NORDP Pacific Hosts Inaugural Meeting in Davis, CA

For NORDP’s Pacific Region VII, October 2019 marked the first regional conference occurring outside of the national annual conference. The event was hosted by the University of California, Davis on October 24th and 25th. The opportunity to meet regionally drew 75 participants from varied and diverse organizations of higher education, national laboratories, medical centers, research institutes, industry, and independent consultancies across the Western region.

The conference theme was “Leveraging Strengths in the West: Diversity, Excellence, and Partnership.” The Planning Subcommittee developed a two-day agenda focused on extending professional networks, establishing new partnerships, and sharing knowledge of best practices, processes, strategies within the research development (RD) field. Review session descriptions and contributing presenters within the event’s full agenda.

Keynote speaker, Mark Lagrimini, Vice Provost of Research and Extension, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, opened the meeting by embarking on a conversation highlighting the current federal funding trend, and how institutions in higher-education can position themselves to advance research efforts by making institutional investments into research enhancing activities, such as RD. A panel discussion, “Responding to Change: Sustaining Research Development in the Current and Future Funding Environment,” continued this conversation by looking at how research development can position institutions to respond to changing funding environments, and how RD offices implement sustainability best practices to help meet long-term operational goals. Day 1 also offered engaging presentation sessions on strategies for developing complex proposals, gathering competitive intelligence, professional development tactics to consider at each career stage, and strategies for coordinating large center grants. The day concluded with a tour of the UC Davis Manetti Shrem Museum and networking dinners setup around the presentation and breakout session topics planned for Day 2.

On Day 2, an opening panel session, “Seizing the Road Less Traveled: A Panel Discussion on Alternative Career Paths in Research Development,” introduced several alternative career paths for RD work outside the university setting. The panel was followed by interactive presentations, roundtables, or breakout sessions covering strategies for fostering research collaborations, cross-campus partnerships, creating a culture of grantsmanship at predominantly undergraduate and teaching institutions, creating workshops ideas for faculty and trainee proposal writers, building faculty and RD professional resilience, and using Airtable as a project management tool.

NORDP Pac Picture1.png
Regional meeting attendees represented diverse institutions from Pacific region which encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington as well as British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China.

The agenda also included knowledge-sharing and networking beyond the meeting sessions. A lunch activity solicited insight from attendees on the best resources (books, websites, tools) used to facilitate RD work and build multidisciplinary teams. The event also allowed time for participants to engage and network with organizations actively recruiting during a Career Opportunities activity.

The conference closed with an open forum on how NORDP can continue to promote regional engagement throughout the year as well as capturing reflection thoughts on the conference’s timing, frequency, format, and setting.  There is excitement to continue holding regional meetings, find other ways to connect, and begin planning what the region may want to build towards in the future.

NORDP PAc Picture2
Katie Lindl, Proposal Manager, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory wins one of six raffle prizes.

The meeting’s regional setting introduced NORDP to 36 newcomers, nearly half of the attendees. The conference was an excellent venue for showcasing the benefits of NORDP while also giving face to names for those serving together on committees through NORDP. Sharon Franks, Senior Director, Research Proposal Development Service at University of California, San Diego commented, “It was a pleasure to hear from and meet so many new folks, as well as to reconnect with those who’d previously attended NORDP conferences.”

NORDP and the Pacific Region thanks all who attended the conference, and contributed to planning and delivering amazing sessions on both days. Thank you also to the members of the Planning Subcommittee, which consists of Crystal Botham, Stanford University; Vanity Campbell, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources; Susan Emerson, Oregon State University; Mike Gallo, University of California, Irvine; Sarah Messbauer, University of California, Davis; Monica Vidal, Stanford University.

Submitted by Vanity Campbell, NORDP Pacific

Academic Medicine Member Cameo: Krista Kezbers

Who: Krista Kezbers Ph.D., Research Development Specialist
Where: University of Oklahoma – Tulsa School of Community Medicine
Number of Years in RD: 2.5 years
Length of NORDP Membership: 1.5 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?KezbersHeadshot

I, like many others, got into research development more or less “on accident.” After my PhD, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research, but I have always had a passion and drive for helping. I found a job as a research development specialist that really combined both research and helping perfectly! I currently consult with faculty, residents, and medical students on potential research projects, assist with research question development, methodology, and statistical design. I also run statistics for research projects and work on manuscript development. Our office as a whole works together on finding, assisting, and submitting grants as well.

