NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: Using Business Development Funnels to Stimulate Increases in Research Funding

Using Business Development Funnels to Stimulate Increases in Research Funding

Presenters: 

  • Saundra Evans, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Services and Project Management, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Paul Tuttle, Director of Proposal Development, North Carolina A&T State University

Thanks to our session note-taker, Lucy Deckard!

Key points from the session. We learned: 

  • Universities often expect to see a steady linear growth in research expenditures; however, it’s not realistic to expect continuous linear growth. Instead, RD growth is similar to small business growth: i.e., it follows an S-curve. The business starts and grows quickly as they innovate, incorporate best practices, and improve. Then they stabilize or plateau. At this point, the business will need to find a new way to grow (e.g., a new market or product or strategy), which can then kick off a stage of rapid growth. Otherwise, the business may decline and ultimately fail. Similarly, North Carolina A&T saw their research expenditures grow rapidly as they established an RD office, learned from NORDP and elsewhere, and incorporated best practices. Then the recession hit, and they saw some decline They realized they had maxed out on the old business model ; they need to break out a new one! This was especially important since university leadership had set a goal of $85M in research expenditures (from the current ~$65M) by 2020.
  • NC A&T’s new business model incorporated five strategies: 1) reorganize academic units to better motivate and support research; 2) RD strategic hires; 3) diversify the funding portfolio to include more agencies and foundations, as well as contracts in addition to grants; 4) proactively pursue Federal funding; and 5) Employ business development (funding opportunity) funnels. To implement this new plan, they developed a logic model for how they would reach that $85M goal by creating and maintaining funding funnels at AT&T, following a logic model template provided by Tina Edgerly Campbell in her 2014 NORDP preconference workshop. Then, they distributed the logical model to faculty members so they understood what they were trying to accomplish. They also broke the goal down by college and provided concrete targets year by year – helped get the deans on board.
  • Applying the funnel concept to RD, you look at the what the funding rates are and how much you need to put into the top of the funnel to get the dollars you need at the bottom—how do they get to $85M? If you look at typical success rates for many agencies, they are single-digit or in the low teens. So if you assume 10% funding rate, that means they would have to submit $850M in proposals! Developing funding funnels: They realized they needed to identify core funding opportunities with a higher probability of funding and ensure submission of more competitive proposals. They pursued two main strategies: 1) Take a portfolio approach, identifying recurring funding opportunities with the highest hit rates, anticipating the next cycle, strengthening relationships with the Program Officers and starting working on proposals early (before they are officially announced); 2) identify growth opportunities (e.g., new opportunities and new funders, including foundations and industry,  and work with the new director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. This includes looking at contracts (e.g., DoD IDIQ and industry contracts) in addition to grants. Worked with faculty to make sure they understand expectations for contracts and that they felt confident they could deliver. Also added capacity in the Grants and Contracts department.
  • Helped faculty understand what they can do – worked with them to develop an individualized strategic funding plan (following a Strategic Funding Plan Informational Template provided by from Tina Campbell in her 2014 NORDP preconference workshop). Helps faculty work though what story they want to tell about their careers over the next 20 years (framed as their current situation, emerging or future directions, and professional goals) and then identify a matrix of funding opportunities that will allow them to make it happen. They articulate where they want to end up; for example, “I hope to become one of the go-to researchers in wearable sensors and smart devices in military and civilian environments in the next 15 – 20 years.” Then they get lots of help with finding funders working with their chairs, the RD office, and PIVOT. Before doing this Saundra and Paul talked to deans to gauge their level of commitment. Some chairs use this in their annual evaluation of their faculty. Roll-out of the strategic funding plans and market business development funnel ideas was very low key. Just assistance. Framed as, “we hope this can help you.”
  • Where are they now? Nearly 30 faculty now have individual strategic funding plans. Found that using the carrot approach works best. When faculty see other faculty get funded, and when they get tenure as a result of that success, that motivates them. There has been sharply increased interest and proposal activity. Looking at funding expenditures, NC A&T is on the upswing of the S-curve again, but it’s still early days. They hope to be back to report on more progress in the future.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?         

