New NORDP Board Member Cameo: Kim Patten

Kim Patten, NORDP Board Member

Who: Kim Patten, Assistant Vice President for Research Development

Where: University of Arizona

Number of Years Working in RD: 15 years

Length of NORDP Membership: Nine years

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

My first position was working for a science-informed nonprofit started by a bunch of astronomers and engineers. I worked on the issue of light pollution, and one of my first assignments was to build a coalition of researchers, nonprofits, and governmental entities. Working with my director at the time, we received NSF funding for a workshop (my first NSF grant!). With preliminary data based on connections made at that workshop, an instrument that was designed and funded by NSF. And that was my introduction to RD, forming teams, getting funding, and sponsoring research (and I was hooked).

I went to graduate school, but stopped at my masters, and then joined the Arizona Geological Survey, running a large Department of Energy center that was nationwide, therefore, logging some frequent flyer miles in the process. I enjoyed working with these teams, providing dedicated support throughout the lifecycle of the research process. With just under a year left on the project, a friend told me the University of Arizona was starting a new department within the research office and encouraged me to apply. And I made the leap. There were better benefits at the university than in my other state job, including parental leave benefits, and better work-life-balance. In all honesty, I’m really happy I made that leap. The transition was difficult as I really loved what I was doing at the Survey, and the people, but here I am!

Today, I engage in a lot of strategic initiatives. I’m one of the primary liaisons for the research office with our federal relations arm. So, I have moved (and this is a Jennifer Lyon Gardener and Jeff Agnoli term) further “left of proposal” in my current efforts than in my previous positions. A lot of what I’m doing these days is leveraging federal relations activities for and toward appropriations and authorizations requests. We’re trying to get ahead of the major research activities authorized in the CHIPS+ Ac and Inflation Reduction Act. My work has transition to more of a strategic direction while others on our team focus on relationship development and proposal development.

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

I’ve been a NORDP member since 2014, first presenting at the annual conference in 2015. I missed 2016 because of the birth of my kiddo, but I’ve been to every one since then. I’ve participated in numerous committees, including the Nominating Committee (NomCom), and the Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC). I’ve also been working to help and support both my institution and NORDP with professional career lines and career development activities. If you look back at some of my conference presentations, you’ll see how I worked with HR to get six lines of professional contributor and five lines of management for my RD team. Now, I’m trying to implement those, which is much easier said than done.

I joined the NomCom in 2015 and served as its chair through the pandemic. I was drawn to serve on SAC because of its focus on partnerships and engaged research. Partnership development, especially at the organizational level, was of particular interest to me, as I was transitioning part of my team into more partnership development, including supporting my leadership as they stood up a societal impacts unit. I was really interested in learning from the organization called Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) about that potential, and that’s how I got recruited to be a NORDP liaison to ARIS. We do now have an Office of Societal Impact at the University of Arizona. It does not report to me, but it’s a parallel office to mine, and we report up to the same VP, which is nice. And we collaborate significantly. All to say, I appreciate NORDP for the personal and professional growth as well as lessons learned from across the organization and with/from other organizations. We are a community of lifelong learners, and it shows.

What motivated you to run for the NORDP Board?

I’ve had my eye on the board for a little while; that’s part of why I wanted to be on NomCom, to see what the process was like. I was serving on another board through 2021, so I felt that I could not feasibly add the commitment, especially one with such a high volunteer load. To serve well takes a significant commitment, and hopefully a commitment that is supported by your employer (mine has been wonderful in supporting me).

My previous board service gave me experience with organizational development and growth, and I can to bring that to NORDP. From a bylaws overhaul to an investment policy, that board work took on a “cleanup” of the organization’s systems and support infrastructure, and I felt that experience would help the NORDP board and NORDP as an organization. That service also provided me with insights into staffing and outsourcing of a small, but mighty, non-profit. I’d argue that NORDP is at a transition point in its growth, and I’m excited to be part of the board that helps us reach the next level of infrastructure and support for our phenomenal community of contributors.