What makes working at an academic medicine institution unique?

Working with faculty or students in academic medicine creates an interesting and unique environment. We know that the primary responsibility of academic clinicians is to take great care of their patients while maintaining a high level of knowledge and expertise. We work with these faculty and students to assist them in advancing their research goals while keeping in mind that research may be a smaller part of their career than a traditional faculty member. Academic clinicians are just as passionate about their research areas, but may need additional guidance and support.

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

My boss, Heather McIntosh, first introduced me to NORDP in 2017. She explained it as a community of people who are “just like us” and she was right! We have presented posters together and attended both the 2018 and 2019 NORDP conferences. Last year we started the Academic Medicine/Affiliated Medical Center special interest group in order to find other NORDP members in the community.

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

Being a part of NORDP has provided such a high level of resources and connections. Having the list-serv is a constant reminder that research development professionals truly care about helping each other. I have found that we can reach out to any number of NORDP members just to chat or to get advice/feedback and it has been a welcome addition to my knowledge base. We have also met so many people through the monthly AMC special interest group calls.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

I think in research development it is easy to feel “siloed” because there are not many other people in your local community that do what you do. Being a part of NORDP has allowed me to make connections, but more importantly learn and grow from other RDP’s that I look up to in the field. I feel more confident as a research development professional due to the education and resources available from NORDP.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from academic medicine contexts?

It is nice to have research development conversations with others who understand the medical setting. For me specifically, other academic medicine research development professional have bene able to provide me with situation-specific advice, which I am very grateful to have received.

What recommendations do you have for members – particularly RDPs working in an academic medicine setting – to get more involved with NORDP?

Take a great idea or research project from your office and submit it for presentation at the next NORDP conference. Presenting at NORDP is a great venue for making connections while learning more about the profession.

The Academic Medicine Special Interest Group was created in 2018 with the goal of providing resources and professional development opportunities for research development professionals (RDPs) working with clinician-researchers/educators in an academic medicine or affiliated medical center setting. Often times, RDPs working with clinical faculty face unique challenges including working with researchers who have less formal research training and less protected time to conduct research. With this in mind, our group meets monthly via Zoom to discuss the challenges and successes we face working in this research environment. If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Heather McIntosh at heather-mcintosh@ouhsc.edu. You can also join our Circle, Academic Medicine/Affiliated Medical Center.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.

NORDP Webinar: What You Need to Know About the NIGMS MIRA (R35) Program

Date: Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019

Time: 1:00 pm ET

Title: What You Need to Know About the NIGMS MIRA (R35) Program

Abstract: The NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) eventually intends to support most individual investigators through the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) R35 program. This presentation will provide research development professionals with a quick understanding of NIGMS’ goals and vision for the program, the program requirements, and the application format. The presentation will include updates from the recently released PAR for the Established Investigator program and NOT for the Early Stage Investigator program.

Presenter: Rebecca Terns, University of Georgia; terns@uga.edu

Registration Link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uYx2RvYhR_aFvWUq5MzmMQ

Announcing New NORDP Membership Categories

I am pleased to announce that the NORDP Board of Directors has approved two new categories of NORDP membership: Trainee and Emeritus. This step is consistent with our goals to: 1) create a pipeline for new members, and 2) retain the expertise and commitment of active members who wish to continue to participate in NORDP after retirement. Many thanks to NORDP’s Member Services Committee for their thoughtful proposal and recommendations to the Board that resulted in this exciting development, especially to Samar Sengupta and Maile Henson.

Click here for details on Trainee and Emeritus Memberships: https://www.nordp.org/membership

Sincerely,

Karen “Fletch” Fletcher
NORDP President

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.

