Who: Bob MacDonald, Coordinator for Partnerships and Grants Where: Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture Number of years in research development: 5 Length of NORDP membership: 5 Number of NORDP conferences attended: 5 I was hired by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in December, 2010, as its first Coordinator for Partnerships and Grants. My charge was simple but broad – to help ARS scientists to be more successful in obtaining soft funding. I had previously been with a Federal granting agency for 17 years, so I was very knowledgeable about Federal grant programs and grantsmanship – but this assignment was broader and, as I came to find out, very closely aligned with the emerging field of research development. I was both thrilled and anxious about my new task of helping ARS’ 2,000 scientists located in 90 locations across the nation. One of the first things I did was to visit several universities to learn what they did. I quickly ran into Ken Gertz, Associate Vice President for Research Development at the University of Maryland and one of the NORDP’s founders. He told me about NORDP, and I quickly joined and started attending the meetings.
What I learned at NORDP annual meetings was indispensable to my standing up a successful research development program at ARS – even though there are significant differences between universities and ARS, a Federal agency with units dispersed across the country. I learned what works and what does not work, could discuss strategies and programs with the wonderful members of NORDP, find and vet the tools and contracted support I needed, as well as be part of an exciting, growing organization of fantastic people. And the annual meetings are where this really takes place. The sharing of experiences, best practices, and hallway conversations are invaluable – as of course are the dinners out together! Today, in large part thanks to the shared experience of NORDP, I have a program that my scientists (who, like most scientists, are not fans of administration) love and avidly support. The 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
Meet our NORDP Conference Attendees! Who: Ashton Waite, Proposal Development Coordinator Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Number of years in research development: 3.5 years Length of NORDP membership: 3 years Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1 Like many research development professionals, I never planned for such a career. Rather, I stumbled into the field when I discovered that picking a career didn’t require me to choose between my equal affection for English and organismal biology. Working as a proposal development coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has allowed me to leverage my dual background in the humanities and sciences – each day I edit, write, and read about some form of scientific research.
My position aligns well with NORDP’s mission, as my work primarily involves partnering with faculty and extramural partners to facilitate the development of external grant proposals, with the goal of enhancing the quality and competitiveness of proposals submitted by UNL grant applicants. I joined NORDP within a year of entering the field and attended my first conference in 2013 in Austin, Texas. Because acquiring research funding is extremely competitive, I was impressed by members’ warm collegiality and willingness to share their knowledge. As one of the newer members in the profession, I have benefited greatly from other members’ shared experiences. At the 2015 conference in Bethesda, Maryland, I will be leading a roundtable discussion focused on considering the value of internal and external expert review of grant proposals. I consider myself somewhat of a knowledge-gatherer and enjoy learning from others, so I look forward to meeting other attendees and hearing about their best practices for evaluating proposal development services and coordinating proposal development for large-scale teams. To maximize your time at the conference, I recommend availing yourself of as many networking opportunities as possible. Start a conversation with the person next to you, join a group for the networking dinner, and attend a working group/committee meeting to learn more about getting involved with NORDP. See you in Bethesda!
Beginning March 18, 2015, we’ll be featuring a weekly series of “conference cameos.” Published each Wednesday from March 18 to April 22, the conference cameos will feature six representative NORDP members who will share – in their own words – thoughts about the benefits of and tips and tricks for for attending the 7th annual research development conference, April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD.
This cross-section of NORDP members will talk about the many ways a range of research development professionals approach the NORDP conference – as well as practical suggestions for maximizing your professional development and networking opportunities at our organization’s annual meeting.
Cameos are being developed by a range of individuals with various research development responsibilities and organizational affiliations. The inaugural cameo will feature Ashton Waite, a proposal development coordinator in the Office of Proposal Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Be sure to watch for the first conference cameo, which will be published on Wednesday, March 18!
The 7th Annual NORDP Research Development Conference will be held April 29 – May 1, 2015 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference is a four-day event focused on understanding key trends in federal and private research funding, large-scale proposal development by interdisciplinary research teams, and implementation of strategic initiatives that foster institutional competitiveness.
Prominent keynote speakers will be present from several federal and private agencies, and breakout sessions will incorporate topics such as facilitating team science, proposal development, systems and tools for tracking research productivity, building research development infrastructure, research development in an undergraduate setting, and more.
Who should attend:
Research development professionals
Corporate and foundation relations professionals
University advancement officials
Susan Carter, J.D.
Director, Research Development Services
University Of California, Merced
Phone: 1-855-RES-DEV1 (Toll Free, 1-855-737-3381), option 4