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).

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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 https://nordp.mclms.net/en/package/6128/course/6797/view, 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, http://OhioInnovationExchange.org. 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 agnoli.1@osu.edu 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 http://OhioInnovationExchange.org 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 (https://www.inscits.org/2022-keynote-speakers), where she shared the important collaborative and interdisciplinary research they’ve been doing.  This set of resources is part of SESYNC’s new website (www.sesync.org) 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 www.inorms2023.org  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 https://expertfindersystems.org.

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.

NORDP 2022 Plenary: Dyhia Belhabib: Diversity Matters Now

Dyhia Belhabib, NORDP 2022 Conference Tuesday Plenary Speaker

Diversity in research is much more than a good idea; it can be the key to survival, says Dyhia Belhabib, Principal Investigator at Ecotrust Canada.

“Diversity matters; otherwise it can be deadly,” she says. “We’re in the midst of the climate crisis. It’s happening now. We need solutions and strategies to become more resilient now.” She suggests some of the best solutions will be brought by diversity.

“People often ask me how I got into this field, and I tell them I understand what it stems from. I don’t look like most others who study the ocean,” Belhabib explains her passion for diversity in STEM fields.

For example, as a child growing up in Tazmalt, Algeria, she and her family dealt with droughts for decades. “I’ve carried water from the well. I know how to be resilient, how to save water,” she says.

Belhabib will be the NORDP 2022 conference plenary speaker at 1:00 p.m. on Tues., Apr. 26, discussing minorities and equity in STEM research. She will share experiences working at the intersection of sustainability and ocean criminality.  A highly published scholar and devoted advocate for social justice in conservation, elimination of illegal fishing, inclusive science, and empowering minorities in research, she founded spyglass.fish, an online platform for monitoring illegal fishing worldwide, and Poplar and Ivy, a magazine that supports underrepresented voices in science and conservation.

She shared a recent experience consulting with an academic institution on diversity issues. “We were shut down the moment we asked for diversity of perspectives,” she recalls the moment when she was first introduced to an all-white panel. “I wasn’t surprised to see such a panel, but I was shocked at the reaction.”

To her, diversity represents a matter of life and death. “Lack of diversity can be deadly,” she says. For example, death can arise when doctors don’t understand what measles look like on a black person’s skin. She emphasizes the importance of bringing diversity to science and learning how to open STEM careers to minorities.

“We all have biases we need to uncover,” she says as she turns her attention to her NORDP plenary presentation. “It’s very important to be aware. We tend to export what we perceive to be the best solution, regardless of the situation and context. Perhaps we need to be a bit more creative, to circumvent the political climate and accepted narratives to pursue effective change.”

Research development professionals have tended to be colonial, what Belhabib equates to hindering local expertise and supporting ill-adapted solutions in areas where minorities prevail. In other words, from Belhabib’s perspective, RD has tended to support established researchers and pre-existing solutions.

“Research development professionals might consider how they transfer bias from individuals to the system, essentially preventing people from getting into the system. It’s a matter of strategy,” she suggests.

The reward can be great: diverse perspectives and diverse thoughts challenge scientific research, which needs to be challenged, Belhabib says. “As a result, those proposals have more meaningful outcomes.”

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.