Strategic Alliances Committee Update: Volunteers Needed

One of the first committees to exist within NORDP, the Strategic Alliances Committee builds mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations to strengthen NORDP’s position in the global research enterprise and benefit NORDP members. To continue this work, the committee is actively recruiting volunteers in two areas:

1) Liaisons – The NORDP website describes this long-standing program that taps NORDP members to gather and share relevant and useful information as part of a broad and strategic outreach program. More than 20 NORDP members are currently engaged as liaisons, and more are needed to connect with various professional societies, federal agencies, and other organizations that are potential sources of collaboration and professional development for NORDP members. If you’re interested in serving as a liaison, please contact Karen Eck at

2) Communications – With dozens of liaisons gathering vital information, the committee is looking for members to help disseminate that information. This might include contacting liaisons and drafting blog posts, establishing a calendar of liaison partner events, or assisting with NORDP presentations made at liaison partner events. If you’re interested in helping with this, please contact Sharon Pound at

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 2021 Plenary

NSF’s Sethuraman Panchanathan Builds New Partnerships to Drive Research

Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan

For more than 70 years, the National Science Foundation has been powering discovery and innovation across the entire range of fundamental science and engineering research and education. As NSF’s 15th Director, Sethuraman Panchanathan sees extraordinary opportunities ahead for the research community to build on that legacy.

When he presents his plenary session, titled “Strengthening the Symbiosis of Exploratory and Translational Research @ Speed & Scale,” on Mon., May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to noon (EDT), he will share his insights on the future of research and the vital role for research development in that future.

“The framework for seeding bold, large-scale innovative research with meaningful societal impact is part of the DNA of NSF,” Panchanathan says. “Research development is integral to both NSF’s success and how we foster success in the research community. It’s about building the capacity and tools to advance knowledge more efficiently, and about building platforms and ecosystems that spur innovation.”

He notes that research development has sped up the pace of science and engineering, enabling researchers to make more discoveries and bigger breakthroughs faster than ever before.

“When I talk about my vision for strengthening the research enterprise at speed and scale, that’s also a strategic vision for expanding research development. Because our future success is going to depend on the investments we make in people, platforms, and partnerships. We need to strengthen the research community by reaching the tremendous talent that exists throughout this nation,” he says. He especially hopes to reach the “Missing Millions,” those with STEM capabilities from underrepresented communities who don’t yet see a pathway into science and engineering.

“We’ve built up tremendous research capacity over the past 70 years, and that is a launch pad not only for big science and engineering accomplishments, but for building even greater capacity for discovery and innovation,” Panchanathan continues. “My vision relies on partnerships, not just how NSF can create partnerships, but how we can foster environments where collaboration and multidisciplinary work thrives. Innovative, collaborative ecosystems are powerful tools for scaling up research progress.”

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 2021 Plenary

NIH’s Mike Lauer Shares Multiple Perspectives at the Intersection of NIH and RD

Mike Lauer, Deputy Director
for Extramural Research, NIH

When Mike Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research for the National Institutes of Health, delivers his plenary presentation to NORDP, he’ll address research development from a variety of perspectives.

The title of his talk, to be delivered from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Tues., May 4, is “Extramural Research in the Era of COVID-19: An NIH Perspective.” In this context, he says, with three vaccines and effective treatments available, the perspective is that “in some respects science working exceedingly well.”

Lauer uses a sports analogy to stress the importance of diverse teams in research development, both in terms of the science and in terms of the institutional support provided to a team. “A team of quarterbacks, for example, would serve no one well,” he says.

While the term research development is a relatively new one to Lauer, he says he has been a fan of the concept for decades. He recalls a multidisciplinary proposal to NIH in the early 2000s that combined his talents as a practicing cardiologist with a special interest in epidemiology with that of a surgeon, a mathematician, and a statistician.

“We all looked at the world in very different ways, using different terms to say the same thing,” he recalls, noting that he found the mathematician’s perspective especially intriguing.

“We also had help from a colleague, a semi-retired scientist who gave us terrific suggestions. She helped us turn in a very good proposal that got a great score. She helped articulate the story, and provided great feedback on our writing.”

Today, Lauer notes that research development professionals can help researchers being better collaborators, which results in more competitive proposals coming into NIH. He calls this a blessing and a curse.

“Because we get better proposals, we can fund higher quality work that is likely to be productive,” he says. “At the same time, while a tremendous amount of work is funded, much is left on the table,” he adds, noting that the success rate hovers around 20-22 percent, down from a high of around 35% in the 1990’s, and up from a few years ago when it was round 16-17%.

