, and activities employed in cross-campus and cross-sector partnerships. 

NORDP joined INORMS in July 2020 and is committed to engaging an international audience and partnering with sister organizations around the world to provide professional development opportunities to its 1000+ membership. International engagement is led by the Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) through its International Working Group and NORDP Liaison program. If you are interested to learn more, please contact SAC co-chair, Karen Eck, at keck@odu.edu.

Dr. Savita Ayyar is currently leading Jaquaranda Tree, an independent consultancy service she founded in 2017 that is aimed at supporting organizations with their research management needs. Prior to this she built an RD office about eight years ago at the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in India. She describes the experience as a “once in a lifetime opportunity that was tremendously rewarding.”

Dr. Karen Eck is Assistant Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. She holds a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and completed a post-doc in psycho- and neurolinguistics at the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada. Eck served on the NORDP Board of Directors from 2015-2019, as President in 2018-2019, and currently co-leads the Strategic Alliances Committee and represents NORDP on the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Council. She was selected in 2020 as a PEERD Expert, consulting individually and in teams for colleges and universities seeking institutional assessment of research development programs, best practices and capacity building. In 2021, she was honored with a NORDP Fellow designation to recognize her sustained contributions to NORDP and the practice and field of research development.

Dr. Gretchen Kiser is the Executive Director of the Research Development Office (RDO) at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and a long-time research development professional. She holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Kiser has been a member of NORDP since 2012 and served on the NORDP Board of Directors from 2014 – 2018 and as its President from 2016 – 2017. She serves as co-chair of both NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Strategic Alliances Committee. She was honored in 2020 as a NORDP Fellow and in 2021 with NORDP’s Leadership Award, which recognizes exceptional leadership and/or a deep commitment to volunteerism in ways that advance the profession and field of research development.

NORDP currently has 67 international members and has recently become part of a new initiative, the

INORMS Sister Association Reciprocal Benefit Strategy (ISARBS).  This will allow participating members of the INORMS community of research management associations to benefit from discounted rates on certain events, publications and other products offered by other associations in the international INORMS community

If you are a member of a participating INORMS association outside of North America, NORDP is happy to offer you the member rate for our annual Conference registration.  Please visit https://www.nordp.org/overseas-partners for details on ISARBS and participation in NORDP’s conference April 24-28, 2022.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell & Sharon Pound from the Communications Working Group

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