Academic Medicine Member Cameo: Jessica Moon

Who: Jessica Moon, Ph.D.
Where: University of Arizona
Number of Years in RD: 3
Length of NORDP Membership: 3

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Moon - NORDP Photo 2019.jpg

Early in graduate school, I realized that, instead of remaining at the bench, I wanted to combine my scientific background with my expertise in writing consultation. By happenstance, I attended a presentation by the grant proposal manager at my institution and knew it was the right fit. She introduced me to NORDP, and I began networking to determine how its members started in RD, their backgrounds, and skillsets, etc. to carve out a career development plan for myself. I was a scientific/technical editor of biomedical manuscripts for an editing company for a few years and then eventually started a small freelance business providing writing consultations on scientific proposals and manuscripts for research faculty. After obtaining my PhD, I moved to Arizona to be with my husband and obtained my current position as a Research Development Associate at the University of Arizona. As the biomedical science expert in our unit, I primarily support proposal development for the five health science colleges at UA—the College of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), the College of Nursing, the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Public Health.

What makes working at an academic medicine institution unique?

Academic medicine institutions seems to have a lot of siloed units, which makes it difficult to determine the effective lines of communication. Sometimes the lines are really obscure, such as a group of faculty that go running every day from 12–1 pm. Thus, institutional knowledge is construed as “insider information.” Moreover, the distinction between the medical center and the affiliated institution is sometimes blurry, which makes it difficult for faculty to determine where to find the right support in developing their research programs.

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

I attended many of the NORDP NE regional meetings before finally attending my first NORDP National meeting in Denver, CO.

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

When I moved to AZ, I wanted to stay involved in NORDP, so I looked up local members on the directory. I reached out to the Director of UA Research Development Services, Kim Patten, and learned that the unit was hiring for my current position. “The job posting closes tomorrow”—it was the quickest CV and cover letter I’ve ever written.

I recently became involved with the Affiliated Medical Centers (AMC) affinity group and have been impressed and enthused by the caliber of discussion and willingness of its participants to share knowledge.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

As mentioned above, the NORDP community was very welcoming and supportive of my career goals. The numerous discussions with fellow members allowed me to carve out a successful career path to RD. I am excited to be involved in the AMC group and attend the NORDP National 2020.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from academic medicine contexts?

NORDP is the primary venue to learn and share best practices about RD. It’s helpful to hear how different RD units tackle the same goals in unique ways depending on the needs/structure of their institution.

What recommendations do you have for members – particularly RDPs working in an academic medicine setting — to get more involved with NORDP?

The NORDP Regional meetings are a good place to start if you are in an area that has regular meetings outside of NORDP National, because they’re smaller and, thus, easier to network and find opportunities for becoming involved. At the national level, the Peer Mentoring Group and the affinity groups are helpful for building relationships and starting to think strategically about advancing career goals and best practices to support faculty.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.

Past President Update: Karen Eck Keynotes RADPN

NORDP Immediate Past President Karen Eck, Ph. D., provided keynote remarks for The Research Advancement and Development Professionals Network (RADPN) fall mini-conference at the University of Minnesota on October 14, 2019.

Karen also led an interactive workshop entitled, Research Development in Action, which looked at the definitions of research development (RD) and research administration (RA) and their overlap in enhancing sponsored research. The workshop presented different institutional models and RD office structures that are centralized, decentralized, and a hybrid with traditional RA models. Through interactive large and small group discussions, attendees experienced research development “in action” through a series of research enterprise simulations meant to highlight RD skills and activities in different contexts.Eck-2018-portrait-NORDP 2018_3955.jpg

Ellen Freeman, Associate Director in the Office of Research Policy in the College of Education & Human Development at the University of Minnesota, shared these thoughts on Karen’s participation:

“We were delighted to host Karen for our fall conference. As a university, we’ve historically focused on research administration as opposed to research development, and participants were excited to have the opportunity for training in RD. One associate dean for research commented that Karen’s keynote really helped him to grasp the difference between RA and RD and how they work together. I heard many appreciative comments throughout the day, and have already received several emails asking when we’ll do it again.”