  • I had never thought of RD as being similar to a small business, but it makes sense.
  • I also hadn’t heard of the S-curve in the context of RD
  • I thought providing faculty with a formal strategic funding plan to help them explicitly map out their funding strategies in the context of their career goals is a great idea.
  • I also thought that using a logic model to communicate the RD strategy to faculty and deans was a really inspired idea.

What resources did you discover at this presentation? Examples: a website, database or software tool. We’ll link to resources on the blog.          

  1. Gov Net by Deltek – can find who has been funded on various contracts and identify RFPs for contracts as well as identifying RFPs before they are issued.
  2. Similarly, you can use PIVOT to identify funding opportunities before they are officially released by looking for opportunities that are labeled, “pending” rather “confirmed”. Look at the “pendings” and call the PO and ask about the likelihood that will be offered again.
  3. Not sure if these are publicly available, but Tina Edgerly Campbell’s templates for an RD logic model and for an individual strategic funding plan would be great resources if they are available.

What were the most interesting questions asked by audience members, and what were the presenter(s)’ responses?

Will senior faculty buy into the research funding strategic plan? Sometimes not. But often, they are in a position to start going for bigger team grants, and RD can help them with that. In the new College of Health & Human Services, they have been building faculty-driven micro-research clusters (not top-down) , which can help see these larger projects.

How do faculty get credit in team projects if they are a co-PI? NC A&T has changed the IDC share policy and they now provide credit on their record.

Questioner says they have a lot of initial interest from faculty about pursuing funding opportunities identified in advance, but faculty do not always follow-up. How do you deal with faculty who don’t follow up? From audience: She asks the faculty member, “When do you want me to follow up?” Sends email saying “ping”. Or may, say, “I’m just checking in – is there anything I can help you with?” But still have to expect that some faculty will not follow up.

How does this dovetail with other faculty development activities on campus? They tell faculty, “This is to help you better do the research piece. Talk to us.” They give out cards and make sure the faculty understand that their office is very accessible. In this way, the RD assistance is framed as faculty development and support.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?     

It’s interesting to note that the NC A&T RD office has been very careful to frame this as a service so it’s not seen as coercive. They emphasize a customer service culture.

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NORDP 2018: Call for Pre-Conference Workshop Proposals

Dear NORDP Members,

We are seeking expert presenter teams with compelling and relevant content to deliver Pre-Conference Workshops on Monday, May 7, 2018 prior to the NORDP 2018 Annual Research Development Conference in Arlington, VA. This year’s conference theme is Resilience in a Shifting Research Landscape.

These Pre-Conference workshops have the following goals:

  • Provide intensive, interactive learning activities and professional development opportunities in selected areas of research development that cannot be adequately presented in a typical one-hour NORDP conference concurrent session; and
  • Successfully deliver clearly identified learning objectives and provide relevant takeaways for a targeted audience.

Workshop proposals will be considered on any topic relevant to the broad NORDP membership and, if appropriate, linked to the conference theme of Resilience in a Shifting Research Landscape. Based on last year’s conference evaluations, we have identified several topic areas of interest:

  • Faculty development programs and activities; proposals regarding new and junior faculty development are particularly encouraged
  • Building and enhancing diversity of the research development professional workforce
  • Working with other organizations on campus
  • Bringing private sector tools and techniques into the proposal development office
  • Moving research into practice
  • Practical strategies for teambuilding and implementing team science findings into practice
  • Starting and building the research development office
  • Creativity in research development
  • Professional development for the RD professional

The above list is not exhaustive—the Pre-Conference Workshop Committee welcomes proposals in any area that achieve the goals for these sessions. Proposals are welcomed from previous pre-conference workshop presenters and applicants. Proposals are also encouraged that reflect the breadth of NORDP members, including research development roles and positions, levels of knowledge and experience, academic disciplines, and institution types.

Each workshop will be four OR six hours in length and must have at least two presenters. Enrollment will be limited to 30-35 participants. Presenters will be expected to develop intensive, interactive workshop experiences with appropriate hand-outs and links to additional resources that participants can integrate into their professional activities.

