Unleash the Possibilities of Your NORDP Membership with the New Orientation Guide

Conversation with Kate Duggan who led efforts to create the newly launched resource.

Who: Kate Duggan, Assistant Director, Research Intelligence

Where: Brown University

Years in RD: 4 years

NORDP Membership: 4 years

What prompted you to initiate the effort to create this guide?

It began last year as one of the initiatives that we looked to explore on the Member Services Committee (MSC). When I initially joined NORDP I worked with six or seven colleagues who were already involved and provided me with guidance on how to navigate the organization. Throughout my years in NORDP I met numerous people who did not have the benefit of co-workers who were also members. It got me thinking about the things that I had wanted to see when I joined and provide a place for new members to find answers to their questions about available resources.  

We put together a working group within MSC that involved Barbara Sasso, Brooke Gowl, Elizabeth Festa, Heather McIntosh, and Kara Luckey. Our main goal was to put everything that NORDP has to offer in one place which would provide a one stop shop to show what we were all about.  

Many NORDP resources are underutilized, and we wanted to show members how to make those things work for you. Translating these things into your work was also a key goal. My favorite part of the guide is our suggested action items. Our thinking was that if you go through the steps of acting on an item you will be more likely to do it again and become more engaged with everything NORDP has to offer. 

What did you learn about NORDP from your work on this project that surprised you?

My main takeaway from this project was the realization of the amazing amount of work being done by volunteers throughout NORDP. So many members are giving of their time and expertise on all the committees, conference, mentoring, etc. It really is humbling to know that such a strong network is out there to assist members with virtually anything. 

The project also gave me the perspective of a new member looking at how to dive into the pool. I knew more than most new members back when I joined due to my colleagues. The process forced me to think about what I would want to know and what would be valuable to someone coming to NORDP as a new member.

I really hope that people will try some of the suggested action items and be open to learning something new about NORDP. I would consider it a win if folks gain new insights or inspiration and get more involved with what the organization has to offer. 

Final thoughts?

Consider joining the MSC. We are always looking for ideas on how to recruit and retain members. The guide will serve as great extension of the committee and provide ways to tap into what NORDP has to offer. Thank you to all my MSC colleagues who helped put this together and I hope the NORDP membership finds the guide to be a valuable resource.

Check out the NORDP Orientation Guide here: https://www.nordp.org/a-guide-to-the-nordp-community

Login to your member account for access to the more extensive members-only version for all the available features of the guide. 

Compiled by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

Member Services Committee offers on-demand support, flexible networking for virtual conference-goers at NORDP 2021

Submitted by Sarah Messbauer, Member Services Committee

It’s no secret that virtual conferences present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. This year, for example, NORDP is reducing the stress we’ve all felt when choosing between concurrent sessions by offering more pre-recorded content and extended pre-and post-conference sessions. At the same time, the global connection of our virtual formats does have the potential to make us feel disconnected from peers and colleagues—unless we take active steps to forge those connections ourselves. 

It is for these reasons that the volunteers of NORDP’s Member Services Committee are “booting up” a suite of information, resources, and services to ensure all NORDP 2021 attendees can maximize their conference experience.   

Orientation for New Members/New Attendees – A guide to all things NORDP 2021

If you are new to NORDP, new to conferencing, or just want some insights on how best to navigate this year’s program, be sure to register for this conference overview event scheduled for Thursday, 29 April 2021 from 12:00-1:00pm EDT. The discussion will begin with a brief overview of NORDP’s goals and how it is structured to best serve you before segueing into advice from the conference organizers on how to navigate the conference platform and program, insights on networking opportunities, and tips on avoiding conference burnout. 

There will be plenty of time left for Q&A, so come with questions!

“Ask Me!” – NORDP’s annual conference ambassadors program goes virtual 

Conference Ambassadors are this year’s corp of volunteers ready to answer any questions you may have at any time: about the conference, our organization, or our profession. They are active NORDP members who have attended at least one prior conference (potential Ambassadors – sign up here!). You can spot them by their virtual “Ambassador” name tags… and a few may even sport the phrase “Ask Me!” in front of their names throughout conference! 

Let’s all go to the Lobby… and have ourselves a Chat!

Looking for a break from sitting in on sessions? Interested in connecting with your Research Development peers? If a mid-conference connection is in the cards, come by the conference platform’s virtual lobby and enter the Lobby Chat! This feature will be open for informal networking several hours each day, with MSC volunteers on-hand to answer questions and generate conversation. 