Teamwork is the key to solving major challenges, Lauer says, noting that NIH grants are given to institutions, not individual scientists. Even the smaller R01 funding mechanism, he says, supports a team that usually includes principal investigators, co-investigators, postdocs, grad students, staff scientists, technicians, and others. Beyond that, teams of teams are often brought together for various consortium grants.

“Research development professionals help foster the idea with organizational and institutional support. It’s a team effort, all around,” he says. “The days of the individual scientist, brilliant and alone, is not the way the business is conducted now.”

Lauer’s presentation at NORDP 2021 will offer additional insights from his role at NIH, along with tips to help RD professionals best serve the researchers and teams they support.

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.

Learn More about Expert Finder Systems

Thanks to NORDP member Jeff Agnoli for telling us about the free 2021 International Forum on Expert Finder Systems (EFS) series schedule to run Feb. 11 – Mar. 18! The six-day series, scheduled over six weeks, offers a wealth of information that can strengthen research development initiatives, especially those related to team building. Several RD professionals, including Jeff, are among the list of presenters.

EFS are “directories, profiling sites, or social networking sites that employ knowledge management tools to gather, manage, and publish searchable information,” the event’s website explains. Proper utilization of these systems can support collaborations, bring innovations to market, and foster regional economic development, among other benefits.

The forum’s goals include: explore best practices, share user cases, and create a community of practice. The unique format enables a deep dive into the topic without “Zoom overload” by offering the six separate sessions and incorporating several interactive opportunities, such as “Coffee Talk.” NORDP members can register here.

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 Liaison Report: Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers (NACRO)

RD professionals and corporate relations officers advance research when they work together

Companies need things from universities: graduates, access to facilities, access to intellectual capital. Universities need things from companies: jobs for graduates, help with commercialization, funding.

Universities’ corporate relations officers help connect companies with universities, but they may lack deep knowledge of the research landscape. They may not know about the promising postdoctoral fellow’s innovation to transform the field, the unique core facility to address a testing need, or the multidisciplinary team to work with on a large proposal. That’s why research development and corporate relations make a great team: their complementary expertise is a natural area for collaboration to strengthen the research enterprise.

This is where the relationship between NORDP and NACRO comes in.

Don Takehara, NORDP’s NACRO Liaison

NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) has been engaging with NACRO for several years, exploring the natural synergies between these two university functions. NORDP’s volunteer liaison responsibility is shifting to Don Takehara, Associate Director for Research, College of Engineering Office of Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

With more than 500 members, NACRO provides professional development and best practices related to university-industry corporate relations. “As higher education plays an increasing role in economic development, and in light of the challenging fiscal environment in which many of our institutions operate, it is more important than ever for colleges and universities to create and maintain dynamic relationships with business and industry,” the NACRO website declares.

In support of his RD role, Takehara has been a member of NACRO for eight years, even before he joined NORDP. He recently agreed to take over the NACRO liaison responsibilities previously held by NORDP Board member Rachel Dresbeck, who is a co-chair of SAC.

The relationship between the two organizations began in ­2017, when Dresbeck and NORDP Board member Peggy Sundermeyer presented on research development at the NACRO conference in Seattle and met with the NACRO Board to explore how the two organizations could work together . 

“This partnership with NACRO fits well into SAC’s strategic priorities by strengthening our reciprocal relationships with sister organizations. We now have a memorandum of understanding between the two groups, providing benefits such as complementary registrations at conferences. Our work informs one another and provides a type of competitive intelligence for both groups,” Dresbeck says.

Serving as a SAC liaison has also benefitted Dresbeck’s own RD work, helping her institution initiate new relationships with local businesses, both large and small. She encourages NORDP members to take advantage of this partnership with NACRO, which can help them work more effectively with their own corporate and foundation development colleagues.

Takehara echoes the benefits of RD professionals engaging with NACRO and their own universities’ corporate and foundation staff. “It’s important for corporate relations and research development members of the two groups to learn how to work better together,” he says.

An example of joint activity includes presentations at the 2018 NORDP Conference in Arlington, where Dresbeck and Eileen Murphy, Kerry Morris (both NACRO and NORDP members), as well as NACRO member Brett Burns presented case studies on the value of working together.  Murphy and Morris have been instrumental in deepening this important relationship. The following year, NACRO’s Co-presidents, Megan Greenawalt from the University of Pittsburgh and Adam Johnson from the Michigan Technological University, led the Leadership Forum at the NORDP 2019 Annual Research Development Conference. And following that, NORDP’s 2019 Great Lakes Regional Meeting, chaired by Jill Jividen and Beth LaPensee, included three sessions about RD and corporate relations and was led by Takehara.  Sessions included center directors discussing how to engage industry partners on large-scale proposals, corporate executives explaining how to engage industry in research initiatives, and a corporate relations panel discussing their perspectives on RD.

