NORDP 2019 Conference Notes: Designing, Developing and Evaluating Team Science Support in an RD Office


  • Betsy Rolland, University of Wisconsin-Madison Carbone Cancer Center
  • David Widmer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Holly Falk-Krzesinski, Elsevier and Northwestern University

Thanks to our session scribe, MaryJo Banasik, University of Michigan Medical School!

Three seasoned research development professionals shared their expertise about how team science initiatives can be facilitated and supported by research development offices, including a discussion about the use of collaborative tools.

Holly Falk-Krzesinski provided an overview of what team science is, and how research development professionals can support team science by engaging in activities such as: facilitating collaboration, engaging in proposal development through funding opportunity identification and grantsmanship support, providing team science training, and policy advocacy that aligns appointment, promotion, and tenure guidelines with participation in team science work.

Betsy Rolland described how a new research development office with an emphasis on team science adopted several team science-specific areas of focus to build a team science infrastructure, such as support, education, interventions, and research. To work toward supporting team science, the research development office conducted a needs assessment and identified organizational barriers. A suite of services was developed along with manuals of operation that could be prototyped with small teams. Metrics were identified, such as quantifying demand for services and numbers of individuals and teams trained, as well as assessment of services and impact through satisfaction surveys.

David Widmer described a funding development team, including a position that will focus specifically on complex grants. The team is responsible for stimulating collaboration as well as providing hands-on support for complex proposals. The team is working to increase complex grant proposal submissions to add strategic value to the institution. Toward increasing submissions, the office is working on growing teams through sponsoring events such as speed dating on scientific techniques, maintaining a database, and incorporating empirical research, communication strategies, and best practices into their complex grant development activities.

Holly Falk-Krzesinski closed the session by presenting a number of tools that are available to facilitate team science, such as the Team Science Toolkit and the Collaboration and Team Science Field Guide, both developed by the National Cancer Institute. Holly also pointed out a repository of literature about team science available through an open access Science of Team Science (SciTS) group on Mendeley. Additional resources that Holly highlighted include the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, the Individual Collaboration Readiness Tool, the Matrix Assessment Tool, and the Collaboration Success Wizard developed by UC Irvine. Holly recommended to learn to perform transdisciplinary, team-based translational research for research development professionals, which she described as a good resource for research development professionals. Additional resources include the Science of Team Science Listserv and a professional society for the Science of Team Science.

NORDP 2019 Conference Notes: Using Technology for the Limited Submission Process


  • Daniel Moseke, University of Arizona

Thanks to our session scribe, Lisa Youngentob, University of Tennessee Health Science Center!

This roundtable discussion was well attended with participants representing a wide range of RD offices…large, small, biomedical, social sciences, the arts, public, private, industry, central, departmental, well financed and not. Despite the varied types of home institutions, everyone had the same goal, seeking out best practices on how to manage the limited submission process. One attendee described it well, “Despite the differences in size, scope and available resources (personnel and budget), there is a baseline level of infrastructure needed by every institution to run the limited submission process…finding the opportunities, announcing them to campus, managing the competition and review process, and awarding.”

The NORDP Limited Submission Circle was the first topic discussed. There was a lot of enthusiasm for getting members more engaged in this Circle (most were not even aware it existed), with many agreeing they would be more likely to post to a group of peers working in this arena every day, as opposed to putting a very specific LS questions out to the NORDP general listserv. The hope was, it could also serve as a great place for uploading and sharing resources (processes, links to institutional funding opportunity announcement pages, reviewer assessment question, etc.).

Attendees then shared how they identified relevant limited submission opportunities. These included, daily searches of, signing up for email notification of agency funding announcements (both federal and foundation), perusing funding opportunity webpages of other universities, (and even signing up for their funding opportunity newsletters), and using subscription-based funding opportunity databases (i.e. Pivot, Spin, Funding Institutional). Some institutions have developed their own funding opportunity database, using their in-house IT teams.

Methods of announcing limited submissions took different forms, such as, Mail Chimp, sharing via subscription-based databases, and internal listservs. But, email (with attached pdf), sent to specific investigators or to faculty as a whole, seemed to be the most commonly used technique…although most were interested in finding a “better, less time-consuming way.”