Selected presenter teams will be expected to provide updates to the Pre-Conference Workshop Committee regarding the development of their presentations, including learning objectives, outlines, and handouts/resources. Webinars and resources on effective presentation techniques will be offered to all selected teams. Further, members of the Pre-Conference Workshop Committee will provide direct support to each team to provide feedback and assistance to help ensure the highest quality for each workshop. Presenters will be paid an honorarium for their preparation and presentation.

To propose a pre-conference workshop at NORDP 2018 in Arlington, application materials must be submitted via InfoReady no later than Monday, November 20, 2017 by 5:00 PM local time. Information on accessing the InfoReady application system will be provided in the near future via the NORDP website and listserv. A template to provide application guidance until the InfoReady application system is available may be viewed here: 2018 NORDP Pre-Conf Proposals _ Application Template _ Final

The application will require the following information:

  1. Workshop Information
  2. Proposed competencies (knowledge, skills, tools) and learning objectives
  3. Format and educational strategies, e.g., interactive delivery
  4. Targeted audience(s), i.e., research development roles and positions, levels of knowledge and experience, academic disciplines, institution types
  5. Workshop length – four or six hours
  6. Presenter Information
  7. Expertise and experience on the proposed competencies and learning objectives
  8. Expertise and experience in presenting interactive workshops

The criteria used in the selection process mirror these categories, and also take into consideration the goal of addressing a variety of topics and targeted audiences. Selections will be made by early January 2018.

NORDP reserves the right to cancel pre-conference workshops due to lack of enrollment. Workshop participants will be charged additional registration fees to attend these pre-conference workshops. The decision whether to cancel will be made when the early-bird Conference registration discount ends. Selected presenters will be expected to begin development of their materials in advance of this decision.

If you would like to discuss this opportunity in greater detail, please contact Eva Allen evaallen@indiana.edu or Kari Whittenberger-Keith kariwk@uwm.edu.

We look forward to reviewing your proposals for what we are confident will be exciting and highly useful professional development experiences.

The NORDP Pre-Conference Workshops Committee:

Eva Allen, Co-Chair, Indiana University
Kari Whittenberger-Keith, Co-Chair, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Jan Abramson, University of Utah
Sarah Bronson, Penn State College of Medicine
Sarah Elvey, Ohio Dominican University
Faye Farmer, Arizona State University
Ron Fleischmann, Duke University
Karen Fletcher, Appalachian State University
Stephanie A. Korcheck, Texas State University
Kim Littlefield, University of South Alabama
Donnalyn Roxey, KnowInnovation
Angela Shotts, University of Alabama
Paul Tuttle, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Etta Ward, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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: Call for Abstracts for Conference Session Topics

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NORDP 10th Annual Research Development Conference

May 7-9, 2018

Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA

NOTE: DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, 11/17/17 at 11:59pm PT. 

Dear Colleagues –

We are looking forward to celebrating NORDP’s 10th Annual Conference in 2018 – it’s hard to believe we’ve been getting together for almost a decade! Like you, we look forward to the annual meeting as an opportunity to hear thought-provoking keynotes and attend individual and panel sessions and posters by our colleagues on fundamental, emerging or innovative topics in the continually evolving field of Research Development. Please consider sharing your knowledge and expertise at the 2018 meeting, held in the National Capital Region for our 10th anniversary.

This year’s conference theme is Resilience in a Shifting Research Landscape, with a focus on how we adapt, as professionals supporting individuals, teams and institutions, to changes in how research is conducted, as well as how it is funded and viewed by government and the public at large. At a time where we see an undervaluation of the roles science and scholarship play in our society, what are our strategies to respond, readjust, and help advance our endeavors in research, scholarship, and creative artistry?