Many resources on the NACRO website are significant to strong RD strategy. For example, Takehara served the NACRO Industry Perspectives Subcommittee for its “Research Report: “Industry Perspective on Academic Corporate Relations” that can be found here.

More information on NACRO and the NORDP Liaison program can be found on the SAC liaison page, including a NACRO “Profile” link with members-only information for NORDP members. For more information about serving as a NORDP Liaison, please contact Karen Eck,  who serves as SAC co-chair, along with Dresbeck, Gretchen Kiser, and Ann Maglia.

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 Liaison Report: OCLC Report on Social Interoperability in Research Support

Jeff Agnoli in Ohio State’s Research Development Office serves as a NORDP liaison to OCLC, a nonprofit global library cooperative providing shared technology services, research, and community programs. He recently shared an OCLC report, in which he and other RD interviewees participated.

Social Interoperability in Research Support: Cross-campus Partnerships and the University Research Enterprise, by Rebecca Bryant, Annette Dortmund, and Brian Lavoie, explores the social and structural norms that shape cross-campus collaboration and offers a conceptual model of key university stakeholders in research support. Information about their goals, interests, expertise, and the importance of cross-campus relationships was synthesized from interviews. The report describes the network of campus units involved in major categories of research support services and concludes with recommendations to establish and maintain successful cross-campus relationships. Download the free report at:  

NORDP Liaison Report: Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS)

Kim Patten

With a holistic view of the research life cycle and an emphasis on societal impacts of research, Kim Patten, director of Research Development Services, leads a team of RD professionals at the University of Arizona (UArizona). She also serves as a NORDP Strategic Alliances Liaison to ARIS, an organization formerly known as the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (NABI).

Patten, who joined NORDP in 2014, became a NORDP liaison to ARIS in late 2019. She hoped to attend their national conference in 2019 as it was located in Tucson, AZ (home to UArizona). However, the ARIS conference was scheduled at the same time of the NORDP conference, so she had to miss it but was able to send members of the UArizona RD team. In this time of COVID-19, her liaison work so far has been simple but informative conversations via phone or Zoom.

Jennifer Fields

She admits some of this has been a bit self-serving, helping support the launch of a new Office of Societal Impacts at UArizona.  In Nov. 2019, RD professional Jen Fields transitioned from the Research Development unit to director of the Office of Societal Impacts. Fields was able to present at the 2020 ARIS virtual conference and currently sits on the ARIS Leadership Council. Patten and Fields’ units continue collaborating together in support of high-quality proposals demonstrating a synergy between support units.

“The societal impact of research has been one of our university’s priorities for a while,” Patten says, noting that she serves a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), which is defined by federal law.  For example, UArizona maintains both a Hispanic Serving Initiatives Office and a Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office, which serves individuals from 22 sovereign federally designated tribal nations as well as the individuals wishing to conduct research in collaboration with the nations.

“In the future, I look forward to deeper engagement with our ARIS colleagues, seeking opportunities to co-present and inform best practices,” Patten says. In fact, ARIS will be presenting a 90-minute session titled, “Incorporating Societal Impacts into Proposal Development” on Monday, September 14, 2020 at 2pm EDT as part of the Virtual NORDP 2020.

Her passion for societal impact has been nurtured throughout her career.  She was previously associate director of the Arizona Geological Survey, where she managed a DOE Center and was CoPI on an NSF community engagement project. She began her career at a science-based non-profit and has a master’s degree in environmental planning and resource management.

In addition to serving the Strategic Alliances Committee as a liaison, Patten is chair of the nominating committee, having served on that committee for four years. She also has participated as both mentor and mentee, and is a member of the Leadership and Career & Professional Development Peer Mentoring Group.

Patten encourages NORDP members to consider becoming a liaison to a group important to them. “Be passionate about the organization you want to liaise with.  In addition to building new relationships with the partner organization, this is an excellent opportunity for you to get more familiar with NORDP,” she says.

For more information about the NORDP Strategic Alliances Liaison Program, visit the committee page

Compiled by Sharon Pound, Strategic Alliances 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.

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.

Rising Star Award Cameo: Daniel Campbell

Campbell Photo2Who: Daniel Campbell, Research Development Program Manager
Where: Old Dominion University Office of Research
Number of years in research development: 6
Length of NORDP membership: 6

What recommendations do you have for members to get more involved with NORDP?