The Lobby Chat will be open on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the conference, from 10:00-11:00am; 1:30-2:30pm; and 5:00-6:00pm each day. 

The happiest place(s) on earth: MSC Happy Hours!

The Member Services Committee is hosting two concurrent happy hours at this year’s conference, both of which will take place on Wednesday, 5 May 2021 from 7:00-8:00pm (EDT).

In our first room, we’ll be chatting about the most useful activities, services, or resources you’ve come across as an RD professional—at your organization or elsewhere. If you’re curious to know what people are doing or seeing (and are willing to share, yourself), this is the place for the curious and creative. 

In our second room, we’re inviting all parents and caretakers to come and talk about Research Development: caretaking at home (and work?!). This will be a family-friendly happy hour, so kids, spouses, parents, and others are welcome to stop by, hang out, and join the conversation.

Networking Dinners – or breakfasts, or lunches, or….

Do you prefer a smaller, more intimate setting for getting to know your peers and colleagues? If so, Thursday, May 6th’s “Networking Dinners”—a longstanding NORDP conference tradition—are just the thing. These fun and informal zoom “dinners” are 1-hour sessions that provide a small group setting to meet and engage with other conference attendees around a topic selected by your host. Topics from past years have included: 

  • “Advancing Diversity in the RD Profession,” 
  • “Limited Submissions: Working With Leadership,” 
  • “Government Relations for Arts and Humanities” 
  • “RD Office Workflow Management”
  • “Graphic Design Tools of the Trade” 
  • “First-Time Conference Attendees” 
  • “Supporting Mid-Career Researchers”
  • “Transitioning to Supervising”

This year, hosts select the time of the meeting and provide their own Zoom link; this will provide those joining in from diverse time zones with more options to engage with your peers…. whether you’d like to share a meal, a cup of tea, or just some good conversation! Dinner? Sure! But “Networking Brunch” sounds pretty great too.

If you’d like to host a ‘dinner,’ please sign up here by Wednesday, 28 April 2021.  

If you’d like to attend a ‘dinner,’ please stay tuned! We’ll share the invitation to RSVP once host sign-ups are complete. 

Wow! With so many resources, activities, and support available, we hope to knock those virtual conferencing challenges right off your radar. If you are new to NORDP or have questions about the conference, attend the pre-conference Orientation or reach out to a NORDP Ambassador. They are your friendly faces and first friends of NORDP 2021, and along with other conference resources such as the daily Lobby Chats, concurrent Happy Hours, and final day “Networking Dinners,” are provided by the Member Services Committee to ensure all our Research Development colleagues have access to the information and services they need to make this year’s conference our best one yet! 

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.

Upcoming Career Stories: Fireside Chats

You are invited to attend the next Career Stories: Fireside Chats, a collaboration of NORDP LEAD, and the Professional Development and Member Services Committees on Thursday, February 18 at 1:00 pm EST / 10 am PST.

This conversational series, developed in response to member requests, will highlight the professional trajectories of NORDP members. The series will showcase the multiple ways NORDP members ended up in research development and the many paths available for career growth and advancement.

The February speaker will be Susan Carter, Research Development Director at Santa Fe Institute (New Mexico). Susan is a founding board member of NORDP and has over 20 years’ experience in research and faculty development, diversity and team science, and as a research funding program officer and administrator. Susan will share her journey in research development, and the ways in which involvement in NORDP has supported her professional development. 

Register for the Thursday, February 18 conversation HERE.

Mark your calendar for next month’s Fireside Chat. Mark Milutinovich, Director of Large Center Development at the University of New Hampshire will be sharing his research development pathway on Wednesday, March 10 at 2:00 pm EST / 11:00 am PST.

You can register for Mark’s conversation HERE.

Career Stories: Fireside Chats are designed to be 30-minute listen and learn sessions, with time for follow-up questions. The sessions are being archived and made available for later viewing via the NORDP LMS. If you are interested in sharing YOUR RD story, please contact Jan Abramson.

NORDP Announces the Availability of Membership Scholarships

NORDP is pleased to announce the availability of twenty scholarships to support membership renewals in fiscal year 2021. 

In recognition of the impacts of COVID-19 on institutional funding for professional development, the awards will cover individual regular, trainee, and emeritus membership renewal costs for active, graced, and lapsed members as of June 1, 2020.  

The awards support NORDP’s richly diverse and robust national peer network of research development professionals, enabling members to continue benefiting from:

To apply, please complete your APPLICATION FORM by 5pm (submitter’s local time) on December 31st, 2020. 