While I hope that my previous board experiences will help, I also hope that my experience in running and leading a comprehensive RD shop is also relevant. One of my goals for my own team is to encompass the four core areas of RD, as defined by NORDP: (1) strategic research advancement, (2) communication of research and research opportunities, (3) enhancement of collaboration/team science, and (4) proposal support functions.

What are you most excited about as a new NORDP Board member?

I am most excited about the fact that we are primed for success. I think the previous boards and the membership have done a great job of building a fantastic community and making sure that RD is a recognized field. I think that we are at that make-or-break moment, and I’m looking forward to helping make it happen. I think that the existing board members are phenomenal and talented individuals. They have been welcoming and have treated me warmly. I also have a board mentor, so that’s fantastic. I’m really looking forward to supporting NORDP to provide the infrastructure that’s needed for future success. I’m a big fan of collective impact and thinking about backbone organizations. Excited to make that happen for NORDP.

NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee Supports Fulbright Specialist and Fulbright Scholar Opportunities

As you consider new RD opportunities this year, members of the Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) offer their support for the Fulbright Specialist and Fulbright Scholar opportunities, such as the short-term International Education Administrators Award (IEAA).

The Fulbright Specialist program sends US academic professionals abroad to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at academic institutions for a period of two to six weeks. The Fulbright Scholar IEAAs are two-week seminars hosted by the Fulbright Commissions in particular countries for higher education professionals to exchange their professions’ best practices with their counterparts abroad.

SAC hosted a webinar on the Fulbright Specialist program in 2022 covering its applicability to RD professional development and its application and selection processes. Fulbright Specialist applications are reviewed every other month.

“If qualified, you’re added to a list, and interested countries can use that to select their chosen specialist,” Kotay explains. “To facilitate the process, it helps to identify the university you’re interested in visiting and research its needs. SAC members can help you with both the proposal development and how to establish connections. Then, when the university makes its application to host a Fulbright Specialist, it can name you, specifically.”

Kotay and Peggy Sundermeyer, Partner, ORG Transitions and a charter member of SAC, are willing to coach NORDP members who might want to explore these Fulbright opportunities. Sundermeyer says she’s motivated by the benefits that Fulbright can bring to the individual, their institution, their host institution, and the broader global research enterprise.

Selected in 2022 for the Fulbright Scholar IEAA in Germany, Kotay networked with German higher education administrators, shared best practices in RD, and learned about the German education system with a focus on the challenges of internationalization in times of crisis.

Fulbright IEAAs offer opportunities to RD professionals to enhance the internalization efforts of their work and share RD best practices that are often practiced differently outside the US.

“What one brings back to their institution is a stronger awareness of how to build partnerships for a variety of educational and research initiatives, plus the prestige of being a Fulbright Scholar,” Kotay says.

Led by the US government in partnership with more than 160 countries worldwide, the broader Fulbright Program offers international educational and cultural exchange programs for students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds to study, teach, or pursue important research and professional projects.

“These Fulbright opportunities can facilitate global research, better understand resource allocation in other countries, and foster excellent career development opportunities,” Sundermeyer says.

A copy of  SAC’s Fulbright Specialist webinar is available in the members-only section of the NORDP website here.

More information about the Fulbright Specialist Program can be found here.

More information about the Fulbright Scholar International Education Administrators Award can be found here.

To explore Fulbright opportunities unique to your situation, send an email to and/or

NORDP Award Highlights Innovation

At the 2022 NORDP Annual Conference, a group of NORDP members were recognized with the 2022 NORDP Innovation Award for their contributions to the research development profession. Before 2022 comes to a close, we celebrate their work that resulted in a valuable resource for research development organizations and individuals: the NORDP Resource for Organizing and ADapting a Training Program toward Developing an RD career (NROAD to RD).

