Early Bird Registration Rates for NORDP 2021 Close Next Week

The Early Bird Member Registration price for NORDP 2021 is $149; Early Bird Nonmember pricing is $249. Early bird rates close March 31st – register soon to save! Registration is open on our registration page HERE.

The full schedule and registration are now available. The schedule at a glance and a downloadable PDF of the detailed schedule can be found HERE.

NORDP 2021 features over three full days of content delivered virtually. Registrants will have access to all recorded sessions from conference week.

The bulk of the conference content will take place May 3-6. In addition,
Pre-conference events start April 26 and feature more than 7 hours of pre-recorded 20-minute oral sessions. Post-conference events, starting May 10, feature more roundtables. Note: Pre-conference roundtable registration has already filled and the currently available post-conference roundtables will be full very soon.

We hope to see you at NORDP 2021!

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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 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.

NORDP 2021 Schedule and Registration Available

The full schedule and registration are now available for the 13th Annual NORDP
Research Development Conference. The schedule at a glance and a downloadable PDF of the detailed schedule can be found HERE.

Registration is open on our registration page HERE. The Early Bird Member Registration price is $149; Early Bird Nonmember pricing is $249. Early bird rates close at the end of March – register soon to save!

NORDP 2021 features over three full days of content delivered virtually.

The bulk of the conference content will take place May 3-6. In addition,
Pre-conference events start April 26 and feature more than 7 hours of pre-recorded 20-minute oral sessions along with a number of roundtables. Post-conference events, starting May 10, feature even more roundtables. Registrants will have access to all the sessions from conference week.

We hope to see you at NORDP 2021!

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 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 2021 Conference Scholarships Available; Apply by March 15, 2021

NORDP Conference Scholarships (known as “Attendance Awards” when we meet in person) are intended to help members offset the cost of conference registration. These scholarships are intended for those who need financial support beyond what their institutions or organizations will provide. NORDP 2021 awards will fund the cost of one (1) conference registration per award at the early-bird member rate.

These awards support NORDP’s mission to enhance the diversity of our membership and member institutions. Members who are new to NORDP, are attending their first NORDP conference, identify as belonging to a group that is underrepresented in NORDP, or represent Minority-Serving Institutions, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Scholarship recipients are expected to volunteer at the conference and serve on a NORDP committee or subcommittee following the 2021 conference.

Eligibility: These awards are not available to current and prior NORDP Board of Directors members, Affiliate Members or consultants. Anyone who has received conference/travel support from NORDP in the previous three onsite conference years (2017, 2018 or 2019 conferences) is not eligible in 2021.

To Apply: Visit https://nordp.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1836162. (If this is your first time using NORDP’s InfoReady site, please select “Register” in the upper right-hand corner to create a login for this site.)

PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE UNTIL YOU ARE NOTIFIED OF THE STATUS OF YOUR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION. We will contact applicants with decisions before the Early Bird registration window closes.

NORDP 2021 Schedule at a Glance Posted


The NORDP 2021 schedule at a glance is now available HERE. You can find other information about our 13th Annual Research Development Conference on the conference home page.

Our plenary speakers include NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, NIH Deputy Director Mike Lauer, and University of Michigan Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Rob Sellers.

Registration will open in early March, with early-bird pricing at $149 for members, $249 for nonmembers. NORDP 2021 registration includes 3.5 days of live events, more than 8 hours of pre-recorded content, access to session recordings post-conference and fun activities (trivia night, happy hours) to engage our attendees. 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.

Announcing NORDP 2021 Plenary Speakers

The NORDP 2021 Conference Planning Committee is thrilled to announce plenary speakers for the 13th Annual NORDP Conference. Our main events will take place May 3-5, with additional conference content offered throughout the month and into summer. 

The opening keynote on Monday, May 3 will feature Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the National Science Foundation, to discuss “NSF Strategy into the Future.” In the afternoon NORDP will welcome science communications expert Mark Bayer for a talk titled “Alternative Facts in the Academy: The Art of Pushing Back and Persuading when Data Aren’t Enough.”

Dr. Michael Lauer, NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research, will kick off Tuesday morning with “Extramural Research in the Era of COVID-19: An NIH Perspective.” On Wednesday, NORDP’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence presents Dr. Robert Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan, to discuss institutional DEI and anti-racism efforts.

The full program will be posted soon, with registration opening later this winter. Conference updates will be coming to your inbox and the blog soon! You can also follow #NORDP2021 on twitter.

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.

Call for Abstracts Now Open for NORDP 2021

Call for Abstracts Now Open! 
NORDP 2021 
May 2021 • Online

The 13th annual NORDP Research Development Conference will be held ONLINE in May 2021.

Abstracts are now being accepted for NORDP 2021. All abstracts must be submitted electronically no later than 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Monday, December 14th, 2020. 

Submissions for abstracts for ALL sessions can be made here (these include workshops, 60 and 90 minute presentations, pre-recorded oral presentations, lightning talks, roundtables, and posters). Please take a few moments to read the instructions before logging in and submitting your abstract. A PDF version of these instructions can also be downloaded.


Stay Connected! 

Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2021 updates, including featured speaker confirmations, exciting topics to be discussed, and more. 

Conference Email Contact: rdconf@nordp.org

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.

Final Sessions of NORDP2020

All great things come to end, including NORDP2020. This month NORDP will host the final three NORDP2020 sessions on certifications/credentialing, peer review design and strategy, and mentoring. You can check out the programs and register to attend HERE. Details on each session are below.