There was some discussion of administering the limited submission process itself…how to best keep track of it all…collection, review, and management. Ideas offered included subscriptions to services such as InfoReady Review, WizeHive, Trello, and Asana (some platforms offering free versions), and good, old Google Sheets/Excel spreadsheets. Calendars are also being used, both in Outlook and hard-copy, desk calendars.

Not surprisingly, finding willing reviewers is an ongoing issue raised by almost everyone. Some institutions use carrots, some use sticks. Reviewer pools are being generated from past awardees, assignment by deans/chairman, ad-hoc committees, promotion requirement, and volunteers. Thank you notes, luncheons, and acknowledgement by upper administration, were some of the reviewer enticements that were described by the group.

The takeaway from this roundtable was the realization that there are a lot of us out there who deal with the limited submission process on a daily basis. This group has a lot of questions, but, more importantly, they have a lot of answers and great ideas, which they are willing to share with one another…it’s the NORDP way!


NORDP 2019 Conference Notes: Funder Spotlight: US Department of Defense

Slides: Funder Spotlight: US Department of Defense


  • Valerie Browning, DARPA, Director of Defense Sciences Office

Thanks to our session scribe, Summer Young, Missouri University of Science and Technology!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • DARPA’s uniqueness among DOD funding agencies and other agencies in general should not be an obstacle to working with DARPA (goal of session was to demystify and educate).DoD-Logo
  • How and why DARPA created: February 1959 just after Sputnik launch – sense of urgency that US had fallen behind – to make sure US was never surprised by the technological innovation of an adversary again.
  • DARPA charter is to invest in pivotal breakthrough technologies and capabilities for national security.
  • DARPA mission priority spaces include defending the homeland (cyber deterrence, countering hypersonics, bio threat detection and mitigation, defense against weapons of mass destruction), deterring & defending against high-end adversaries (adaptive lethality for air, land, and sea; long-range effects, control of the spectrum, robust space), and effectively executing stabilization efforts (warrior performance, countering grayzone warfare, 3D city-scale operations, behavior modeling and influence).
  • DSO has developed a framework for prioritizing funding strategy (turning future challenges into opportunities) among four trends: globalization and proliferation of technology (need for greater agility, speed in innovation), increasing pace of conflict (need to act and react at speeds faster than human brain can work), increasing use of measured escalation (gray zone) tactics (need tools for quickly addressing these kind of threats), and ensuring best technologies for detecting and preventing weapons of mass destruction.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

One of DARPA DSO’s current outward-facing thrusts (for engaging with public R&D) relates to complex social systems and includes diverse funding opportunities for social sciences researchers.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s) response?

One of our NORDP colleagues asked about challenges her smaller research university has in meeting DARPA security requirements. The presenter acknowledged that this was an issue DARPA is aware of and has discussed at university engagement roundtables.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Ways to engage with DARPA:

  • BAAs (can be alerted through Constant Contact)
  • Proposers Day for larger programs (DSO does 6-7 per year)
  • DARPA Young Faculty Award
  • Disruptioneering & other rapid acquisition efforts
    • pioneered by DSO in last few years
    • new way of doing R&D acquisition
    • topics released ~monthly throughout year
      • quick turnaround to award
      • abridged proposal
      • streamlined cost proposal
      • 18 month, two phase efforts

Slides from NORDP 2019 Posted

Slides from many of the NORDP 2019 presentations are now available on the NORDP website HERE. Just click through to each Concurrent Breakout Session and look for “Download presentation” buttons.nordp sesh.jpg

More presentations will be forthcoming. If you presented at NORDP 2019 but did not submit your slides, expect to be contacted soon. Please provide your slides if possible as they are a great resource for our membership!

Select conference notes will begin posting to the blog next week. Stay tuned.

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.

Cranford Addresses Cultural Competency at NORDP’s Plenary Session

cranford“Day to day, what does inclusion look like at your institution?”

This is among the many thought-provoking questions that Jacqueline Cranford, founder of Cranford Advisory Services, will present to NORDP conference attendees at the plenary session scheduled for 11:00 a.m., Tues., Apr. 30.