An image of an empty, straight roadway stretching forward. The road is bordered by deciduous trees lit by low, golden sunlight. Beyond the trees on both sides of the road are large, flat farm fields. The photo has.a sense of possibility, hope, and forward progress.
Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash

NROAD to RD was designed to help RD professionals and offices develop internship and training programs to expand the RD community. It brought together representation from each NORDP committee and used crowd-sourcing to identify materials;

Easy to access at, the program provides a framework and growing library of resources. RD offices can access modules and add additional components to create a program relevant to their individual office and institution. While originally developed as an internship/training tool, NROAD to RD serves as an innovative tool that can be adapted for training or onboarding new RD members, or even for professional development. It has already been accessed and used by more than 150 members.

The effort was chaired by Samarpita (Samar) Sengupta, Assistant Professor and Director of Research at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Department of Physician Assistant Studies. She fondly recalls the teamwork that made NROAD to RD possible.

“This effort arose from my work as a Strategic Alliance Committee liaison to the National Postdoc Association, which identified a need for training related to research development for postdoctoral scholars. Working with Peggy Sundermeyer, the chair of SAC, we realized that a centralized approach wouldn’t work. So, we pulled together different perspectives, tapping expertise from NORDP’s various committees.”

The NROAD to RD team leveraged existing resources and created new tools to create an innovative resource will help grow the RD field and community. Their dedication of countless volunteer hours for brainstorming, creating, persevering, and was recognized with the 2022 NORDP Innovation Award. 

Phase 1 piloted in 2018, followed by Phase 2 work focused on implementation and dissemination. In early 2021, the Phase 2 team conducted a survey of users to determine return on investment and identify areas for improvement.

“As opposed to dropping into the storm without a parachute, now postdocs and others can learn about the RD profession and potentially join our growing field,” Sengupta says. “Previously, there was no way for RD offices to provide such information, no training or internship structure to utilize. We filled a gap that people didn’t even realize they had. Many NORDP members are also using this resource for onboarding new employees.”

In addition to Sengupta, NROAD to RD’s Phase I working group included Peggy Sundermeyer, Trinity University; Joanna Downer, Duke University; Page Sorensen, previously at the University of California San Francisco; Sharon Pound, University of Tennessee; Rebecca Latimer, University of Virginia; Nicole Frank, University of Utah; Beth Moser, previously at Maricopa County Community Colleges District; and Sarah Messbauer, University of California, Davis.

The NROAD to RD team now lives under the NORDP Professional Development committee. Phase II WG members include Joanna Downer, Rebecca Latimer, and Samarpita Sengupta from Phase I, with several new members: Danielle Matsushima, Columbia University; Elaine Lee, Boston University; Maile Henson, Duke University; and Alexis Nagel, Medical University of South Carolina. Peggy Sundermeyer; Jacob Levin, Levin Global Group; and Jeff Agnoli, the Ohio State University, provided consulting support as and when needed. 

A “living resource,” NROAD to RD is being continually modified to update materials and add items requested by users. The team is now a working group of the NORDP Professional Development Committee.

Once again, NORDP thanks these tireless RD professionals who made NROAD to RD possible. Visit the Professional Development Committee website to learn more and access this and other online RD resources.

Dresbeck’s Initiative Recognized with 2022 NORDP Fellows Award

Long before NORDP was established in 2010, Rachel Dresbeck was bringing her creativity and initiative to research development in Oregon. As one of NORDP’s earliest members and most dedicated volunteers, she was designated the 2022 NORDP Fellow at our organization’s annual conference in May.

2022 NORDP Fellow Rachel Dresbeck, Senior Director of Research Development at Oregon Health & Science University

The NORDP Fellow designation recognizes the long-term accomplishments of members who have made sustained contributions to NORDP and worked tirelessly to advance research development as a profession. Status as a NORDP Fellow is the highest professional distinction the organization may bestow on a member.

