Members come to NORDP via many paths. This cameo is part of a series featuring members who came to NORDP following postdoc experiences.
Who: Jeremiah Paulus, Grants & Contracts Specialist
Where: The University of Texas at Austin
Number of Years in RD: 5 years
Length of NORDP Membership: 6 years
What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?
As I was finishing my postdoc in 2014, I was trying to decide what to do next. I had always enjoyed discussing other people’s research and how to improve it during lab meetings and conferences, but wasn’t sure how those skills could translate into a career. Fortunately, my postdoc organization, the Medical College of Wisconsin, had a fantastic career seminar series for graduate students and postdocs. From there, I learned about research administration and development, and by talking to a number of people I already knew, I learned about NORDP. After learning even more about the field at my first NORDP meeting, I was confident about the type of job I could apply for and later that year started my career in research development.
At the University of Texas at Austin, I am a Grants & Contracts Specialist in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. I perform all the administrative duties involved in grant submission, including submitting internal paperwork, uploading documents into submission portals and acting as a liaison with our central sponsored projects office. In addition, I also find and evaluate funding opportunities, edit documents for grammar and responsiveness to the opportunity, draft budgets and other documents and make model figures.
What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?
I attended my first annual NORDP conference in 2014, while I was still trying to decide whether research administration was the correct career path for me. While there, I had many opportunities to network with people in the field, as well as have more formal meetings with attendees that had similar backgrounds to my own. This experience helped me to decide to go into research administration, including using the job boards to find my first position. Since then, I have attended the annual NORDP conference 3 more times (in 2015, 2016 and 2018). I also gave a poster presentation in 2018, and sometimes engage in the listserv.
What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?
I primarily built up relationships at my first meeting when I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I called on those connections I made to learn more about their particular job duties as well as the culture at their institutions. This helped me more fully understand the diversity of RD careers, as well as help define my job searches. I have also made connections with a group of science writers, who have been able to provide more specific advice to the types of job duties I have.
How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?
Every conference I’ve attended has produced a wealth of notes that I have taken back to my colleagues. With the information I have gained through NORDP, I have helped improve the grant submissions I work on, as well as more fully understand the different sponsors. This has helped me excel at my job and helped as I studied and received my Certified Research Administrator (CRA) Certificate.
How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from post doctoral positions?
I think NORDP can help instruct postdocs on the various bureaucratic and administrative aspects of research development that they may not have had much experience with. In addition, NORDP can be beneficial to helping postdocs translate their research, communication and planning skills to research development position they may have never known about or previously considered.
What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?
I would recommend staying involved with the community. That could mean contributing to the listserv discussions, and attending the meetings.
What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?
I would highly recommend becoming a member to have access to the listserv and job boards. Those proved invaluable as I was transitioning to a career in research development. I also recommend attending the meetings, or even reviewing the slides and notes from previous meetings. I’ve learned so much and continue to do so.
Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee
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.