Cranford’s presentation, titled “Diversity, Inclusion and You: Advancing Cultural Competence within NORDP and the Communities We Serve,” will lay a foundation to help RD professionals understand the concept of cultural competency on both the individual and institutional level.

Cranford will define terms related to diversity and inclusion, create a common language for understanding related issues, and identify ways to recognize issues on campuses throughout the nation and in how we engage with one another within NORDP.

“For example, when you walk the halls at your institution, do you feel represented in the photos on the walls?” she asks. “Is the language that you use with your NORDP colleagues inclusive?”

Cranford encourages RD professionals to come to the plenary session ready and willing to engage in the discussion and experience “how quickly our brains make associations.”  Ultimately, the goal is to provide RD professionals with introspective insights into their own biases, enabling them to be a conduit and help raise awareness of diversity and inclusion at their institutions.

“What can you do to be part of the change?” she prompts.

A graduate of Oral Roberts University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Cranford has spent more than 20 years helping professionals recognize and appreciate the intersectionality of talent management, diversity, and inclusion and guiding them through strategies for effectively managing all three.

In addition to serving clients in the legal and corporate sectors, she has recently focused on the environment of academia, consulting with several business schools and law schools on issues related to cultural competency.  Over the years, clients have turned to her for expertise in diversity and inclusion, recruiting, professional development, performance management, leadership training, business development and global integration.  More information on her firm can be found at

Submitted by Sharon Pound

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 2018 Conference Notes: Plenary: Diversity Panel – Inclusive Excellence and the Research Enterprise: The Role of Research Development Professionals


  • Kyle Lewis, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Beth Mitchneck, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Roland Owens, Office of Intramural Research, NIH
  • Barbara Endemaño Walker (Moderator), University of California Santa Barbara

Thanks to our session scribe, Don Takehara, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  1. Why is diversity important for science? The literature shows that diverse teams produce better science and create more publications. Women have been shown to be highly collaborative on teams. In the same vein, having a diverse team creates stronger cultural competence which allows for a wider dissemination of the results.
  2. How can research development professionals engage diverse faculty? The presenters encouraged RD professionals to be proactive in attracting, recruiting, and retaining diverse teams. They also suggested the benefits of attending an anti-bias workshop. A recommended book was Why So Slow? by Virginia Valian.
  3. How can diverse faculty be retained? Attracting, recruiting, and retaining a diverse faculty needs to be considered simultaneously. If a faculty member feels isolated, they will be less likely to stay. The question, “Is she/he ready to be a full professor?” needs to be treated with objectivity and not subjectivity. Additionally, mentoring is important at every step when retaining faculty.
  4. What else can RD professionals do? The presenters argued that when RD professionals engage directly with diverse faculty, it makes a difference. Institutional transformation is often necessary, and it is also important to be informed of your institution’s data and trends in this area. Another resource to consider is NSF’s ADVANCE program.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

There is extensive literature on the benefits of diversity that RD professionals should seek out and consider when approaching their work.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

The panel members may create a suggested reading list based on the topics discussed in this session.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s) response?

An audience member asked how the use of mentors might be more effective. The presenters explained the importance of choosing mentors carefully, providing mentors with appropriate training, and considering a faculty member’s interest and ability to serve as a mentor throughout their careers.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

RD professionals can make a difference in encouraging diversity both within team science and their universities as a whole. It is important for RD professionals to be educated on these issues, and also to help communicate their importance to decision makers.



NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Ideas Lab Workshop: Starting a Grand Challenge Initiative & Picking/Proposing a Grand Challenge Topic: Issues & Decisions from the University and the Research Team Perspectives (Part 1)

Ideas Lab Workshop: Starting a Grand Challenge Initiative & Picking/Proposing a Grand Challenge Topic: Issues & Decisions from the University and the Research Team Perspectives (Part 1)


  • Eva Allen, Indiana University
  • Sarah Archibald, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Jennifer Lyon Gardner, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Michelle Popowitz, UCLA
  • Sarah Rovito, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Amy Spellacy, The Ohio State University

Thanks to our session scribe, Linda Vigdor, City University of New York! 