Rachel is Senior Director of Research Development at Oregon Health & Science University, where she has worked since 2004. Having served eight years (2013–2021) on NORDP’s Board of Directors, she is known to be a voice for a practical approach and to diffuse conflict with her calm but direct manner. In 2014, she received the Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski NORDP Service Award given in recognition of outstanding service to NORDP and to the RD profession. She chaired and hosted the 2014 conference in Portland, where she introduced networking dinners and the Idea Showcase. She has also served in leadership capacities on NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) and Communications Working Group, among numerous other roles. 

When asked what her best work for NORDP has been to date, she mentions two primary areas – the SAC and the Leadership Forum. “I’m especially devoted to SAC and to figuring out how to engage and retain leaders at NORDP through opening new ways for them to develop professionally,” she says. She considers strategic alliances to be critical for NORDP’s organizational growth and development, allowing NORDP to be a player in the national and international research space. NORDP’s Leadership Forum, which she helped create with NORDP members Gretchen Kiser and Jennifer Lyon Gardner, launched in 2017. This emerging program creates a dedicated space for experienced RD professionals to discuss emerging RD trends and the research landscape more broadly.

Rachel is especially keen on collaboration and often considers her role as a clearinghouse for worthy information. Working with Oregon colleagues, she established the Oregon Research Development Group, which connects diverse institutions across the state. “What NORDP has taught me is that it helps to band together. If you find a buddy, there’s nothing you can’t do,” she says.

She remembers the early days when 100 people turned out to attend the second NORDP conference in Chicago—and she realized she had found her people.  Now, with more than 1,000 members, the organization has grown tremendously. “We can’t recognize everyone’s accomplishments enough,” she says, acknowledging that she was among a group of NORDP members to conceive NORDP’s awards program.  

Rachel’s RD career has its roots in communications. With a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, she started out teaching college English composition. In 1998, she heard that an institute at the local medical school wanted someone to help them with writing and editing their papers and proposals. She started working with postdocs, then with a faculty member on an NIH R01.

“I had some grant writing experience, but not NIH. So, I got hold of a successful R01 sample, deconstructed it; re-engineered the proposal, and got the funding,” she recalls. She established her own science writing and editing business—eventually, she had so much work that she had to either find someone else to pay the overhead or hire staff, which would take her away from the thing she loved the most: helping scientists bring their science to life. So, in 2004, she joined OHSU full-time. Today, she has a faculty appointment and teaches science writing and proposal writing. She supports researchers with proposal development and other areas of training, such as a workshop called “People Management for Principal Investigators.” She also runs internal funding programs for OHSU, as well as advising senior research leadership on strategic research initiatives.

Rachel is the 16th NORDP leader to be designated a Fellow. A full list of NORDP Fellows is available here

Liaison News: Research Development and the International Forum on Expert Finders Systems Call for Conference Proposals

Jeff Agnoli, Senior Liaison, Office of Corporate Partnerships, The Ohio State University, is serving on the Conference Steering Committee for the International Expert Finders System Forum, April 5 & 6, 2023 in Coral Gables Miami, Florida. He will be a keynote presenter in part because of his research development responsibilities and his role in building a sustainable future for the Ohio Innovation Exchange, This year’s theme is Connecting the Dots, which is something RD professionals do every day!

Agnoli will feature the various ways RD professionals use tools to build interdisciplinary teams, assist with identifying mentors, fostering innovation, building corporate partnerships, and driving economic development. He invites other NORDP members to consider submitting a call for conference proposals and share their institution’s unique use of these emerging tools. Presentations, panels, or posters can address how each college/university leverages these platforms to provide strategic/competitive intelligence, enhance the proposal development process, etc.

“I believe it is time for the RD community to do what we do best, i.e., leverage our relationships across the campus and advance the use of these tools,” he says. “Every day, we build partnerships with our colleagues in the libraries, information technology, communications, foundations/corporate relations, and technology transfer, to promote our faculty, enhance their research impact, and build our institutional reputation.”

Contact Agnoli at if you have questions or interest in collaborating on a poster, presentation, or panel discussion featuring your institution’s unique adoption of these types of platforms.