We look forward to expanding the Membership Scholarship program in FY22.

Funding for this first round of scholarships was provided by Elsevier, s a proud and long-standing sponsor of NORDP. As a global leader in research information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and research executives advance science and research for the benefit of society. Our Research Intelligence solutions combine quality, structured, interoperable data, advanced analytics and an array of indicators and metrics that offer actionable insights to address critical challenges and expand research excellence. Learn more. Elsevier is committed to advancing equity, inclusion and diversity in the global research ecosystem to ensure that research benefits from a diverse research workforce to reach its full potential in achieving a sustainable and equitable future. Learn more.

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 Postdoc Cameo: Alexis Nagel

Who: Alexis Nagel, PhD, Research Instructor, MUSC College of Nursing
Where: Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Number of Years in RD: 4 (Officially)
Length of NORDP Membership: 3

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I transitioned from the bench to RD in 2016. Towards the end of my postdoc tenure I knew that I no longer wanted to pursue a traditional academic career; around the same time, I started working with a senior faculty member who neededNagel,Alexis-AcademicAffairsa great deal of help preparing and submitting federal grants. It was then that I discovered untapped skills in grant writing as well as an affinity for this type of work. A position opened up at my institution’s central RD office about a year later and I was able to land the role based upon that experience. There, I worked primarily on large, infrastructure/capacity-building grants and led grant writing training workshops for early career faculty. I recently transitioned to a new role within the MUSC College of Nursing to help expand overall research funding for that college. I am now providing more one-on-one support to faculty with grant writing and strategy development, which I really enjoy.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I joined NORDP in 2017 and have attended two annual meetings. In 2019, I started volunteering for the N-ROAD working group that is building a set of adaptable RD training resources to help research offices implement their own onboarding programs. I also participated in the National Postdoc Association (NPA) annual meeting along with Samar Sengupta, the official NPA liaison. As NORDP representatives, we helped answer questions about the RD career path and promoted NORDP resources available to postdocs. This year I am participating in the NORDP Mentoring Program for the first time, as both a mentor and mentee.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

I have met so many wonderful individuals through NORDP! The organization has really facilitated my ability to connect professionally with others in the field, particularly those who share my passion for building bridges to alternative career paths for scientists. It truly feels like a community.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

The networking and professional education opportunities offered through NORDP have been quite valuable. Learning about different institutional environments, funding priorities, and career options in RD has helped me better assess my own professional goals.

What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?

The trainee membership option, which offers a reduced annual rate compared to the full membership fee, is a great way for postdocs to try out NORDP resources. I know several NORDP members who worked quite hard to get this option rolled out, and I would really encourage postdocs to take advantage of it!

What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?

For postdocs who aren’t yet members of NORDP, I suggest tuning in to the NPA’s My Postdoc Monthly webinar on August 5, 2020 to find out more about RD. This will be presented by me, Samar Sengupta, PhD (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), and Kristen Scott, PhD (Moffitt Cancer Center): https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/events/eventdetails.aspx?id=1396321

Next, talk to someone who works in RD to get a sense of the field and determine what transferrable skills you might possess. Consider reaching out to NORDP members at your institution or find us on social media (LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexisnagel-phd, or follow: @NORDP_official, @AnonDumboOctopi, and others) to connect, set up informational interviews, and build your networks. As I mentioned above, consider signing up for a NORDP trainee membership to gain additional exposure and access to job boards, numerous career resources, mentorship opportunities, and a lot of great people who want to help!

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.

NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Samarpita Sengupta

Who: Samarpita Sengupta, Instructor, Director of Neurosciences Research Development
Where: UT Southwestern Medical Center
Number of Years in RD: 4.5 years
Length of NORDP Membership: 3.5 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I started in RD in 2015, having been recruited as a Scientific Research Writer in the newly formed Neuroscience Research Development office at UT Southwestern Medical Center. After 3.5 years of postdoc, I was sure that the traditional route of postdoc to academic faculty position did not meet my interests, needs or life priorities. I reassessed the skills I possessed and realized that writing/editing was what I was good at. I did a lot of informational interviews senguptaand decided to apply to this position not knowing what Research Development meant. It was a pleasant surprise to realize that this fit my interests, goals and ambitions so well. We built our RD office from the ground up. We mostly work with individual investigators submitting to the NIH and other biomedical funding agencies, including state and private funding. We also work on large grants and deliver a lot of education.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I joined NORDP in 2017. I have attended all three NORDP conferences since, and have presented posters and/or talks at all three. At the first conference, I was browsing committees and heard Peggy Sundermeyer asking for volunteers for liaisons from the Strategic Alliances committee. I volunteered to be the liaison between NORDP and the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), since I had been involved with the NPA during my postdoc. I attended two NPA conferences as a NORDP liaison and through the demands of postdocs we spoke with, I chaired the working group that created NROAD, the resource that RD offices can use to create internship/training/onboarding programs to help people new to RD get a hands-on understanding of the tasks involved. I was also recruited by Kathy Cataneo to assist with the Member Services subcommittee on creating the new member categories. It was gratifying to both create NROAD and make it available to all NORDP membership as well as help with creation of the Trainee and Emeritus categories of NORDP members. I have helped with the Ambassador program for last year’s conference. I currently serve as the MSC liaison to new trainee members. I also volunteer on the NORDP mentoring committee, have participated in the mentoring program as a mentor and a mentee and currently serve as a facilitator of mentor-mentee pairs and on the RD mentor training subcommittee.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

NORDP has become home and NORDP members are my people!! Before joining this organization, I browsed a couple of organizations related to grants, but at NORDP, I didn’t have to explain to people what I did! It was also very heartening to see the diversity at NORDP, not only in the people, but in the paths they had taken to a RD career. I have learned so much from everyone! I have gained a mentor through the NORDP mentoring program who has helped me enormously. I have also received mentorship from the NORDP leadership, from the leadership of the committees I have served on, and from several senior and peer NORDP members. I am not naming names because of the fear of inadvertently leaving someone off! I have made friendships with NORDP colleagues, and I will be presenting at the virtual NORDP conference with several NORDP colleagues.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

Being a member of NORDP and passively following the listserv helped me gain a lot of knowledge about RD and I have been able to build on programs at my institution using that knowledge. In addition, actively volunteering with NORDP has helped me make invaluable networks throughout the country. I was truly honored and humbled to receive the NORDP Rising Star award last year! This has definitely helped me gain some recognition at my institution.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from post doctoral positions?

For people interested in RD, NORDP provides several great resources, I will list a few: 1) The listserv, where passively gaining information and knowledge will help postdocs get an idea of the conversations, language and jargon of the field, which will definitely give them a leg-up in a job interview. 2) Networks: Participating in NORDP circles, committees or regions or even knowing who in their institution is a part of NORDP and therefore, doing RD, will help postdocs build valuable networks. 3) NORDP job board: This is self-explanatory! 4) RD101: This is a course that is being offered by senior NORDP members and will be a great resource for those seeking to get a head start in RD. 4) NROAD: This is a resource developed for RD offices to create internship programs. Postdocs can go through such programs in their institutional RD offices and get hands-on training in RD tasks. 5) Other NORDP resources: NORDP website and the blog is a treasure trove of resources, reading materials, videos and articles. One can spend days in there reading and understanding what RD is and how diverse it is. 6) Trainee membership: A lot of these resources are available for NORDP members. Postdocs and others who have not had a RD job can become NORDP members using the reduced fee trainee membership and avail all these resources.

What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?

Attending the national and regional conferences are always a great idea. This year, it can be done in the comfort of your own home! I am a big believer in volunteering and the immense two way benefits to the organization and your own career that come because of it. I encourage them to seek out opportunities to help and be involved, whether it is on a committee, subcommittee or a working group. There are several ways to get involved. Serve as a mentor, serve as a career navigator for new trainee members, join a circle and contribute, the possibilities are endless and we always need more people!

What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?

I encourage new trainee members to respond to the listserv, even if it is to ask a question. Since we are all service oriented, we are all eager to answer questions! I encourage them to find committees they can serve on, and build their networks. I am working on a pilot program with the mentoring committee to pair each trainee member with a “career navigator”, people who have gone through similar career pathways as theirs. I encourage them to reach out to these people, build these relationships and use those to their advantage. I encourage them to apply to the NORDP mentoring program.

I encourage postdocs who aren’t members of NORDP yet, to tune in to a webinar we are presenting for the National Postdoctoral Association My Postdoc Monthly webinar next month to find out more about RD as a career path. https://www.nationalpostdoc.org/events/eventdetails.aspx?id=1396321

If they think this is the right fit, then I encourage them to consider reaching out to NORDP members in their institutions or find us on social media (Follow @NORDP_official and me, @AnonDumboOctopi and others), set up informational interviews, connect and build your networks! And finally, I encourage them to consider becoming trainee members and gain additional exposure and access to resources and jobs!