Key points from the session. We learned:

This session was designed to be highly interactive with the audience. A broad overview of key factors to consider when initiating a grand challenge include:

  1. What are the drivers for starting a program – how might these influence the design of the program?
  2. Grand Challenge Goals vs. Themes – it is helpful to differentiate between these.
    1. Theme: (-) not that easy to measure outcomes and hard to set up requirements to meet but (+) good for generating interest and engaging participants; “no failure” with a theme; themes persist beyond the goals and offer potential of culture change
    2. Goal: (+) easier to communicate objectives but (-) narrower focus than a theme; “failure” is a possibility – thus, harder to sell to researchers or executives
    3. One strategy is to start with a theme (for ideation phase) then narrow the theme to focused goals
  3. Management of theme-driven and goal-driven challenges require different strategies.
    1. Theme-driven: open-ended management
    2. Goal-driven: defined approach
  4. Get creative with funding approaches, for example:
    1. Sell institutional assets (e.g., parking)
    2. Generate philanthropic gifts
    3. Provide campus-based funding
  5. Ideation approaches:
    1. Pre-define a broad topic – bring people together to brainstorm ideas to further refine/define the topic
    2. Run open calls – ask for concept papers and/or offer seed funding grants to explore viability of ideas
    3. Organize topics around specific person with core expertise or draw
    4. Top down – topic defined by high level administration or by external partner to achieve specified goals

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

I was surprised by the difference in focusing on goals vs. themes as an organizing structure when designing a grand challenge. Both have their merits.

  • Advantages of organizing around Smart Goals:
    • (a) unified vision;
    • (b) easier to communicate societal impact;
    • (c) promise of defined impact for participants;
    • (d) measurable;
    • (e) time-limited;
    • (f) roles more easily defined; and
    • (g) better positioned for partnerships
  • Advantages of organizing around Themes:
    • (a) flexibility;
    • (b) campus able to define or declare success at any point;
    • (c) inclusivity;
    • (d) scope can be variable;
    • (e) may generate more excitement due to fewer restrictions; and
    • (f) no predefined timeline or endpoint

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters(s)’ response?

An interesting question focused on best strategies for picking teams.

  • Identify people known to be team players
  • Identify people who have the requisite experience, and/or reputation relevant to the proposed theme
  • Noted: themes proposed at general meetings can be hard to manage in terms of selection, focus, etc.
  • It’s also important to have a strategy to keep faculty engaged once they sign on to a grand challenge

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

The interactive format kept the session lively and produced thoughtful ideas.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD): Perspectives from Evaluators and Institutions Evaluated

NORDP Program for External Evaluation of Research Development (PEERD): Perspectives from Evaluators and Institutions Evaluated


  • Jerilyn Hansen, Utah State University
  • Susan Carter, Retired, UC Merced
  • Kay Tindle, Texas Tech University
  • Peggy Sundermeyer, Trinity University

Thanks to our session scribe, Mary Jo Daniel, University of New Mexico!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • PEERD is a new (formalized in 2017) service offered through NORDP that currently has a pool of 8 reviewers.
  • PEERD reviews are planned collaboratively by institutional leadership and the PEERD team.
  • Review team composition is critical; there needs to be a balance of personalities, skill sets, and experience levels.
  • Reviews engage campus leadership, the RD office being reviewed, and faculty groups.
  • Reviews result in actionable recommendations.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

Not a surprise, but a good idea: it’s best to plan for a follow-up meeting to share review recommendations broadly with those who participated in the review (e.g., other administrators, faculty members).

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters’ response?

An audience member pointed out that evaluations can be judgment-based/draw from experience, or more data-driven (e.g., use of repeatable protocols). The audience member felt that PEERD appears to emphasize the first, and wanted to know how this was decided upon. The presenters explained that individual campus goals determine the approach taken by the PEERD group. So, if a campus requests an analysis of data, the PEERD group is able to do this.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Cost of a PEERD review is dependent on individual campus goals and the design of the review itself, but a “ballpark” figure for the service is between $12K – $18K. The PEERD reviewers are paid a fee and NORDP is paid for its administration of the program.