The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) is the essential gateway for university scholars and business/industry seeking to build partnerships. Visitors enjoy access to more than 10,000 experts, research equipment/services, and patents to drive innovation and increase economic development. Every week thousands of people from across the globe visit the to discover new opportunities and promote research discoveries.

Liaison News Roundup

The resources and opportunities below are presented on behalf of NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC).

Overseas Research Centers’ Faculty Development Seminars: The Council of American Overseas Research Centers’ upcoming faculty development seminars to India, Mexico, and Senegal are now accepting applications. Note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the seminars to India and Senegal were postponed and will now take place in winter, while the seminar to Mexico will take place in Spring 2023.  CAORC offers fully funded overseas seminars that help faculty and administrators at US community colleges and minority-serving institutions gain international experience with the aim of developing and improving international courses, curricula, and teaching materials at their home institutions. To learn more, visit their website.

Team Science Resources: The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) has an online set of resources that will be of value to many NORDP members.  Dr. Margaret Palmer, director of SESYNC, was a keynote speaker at the SciTS 2022 conference (, where she shared the important collaborative and interdisciplinary research they’ve been doing.  This set of resources is part of SESYNC’s new website ( that contains a vast collection of lessons and learning materials for the classroom, videos, case studies, data lessons and guides, explainer articles, and more. The materials cover a range of unique and innovative topics, including the science of team science.  They will continue to add to this collection to help those at all career stages to engage in socio-environmental and interdisciplinary research.

Expert Finder Systems Sets April 2023 Forum Date: On April 5 and 6, 2023, at the University of Miami Expo Center in Coral Gables, Florida, this Expert Finder Systems in-person event will bring together the research information management system community — practitioners, open-source tools, vendors, and researchers — to advance this rapidly evolving field. NORDP’s own Jeff Agnoli, Senior Liaison Strategic Partnerships at The Ohio State University, is helping plan the forum as a member of the Steering Committee. He says the great weather, gorgeous venue, and vibrant community make this event worth adding to your calendar! Registration and hotel details will be coming soon.

Last Call for ARIS/NORDP Senior Fellow Program!

ARIS (Advancing Research Impact on Society) is inviting nominations for four Senior Fellow positions. Nominations are due August 5, 2022. The application process can be accessed here.

Senior Fellows will serve as co-chairs in one of two priority areas:

  1. Preparing the next generation of researchers for impact. This group will synthesize the best available evidence, practical knowledge and tools to effectively support graduate engagement and education to advance research impacts. Selected Fellows are likely to have experience developing graduate curricula, innovating graduate programming or mentoring, supporting graduate student grantsmanship, and/or engaging graduate students through professional societies and organizations.
  2. Spotlight on minority-serving institutions. This group will use a journalistic approach to identify, investigate, and broadly share stories of broader impacts leadership from faculty, students, and staff at MSIs. They will interrogate the individual and institutional mechanisms of success and explore the promise of future broader impacts leadership at MSIs. This priority area is funded and designed in partnership with the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP).

Nominees for these leadership roles should have a deep knowledge of the current conditions, practices, and policies shaping graduate education or the research enterprise at MSIs. In addition to a CV, nominees will be asked to provide a brief statement (no more than 400 words) describing their:

  • interest in and experience related to the priority area; and
  • initial thinking on how they would lead a team of Fellows to pursue the project.

Senior Fellows will also participate in recruiting, reviewing, and selecting Fellows who will be invited to work on a collaborative team (September – November 2022). The program will run through the 2023 calendar year. Senior Fellows will be supported by the ARIS team throughout the process and expected to co-chair monthly team meetings and work sessions and provide guidance and mentorship to Fellows as they work to deliver a high-quality resource to the research community. Senior Fellows will also represent the team and the ARIS Fellows program at national meetings such as the Annual ARIS Summit or NORDP Annual Conference.