A call for NORDP 10th Annual Research Development Conference Session Topics is now open, you can access the online proposal submission form immediately, through November 17, 2017 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Help make sure the Conference meets your professional development needs by submitting an abstract for:

1) An Individual or Group Oral Panel Presentation – intended for individuals or panels of no more than four persons to present information related to the NORDP mission and important to advancing the skills or professional development of conference participants. Panel presentations are most effective when you want to tackle a significant over-arching issue, problem or hot topic in Research Development and showcase data, solutions and programs from a diverse array of institutions or perspectives.

2) The Idea Showcase – designed for individuals or small teams to present posters illustrating their own approaches to problems and solutions in research development, to showcase best practices and case studies and to introduce innovative, even experimental ideas.

Selection Criteria: Session topics must fit within the NORDP mission to advance research development, which is defined as a set of strategic, proactive, catalytic, and capacity-building activities designed to facilitate individual faculty members, teams of researchers, and central research administrations in attracting extramural research funding, creating relationships, and developing and implementing strategies that increase institutional competitiveness. Sessions may target one of five RD Pillars:

RD Fundamentals — Topics that every RD professional needs to know, whether new to the field or an experienced practitioner

Leadership Development in Research Development (LDRD) — Sessions geared toward more strategic (vs. operational) topics and preparing for a leadership role

Professional Development — General topics that apply to professional and personal skill growth at all levels

Funder Updates — What’s new at a specific funding agency as well as broader funding issues in today’s fast changing environment

Other Topics in Research Development — Emerging and new ideas and approaches in the field of RD or something else you propose

Deadline for Proposals: Friday, November 17, 2017, 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Please note that the deadline is earlier this year than in previous years. The Program Committee intends to notify presenters by early January 2018. 

Click HERE to access the online proposal submission form. The Call for Abstracts document is also available for download on the conference home page. Applicants can download this form to prepare their abstracts offline. We look forward to receiving your abstracts!

Best regards,

Karen Eck (Old Dominion University)
Kari Whittenberger-Keith (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
2018 Conference Co-chairs

Questions? Contact us at: rdconf@nordp.org

NORDP 2017 conference materials available!

Presentations from the 2017 9th Annual Research Development Conference are now available on the conference program site. If you presented at the conference and your materials are not posted, please send your final presentation slides (and any accompanying materials) to rdconf@nordp.org and we’ll see to it that they’re posted.

Further, thanks to NORDP sponsor Digital Science, we will be making conference presentations available (with indexing, metadata, and DOIs for each presentation) available through a NORDP instance of FigShare in the near future.

Finally, it’s not too soon to start thinking about presenting at the 2018 NORDP meeting! Next year’s meeting will be held Monday, May 7, through Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA. We hope to see you there!

2017 NORDP Rising Star Awardees

NORDP Day 2 0591_Rising Star Awardees_3
Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, Michael Thompson, Mary J. Fechner

The annual NORDP Rising Star Award recognizes up to three members who have made outstanding volunteer contributions to NORDP. The 2017 Rising Star awardees are Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, Michael Thompson, and Mary Fechner.

Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi, University of Central Florida
A NORDP member since 2014, Maddy attended her first annual conference in 2016. She helped make the 2016 conference a rousing success, serving on the conference planning committee and leading the local activities sub-committee. If you attended a networking dinner or went on a morning walk or run, you can thank Maddy.  She also has served on the Strategic Alliances Committee and is actively engaged in NORDP Region III.

Michael Thompson, University of New Hampshire
Michael has generously shared his humor, knowledge, and expertise with regional and national colleagues since becoming an RD professional in 2013. He has been instrumental in improving NORDP communications. He serves on NORDP’s communications working group, sharing his wisdom with the marketing committees for the 2016 and 2017 conferences. He started the @NORDP_official Twitter account and has been tweeting on NORDP’s behalf ever since.

Mary J. Fechner, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Active in both NORDP and NORDP NE, Mary combines her anthropology Ph.D. training with RD experience to bring a nuanced understanding to her service on NORDP’s annual conference evaluation committee. She is also a co-investigator on a collaborative project with University of Massachusetts, University of Tennessee, and Hanover Research peers to study development of the RD field through analysis of RD job postings and focus group input.