Already, some members have been asking “what happens next after NORDP2020 ends?” That’s easy to answer! Once the final “live” session concludes, all the NORDP2020 content (videos, slides, transcripts, etc.) will be placed in one huge NORDP2020 conference package and made available to all members free of charge through NORDP’s LMS. So, if you missed a live session or two, no worries; everything will be available for viewing at your leisure by the end of October.

October 6, 1pm ET: NORDP2020: Research Development and Alphabet Soup – Making Sense of Certification and Credentialing in an Evolving Environment

We know there is no concise, satisfying, and all-inclusive definition for research development and as our community evolves, we now reflect a wide range of experiences. Indeed, qualifications and experiences of RD professionals vary significantly depending on our institution’s priorities and expectations. This means we often engage across a spectrum of activities, including research administration, communication facilitation and networking, project management, writing and editing, curriculum instruction and design, graphic design, and other niche work that compliments our terminal degrees. Examples may include, but may not be limited to: technical writing certificate; grant writing certificate, certified research administrator (CRA), editor of life sciences (ELS); proposal management (CF.APMP); and project management (PMI).

The goal of this session is to introduce some of the common certifications and credentials that RD professionals currently hold and explore the return on investment for earning them. Learning outcomes include a deeper appreciation of how augmenting and complementing existing skills with certification may strengthen an RD office, and greater knowledge of professional education resources (with or without certification and/or credentialing) that can contribute to increased productivity individually and within an RD office.

This session is relevant for emerging and established RD professionals looking for career development oppportunities, and for supervisors defining RD roles and hiring/managing RD professionals. Attendees should consider themselves advanced in their knowledge of RD responsibilities.

October 21, 2pm ET: NORDP2020: Peer Review Design and Strategy

For over 20 years the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program (RCP) has worked with State, Federal, international, and non-profit organizations in designing and implementing peer review systems for sceince and technology grant programs. The goal of the AAAS RCP-led roundtable is to share the program’s expertise in this realm, while stimulating peer-to-peer discussion on common challenges and strategic approaches to peer review.

Participants will exchange their experiences with and approaches to proposal peer review to gain insight on effective strategies to idenitfy and support the highest quality research, mitigate risk, streamline review and decision-making processes, and develop an insitutional culture of rigorous evalauation. The advantages and disadvantages of different peer review modeles and variables will be discussed including: revew panel structure; review criteria; and solicitation design. Through the topical roundtable participants will gain a better understanding of how other organizations manage peer review processes and present an opportunity for them to improve their own systems.

This session builds on a previous panel-based presentation from AAAS RCP at the 2018 SSTI conference, which focused on RCP’s work with state organizations to align review processes with the needs and priorities of the initiative and funding mechanism. The roundtable format presents an opportunity to to expand this discussion beyond state-based initiatives to other domestic organizations engageing in proposal review.

October 23, 2pm ET: NORDP2020: Mentoring Lightning Storm

This mentoring-focused series of talks will engage NORDP’s current and prospective mentors and mentees with topics geared toward foundational mentoring skills and experiences. Sessions will showcase best practices necessary to be successful in mentoring relations, as well as, provide insights into the program in a brief but interactive format. The talks will provide potential mentors and mentees additional resources to support NORDP or other future mentoring relationships. 

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.

Conference Cameo: Sherry Knighton-Schwandt

Who: Sherry Knighton-Schwandt, Assistant Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington and Executive Director for Research Development for IU
Where: Indiana University
Number of years in research development: 10
Length of NORDP membership: 5
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
How do you unwind? Gardening, bird watching, cooking, traveling, and spending time with my husband, friends, children and grandchildren. Truth be told, I also binge watch the BBC series, “Call the Midwife.”

My route to research development has been circuitous. After 12+ years of working in administration, student recruitment and public affairs for the IU School of Education at Bloomington, I found my way to the IU Office of the Vice President for Research as a lead for communications and special projects. That role quickly led to deepening engagement with IU Bloomington’s and IU’s internal and external funding competitions, and my research development career began.92

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to lead the development and creation of IU Bloomington’s Proposal Development Services group, which consults and collaborates with researchers to help plan, prepare, and manage applications for external funding. I also continuously oversee more than two-dozen campus research centers, institutes, and museums that often play a role in collaborating with faculty on grants.

I’ve also had the excitement of being involved in the inception and implementation of two large-scale grant programs that have generated myriad research development benefits (and challenges!) to the university: IU’s Grand Challenges program (three initiatives, a total of $200+ million in funding) and IU Bloomington’s Emerging Areas of Research program (five initiatives, ~$20 million in funding).

In 2019, my responsibilities in research development expanded to encompass all of IU’s seven campuses, and I am currently engaged in strengthening relationships among all of the IU staff involved in research development activities and collaborating with them to create a strategic plan that focuses on how IU can refine and expand our research development activities and the ways we support IU faculty. I have the utmost privilege of working with super smart and dedicated staff who work tirelessly to advance the university’s research goals. As with all successful endeavors, it takes a committed and enthusiastic team working towards the same goals.

As the concept of research development has emerged in recent years, in large part due to the work of NORDP, I’ve been pleased to attend several NORDP conferences. The information, education, and networking provided by the conferences has been invaluable. I’ve learned so much about how to build and strengthen our university’s research development resources, and I look forward to learning more this year! I’m also excited that in October 2020, IU Research Development will host the NORDP Great Lakes Regional Conference at IU Bloomington.

My NORDP tip is, if possible, bring colleagues with you to the conference. There is much to do and absorb. Strategize about who will attend what sessions, and make sure to compare notes. Above all, take advantage of the like-minded professionals gathered together, and enjoy yourself!

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held May 17 – 20, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. The conference room block can be accessed HERE

For more information about the conference or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2020 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.