In her position as Assistant Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, Karen leads five RD staff with oversight of intramural funding programs, limited submissions, faculty workshops, and proposal support functions for faculty and administrators across Old Dominion’s six colleges. She also interfaces with internal and external entities in support of Research Development (RD) and policy, research strategic planning and partnerships, and regional and other initiatives on behalf of the Office of Research.

Institutions seeking keynote presenters on topics, such as research development in action and the future federal research funding landscape can reach out to peerd@nordp.org.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.

Academic Medicine Member Cameo: Elaine Lee

Who: Elaine Lee Ph. D, Proposal Development Grant Strategist
Where: Boston University School of Medicine
Number of Years in RD: 2.5
Length of NORDP Membership: 2

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?Elaine Lee headshot-bw-1024x1024.png

After I finished my Ph.D. and postdoc in Biomedical Engineering, I began looking for traditional academic research professor jobs. During the course of my search, I realized I did not enjoy the repetitiveness of research and I needed more frequent and concrete deadlines. In undergrad, I had matriculated as an English major and worked at a scientific publications department at a hospital, so I started looking for jobs that married the two fields, like scientific editing, and ran across some consulting work and positions for grant writing. I have always enjoyed the idea generation aspect of research, and I am glad to have found a way to help people tell their own stories related to their research ideas.

I started at the Boston University School of Medicine in 2017 and currently serve as the Grant Strategist, assisting faculty with proposal development. I help new faculty, particularly ones for who English is not a first language. I assist them in shaping and crafting their scientific narratives as well as filling in logic gaps in their proposals.

What makes working at an academic medicine institution unique?

We work with clinicians who have to bring in funds from seeing patients in addition to their research responsibilities. As a result, we compete for their time to dedicate to research. They want to do things in a particular way according to a particular formula because that is the way they have been trained and have always done things, but research doesn’t follow a linear path. Many of them also have not formally been trained in how to formulate hypotheses. They have ideas about what they want to do, but they struggle with trying to scientifically justify and explain why it is necessary to research the problem and how they will perform a study or experimental design.

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

I joined NORDP prior to the 2018 conference and shortly thereafter learned about and joined the Academic Medicine Committee led by Heather McIntosh. I also joined the Phase II NROAD initiative led by Samar Sengupta this past year.

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

I have engaged with many colleagues throughout the Midwest and West Coast as a result of my involvement with NORDP. Joanna Downer has been a lifeline for me and she has shared her perspective on how to deal with challenges that I have faced, especially those unique to medical schools. I have also forged strong bonds with Heather McIntosh and Krista Kezbers through the Academic Medicine Committee’s efforts.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP has given me a great deal of confidence as I have learned that many of us are having similar experiences as we forge a path through this new field. It has provided me a way to get instant feedback from RD professionals going through the same struggles. It has also been nice to be able to crowdsource materials like the NROAD guide created by Samar. I hope to be able to use that as groundwork to expand our operation here at Boston University.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from academic medicine contexts?

We work with a population that is very checklist minded. NORDP can provide guidance on how to help faculty without doing all of the work for them. It can also help you to determine when to let them face things without you and move beyond hand holding. NORDP can also help you strategize how to involve your higher ups to get their buy in when you are pitching your plans to your home institution.

What recommendations do you have for members – particularly RDPs working in an academic medicine setting — to get more involved with NORDP?

I would say to find something that aligns with your duties and jump in! My committee involvement has truly helped me learn my role in academic medicine and allowed me to now share my experience to help others. The interactions with like-minded people who  know what you are going through has been extremely helpful. I encourage you to check out the Academic Medicine Special Interest group to see if it might work for you!

The Academic Medicine Special Interest Group was created in 2018 with the goal of providing resources and professional development opportunities for research development professionals (RDPs) working with clinician-researchers/educators in an academic medicine or affiliated medical center setting. Often times, RDPs working with clinical faculty face unique challenges including working with researchers who have less formal research training and less protected time to conduct research. With this in mind, our group meets monthly via Zoom to discuss the challenges and successes we face working in this research environment. If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Heather McIntosh at heather-mcintosh@ouhsc.edu. You can also join our Circle, Academic Medicine/Affiliated Medical Center.

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

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.