INORMS 2023 Abstracts Due Sept. 1

The International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) is taking its 2023 Congress to Durban, South Africa, May 30-June 2, 2023. Abstracts from NORDP members and others are invited, and the deadline is Sept. 1, 2022. The 2023 Congress theme is: “Toward a Utopia in Research and Innovation Management.”

Conference sub-themes include:

  • The current state of research and innovation management
  • Emerging trends in research and innovation management
  • Funding responsible research and innovation for global impact
  • Measuring research and innovation impact
  • Professionalization and capacity development in research and innovation management

The Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) will host the 2023 INORMS Congress. SARIMA is a membership organization for research and innovation professionals and managers. Its purpose is to strengthen research and innovation (R&I) in Southern Africa and ensure that there is social and economic development of the region. SARIMA’s key focus areas include research management, innovation and technology transfer, and Africa engagement. 

Visit  for more information

Q&A with Research Information Management System Providers

The first of three free events in the 2022 Expert Finder Systems Forum Webinar Series is open for registration.

On Thurs., Jul. 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the webinar will present an overview of the complex research information management (RIM) ecosystem, including high-level definitions and use cases. RIM systems are a growing area of investment for research institutions, and this webinar will engage a panel of RIM system providers to describe their offerings, goals, and product strengths.

For more information, visit

Shared by the NORDP Strategic Alliances Committee.

NORDP 2022 Plenary: Estrada Focuses on Kindness-Affirming Inclusion

Mica Estrada, NORDP April 28 Plenary Speaker

When someone is kind, they support the dignity of another person. When mentors are kind, they convey a sense of safety, which is good for learning, retention, and attention. NORDP conference attendees will learn more about the benefits of kindness and tips to bring new perspectives on kindness to our work.

“Kindness affirms inclusion,” says Dr. Mica Estrada, Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California at San Francisco’s School of Nursing. She will be the NORDP 2022 conference plenary speaker at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on Thurs., Apr. 28, discussing “Why Kindness Is Important when Mentoring in an Interconnected World.”

As a social psychologist, Estrada studies how people integrate into their field. “We look at how quality mentorship helps students feel they can do the science, develop their identity as scientists, and how they share community values,” she explains.

Estrada says kindness has always been at the forefront of her scholarship. “At about four years old, my first memory was when a US ship went into Chinese water. I remember thinking, will there be a war, why do we hurt each other?” She continues thinking about that later question in her research, and chooses to focus on how people connect to each other, and specifically on kindness as the solution.

She compares her passion for kindness in mentoring to tending a garden. “Instead of spending time pulling weeds, I decided to put effort into growing what we want to reduce the space for the things we don’t want to grow,” she says.

Estrada will share findings from her years of research with NORDP conference attendees, highlighting results that are relevant to mentoring students and faculty or working with other research development colleagues.

“We’ll be talking about ‘quality mentorship’,” she says. The first focus is on instrumental support, or the “nuts and bolts” activities, such as how to access physical spaces or scholarly journals. This will differ in each situation. The second focus is on psycho-social support, such as empathy, listening, and emotional presence. Again, the details will differ based on the relationship, but the concept is important.

Estrada’s research is well funded by the NSH, NIH, and HHMI. She says she finds grantwriting to be a creative, labor-intensive challenge as she explains what she wants to explore while being concrete and persuasive. She draws upon past experiences with non-profit groups and work with development officers. She is also engaged in community-service roles, serving on the National Research Council Committee’s Roundtable on the Future of STEM Education; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus study on Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM Organizations; and a NASA Minority University Research and Education Programs advisory committee.

Estrada focuses her research and time on understanding how to increase inclusion and equity in our education system.  Her research methods identify educational interventions that facilitate integration into a community and increased engagement in the normative behaviors of that community for all students. She encourages us all to amplify what we want within our academic and professional environment, and she sees ample opportunity to do this.

“We’re at an interesting time in history,” she suggests. “COVID has shaken up the way we work. There’s an opportunity to not go back, but to go forward in a way that serves us as human beings.”

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2022 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.