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Resiliency: Research Development Strategies to Engage and Promote Faculty Flourishing

Resiliency: Research Development Strategies to Engage and Promote Faculty Flourishing


  • Kerry Morris, Valdosta State University
  • Susannah Gal, Penn State-Harrisburg
  • Marilyn Korhonen, University of Oklahoma
  • Barbara Wygant, Van Andel Research Institute

Thanks to our session scribe, Laura Sherwin, University of Nebraska at Omaha!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Listen to faculty and customize your approach to each of them. You want faculty to see you as a partner in their success.
  • Target specific faculty or groups of faculty. In particular, look for faculty with a passion for their research who are struggling to obtain external funding. Your work with them can have high impact.
  • Identify faculty key players to develop funding strategies. Look to where students are gravitating.
  • For new faculty, start with internal seed grants, then foundation and corporate seed grants to collect data for larger grant submissions.
  • Connect first with a small group of key “champions” and build from there.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

  • Many research development offices have a close working relationship with institution development officers.
  • It is more common in research development offices to “cold call” faculty than I realized.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

Aspirational 7” – seven concepts for research faculty: scale up, stabilize, re-direct, diversify, re-invent, engage, persevere.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

Q: What is the role of the institution’s development office vs. the institution’s sponsored programs office?

A: There can be some overlap and confusion on which office performs which functions. The presenter recommended working with the institution’s development office to create a checklist that each office can use to decide if a particular funding mechanism is a grant, contract, or gift. This is also important because money for philanthropic vs research efforts is located in different “buckets” in an institution.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

Some specific things presenters have used to engage and promote faculty:

  • Facilitate writing groups for proposals and papers
  • Hold an annual networking event for researchers and business/industry contacts
  • Publicize researchers and their work via free videos (YouTube)
  • Include a “Research News” button on the research development or institution’s website that highlights overall research, not just research that has been funded externally.

Also, see the handout from the presentation: NORDP resiliency session handout

NORDP 2018 Conference Notes: Practical Strategies for Facilitating Innovative Research

Practical Strategies for Facilitating Innovative Research


  • Donnalyn Roxey, Knowinnovation
  • Andy Burnett, Knowinnovation

Thanks to our session scribe, Jennifer Huntington, University of Michigan!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Knowinnovation designed the “Ideas Lab” – a multi-day program to develop ideas among faculty members with different areas of expertise to create a proposal for funding.
  • Creativity was defined as the production of novel and useful thinking. Everyone is creative in different ways that leads to innovation.
  • Tools to use with faculty in order to foster ideation that will get researchers to truly collaborate and think beyond their own ideas of what is important.
  • Clear link between Research Development professionals and their ability to use their skills creatively to foster innovative research. RD professionals are not just the implementation piece.
  • During the session, there were two points at which the audience was asked to speak with someone sitting next to them about 1. Where each person could use more creative methods in RD, and 2. What have you seen work well in that space? This was a great way to develop connections with colleagues and share ideas.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?

It was surprising to have the session be based around the idea of creativity and how we can foster that first in ourselves and understand that we are all creative in different ways. That really helped tie into the proposed strategies for fostering innovative research. It surprised me how willing Knowinnovation was to share some of their methodology for us to immediately utilize at our home institutions.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?

Two models were shared: Web of Abstraction – how to define the “problem” or really understand what the problem is.  PPCO – how to focus on the values of different ideas to stop the “that’s a terrible idea” mindset. PPCO evaluates an idea starting with the Pluses, the Potentials, the Concerns, and lastly, how to Overcome some of the Concerns (when possible). The presenter did state that she was willing to share any other resources around Knowinnovation’s methods.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

One question was asked about ideal group size for ideation workshops. Another participant asked how to get faculty to attend the workshops. The presenter responded that the ideal size is less than 10, and that the “sweet spot” is a group of 7-8 people. That then tied into clarifying that a successful workshop of this type is NOT based on attendance/size, so getting faculty to “show up” is not actually the program’s goal. It becomes rather difficult to effectively ideate around innovative concepts when there isn’t an ability to narrow the focus enough. The end goal of these workshops is to have a handful of faculty come out with a great proposal concept for funding.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?

If you sign-up for the Knowinnovation blog, they periodically post about the work they are doing, including methodologies and other helpful tips. They offer many services, including: workshops, virtual events, lunchtime talks, 3-day proposal building sessions, and ideas labs.