I would suggest looking for opportunities to get involved on a committee, create a poster, or present at a national or regional conference.  If you have an idea, bring it to a committee or someone in leadership. There is sure to be someone who would be interested in working with you on it. Whatever your area of interest, there is something for you here.  From regional involvement to mentoring to webinars, there is always something happening at NORDP that could benefit from your time and talent.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

After working in the areas of alumni and advancement, where my experience was primarily in special events, my active involvement in NORDP greatly enhanced my transition to RD. Attending my first NORDP conference helped me learn what was going on in the field and bring it back to my institution. Working on a campus can be an insular experience sometimes, so engagement with NORDP gives me a measuring stick to compare what I am doing with colleagues across the country. Through writing various blogs for NORDP News, I have improved my writing & editing skills. Plus, I tend to work behind the scenes, so this role has forced me to get out there!

How did you hear about NORDP and what made you join initially?

My supervisor, Karen Eck, has been involved with NORDP for a long time. When I started in RD, she encouraged me to check out what the organization had to offer.  I attended my first conference in Orlando, followed by Denver, DC, and Providence. I started working with Kay Tindle and Kathy Cataneo on the Member Services Committee and never looked back.

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

I’ve met colleagues across the country through my involvement on various committees, including the Conference Marketing Committee, the Program Committee, and NORDP’s Communications Working Group. It seems each activity leads to another. Through the process, I’ve become more confident in my work and more validated in what I’m doing. For example, my poster presentation on our Science Pubs community outreach generated a lot of interest.  It was helpful to bring that back to the office; it tells you that you’re going in the right direction.

If you’re new to this field, there are many people in this organization who are willing to help you. Members value what you to bring to the table and they find a place where you can make a difference in NORDP.  I would say that the more people you meet through your engagement with NORDP, the more connected you are and the greater a resource you are to both NORDP and your institution.

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.

Droegemeier Shares Insights and Tips for RD

141155_Drogemeier-in-articleDr. Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and former vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma (OU), who was scheduled to speak at the 2020 NORDP conference, instead joined more than 100 NORDP members via Zoom on July 9. NORDP president Kimberly Eck facilitated the Q&A session.

Droegemeier began by crediting Dr. Alicia Knoedler (NORDP president, 2013-14) for teaching him about the discipline of research development during their time together at OU, where she helped create a successful research development center. He says he continues to learn from her, and cited her strengths as a learner and a listener, a thought leader and partner making a difference.

He noted that he had previously presented to NORDP’s annual conference in 2014, and he has witnessed the rapid growth in the discipline, as evidenced by NORDP’s membership surpassing 1,000 members. While researchers don’t simply wake up knowing how to best pursue their research ideas, he says that RD professionals know how to present solid arguments, craft narratives, and contextualize scientific research. They can help researchers develop those necessary soft skills, he suggests.

When asked about his two terms serving on the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation, Droegemeier encouraged RD professionals and the researchers they represent to discuss their ideas with NSF program officers, noting that these staff are extremely interested in new ideas and in helping researchers succeed. He advised individuals not to be reluctant to contact the NSF to explore new ideas and challenges.

Another tip he shared relates to the federal government’s budgeting process.  He explained that the process begins with the Office of Management and Budgeting (OMB) and OSTP publishing a joint research and development guidance memo for 26 research and development agencies. He expects that document for FY22 to be released soon, and suggested that the American Association for the Advancement of Science is a good source for information on this process. The guidance memo for FY21 can be found  here.

Droegemeier shared some of his thoughts on leadership, noting that RD professionals demonstrate leadership in their daily responsibilities, regardless of their title. He emphasized that leadership is more about what you do, such as empowering people, protecting people’s voice, providing resources and understanding the big picture.

His analogy likens RD work to planting a lawn – you plant the seeds, fertilize the ground, grow the grass, and then you mow. Without the grass, there’s nothing to mow.

Droegemeier concluded the Q&A session by encouraging RD professionals to stay positive. He described RD professionals as exceptional leaders, called to advance U.S. research. He encouraged everyone to look to the future and plan with positivity no matter what challenges they face. He called out NORDP members’ willingness to share knowledge, noting that research is not a zero-sum game. He encouraged NORDP members and researchers to contact him with ideas, noting that the only way to advance is to get ideas on the table.

Prior to conducting this Q&A session, Droegemeier recorded his plenary session, which is available to NORDP members here (members must log in).

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.