 

Susan Carter Recipient of 2017 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award

Susan Carter, J.D., Director of Research Development Services at the University of California, Merced, has received NORDP’s 2017 Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski Service Award. Founding NORDP President Holly Falk-Krzesinski presented the award to Susan at the 9th Annual NORDP Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, in May.

DMNS Legacy
Susan Carter (left) and Holly Falk-Krzesinski (right)

Clearly stunned when Holly announced her name as the awardee, Susan later said, “My involvement in NORDP has truly been a highlight of my professional life, and indeed, has brought amazing rewards both to me and my institution. As I was standing on the stage listening to Holly discuss the service to NORDP that led the Board to choose me as this year’s recipient, all I could think was that the service I gave was absolutely minimal compared to the benefits I received.”

This service award is given annually by the NORDP Board of Directors to one NORDP member to recognize her/his commitment to further the research development profession, to NORDP’s growth, and service to peers. Susan is a consummate exemplar of all of these qualities.

At UC Merced, Susan is well known for her efforts on individual faculty development and team science, and is lauded by the faculty, her staff, and the administration for her talents as a visionary and research development professional. Since starting the UC Merced office in 2008, Susan has been responsible for hiring and nurturing a staff of five, perhaps bringing a record number of people into the research development profession in the shortest time period.

Susan’s dedication to NORDP is legion, spanning the lifetime of our organization. Among her many contributions to NORDP are:

  • National Steering Committee (2009-10), Founding Executive Officer (2009), Board of Directors Secretary and member (2010-13)
  • Helped secure NORDP’s initial 501(c)3 status
  • Membership Committee member (2010-14)
  • Founder, Mentoring Program (2012), which has served more than 250 mentor-mentee pairs
  • Managed conference volunteer corps (2012)
  • Commissioned first NORDP Peer Review (2013); co-developed the PEERD program’s business plan (2014-16 )
  • 2015 Annual Conference Co-Chair and Program Committee member (2013, 2014)
  • Contributor/ presenter at NORDP Annual Conference sessions, Idea Showcase, and pre-conference workshops (2013-17)
  • Nominating Committee Co-Chair (2017-)

In her presentation remarks, Holly said, “What makes her so special is how deeply she gives to her faculty, staff, and community, and to the many of us who consider Susan a mentor.” Congratulations, Susan, and many thanks from all of your NORDP official and unofficial mentees and peers.

Networking and Volunteering Opportunities at the NORDP 2017 Conference!

There’s still time to register for the 2017 Annual Conference! NORDP invites all conference attendees to make new connections at the conference by participating in the volunteer and networking opportunities listed below.

If you have questions about volunteering or the networking dinners, please contact Jenna McGuire at mcguire.165@osu.edu.

Networking Dinners:

Organize or join a networking dinner at a local restaurant.  Facilitators will decide the restaurant, whether your dinner will have a theme, and the number of participants.  Each guest pays their own bill.  NORDP has provided a list of local restaurants.

To join a dinner:

To facilitate a dinner:

As more facilitators sign up to host a dinner, more sign-ups will be added!

Morning Walk/Runs:

Volunteer to lead or join a group on a walk or run on one of the trails near the hotel.  Leaders will determine the path, whether the group will walk or run, the number of participants, and the start/end times. A trail map is provided in the links below.

As more leaders sign up to lead a walk/run, more sign-ups will be added!

Assist with Conference Registration:

Gain conference administration experience and meet new people by greeting conference attendees, passing out registration materials/badges, etc. Registration assistants will not handle cash transactions.

Serve as a Session Scribe and Host during the Concurrent Sessions:

Volunteer to assist the presenters during concurrent sessions.  As a host, you will check with the presenters to see if assistance is needed with the room, audio/video, etc. and seek conference personnel for support if needed.  As the session Scribe, you will record a summary of the session that includes key take away ideas (NORDP will provide a template and further instructions). Information on the sessions can be found within the conference program here.

Help Spread the Word (Social Media)

Volunteer to live tweet or blog about the conference and its speakers.  Dianne Norcutt will provide additional details for all social media volunteers.

Be sure to follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2017 Conference updates!