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.

NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Kristen Scott

Who: Kristen Scott, PhD, Scientific Development Officer
Where: Moffitt Cancer Center
Number of Years in RD: Officially – 2; Unofficially – 10
Length of NORDP Membership: 2.5 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

Like many other postdocs that transitioned into RD, I started engaging in research development activities during my graduate and postdoctoral training – I just didn’t know what it was called at the time. I would proofread colleagues’ manuscripts and grants and provide feedback on organization, scientific soundness, flow, etc. I enjoyed helping others achieve their goals.0027-Kristen Scott2MB

It wasn’t until 2017, when I was looking to transition out of the lab, that I learned that RD was a ‘thing’ and that it could provide a rewarding and fruitful career. I recognized that my organization didn’t have someone fulfilling that role for our faculty so I wrote a white paper, using NORDP’s resources, outlining the need for RD services at Moffitt, what an office could potentially look like, and what specific services I thought would benefit our faculty and their needs. I presented this paper to my current boss and senior leadership, with the support of my postdoctoral mentor, and gained support for this idea. As a result of the white paper discussion, a senior leader took a chance on me to help them with an upcoming P01 grant proposal in an RD capacity. From there, Moffitt took a chance on me and created my current position. I’m currently an RD office of one, tasked with assisting our faculty with generating highly competitive complex grants and helping to build an infrastructure for RD at our institute.

More specifically, I’m focused on elevating Moffitt’s portfolio of large team science awards. I help our faculty put together well organized and founded applications through effective project management, organization, editing, template building, communication with state and federal agencies, and occasional match making of expertise. I also support Moffitt’s P30 Cancer Center Support Grant through provision of project management, ongoing data management, writing, and editing services for annual progress reports and renewal applications.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization?

I learned about NORDP as I started to learn about RD in 2017 and got the opportunity to go to my first NORDP conference in 2018 through the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA)’s relationship with NORDP. Through this inter-institutional relationship, I met Drs. Samarpita Sengupta and Alexis Nagel and presented posters at both NORDP and NPA national meeting. We are currently working together on presenting an informational webinar for the NPA highlighting what research development is and how NORDP serves the RD professional community.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP?

When I started in the field, I didn’t know anyone. Everyone that I have interacted with at NORDP is warm and welcoming, and the NORDP community is truly a collaborative environment where everyone wants everyone else to succeed. Because of this environment, I’ve met people that I keep in touch with from across the country, and a few institutions have offered to let me shadow them as I build resources at my own institution.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

NORDP helped me establish research development services at my institution by providing wonderfully rich resources on what RD is and what it looks like at different institutions. It helped me gain colleagues that understood the transition that I was going through and what leadership looked like in this field.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from post doctoral positions?

NORDP provides really meaningful resources for post doctorates looking to transition into RD from the novel internship programs to shadowing RD offices to webinars to providing realistic salary numbers for the field. NORDP really provides a full education of what the field is and where you can go as part of it. Additionally, NORDP’s partnership with the NPA really helps build a bridge into the field by provided RD professionals to talk with, articles in the POSTDOCket, and opportunities to speak with postdocs through their monthly webinar series.

What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a NORDP member, even if you’ve never spoken with them before. My first interaction with a NORDP member was with Joanna Downer – I cold emailed her following her Science article about RD to ask several questions. She took the time to email me back with copious amounts of advice and suggestions related to my questions. It blew me away and made me want to get more involved in the organization. After joining, I realized that she is an exceptional steward of the organization but that everyone else in NORDP is just as enthusiastic about RD and all are willing to share their experiences.

What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?

Do your research – really make sure that RD is right for you by engaging in informational interviews with RD professionals, taking advantage of RD internship programs, becoming a member of NORDP, and attending the NORDP annual conference. Take advantage of NORDP’s mentoring program to help build a personal council of mentors within the field that are committed to helping you advance your career. Also, don’t forget the mentors and sponsors that helped you along the way – they are valuable viewpoints for your new career path.

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.

Get involved in NORDP!

Register Now for Committee Roundtable, Rescheduled for July 24

NORDP has rescheduled the Committee Roundtable (technical difficulties on our first attempt) for Friday, July 24, from 11:00 – 12:30 EDT. (10:00 – 11:30 CDT, 9:00-10:30 MDT, and 8:00-9:30 PDT), to explain the many committee activities underway and how members can get involved. Register for the roundtable here (NORDP members only).

“NORDP depends heavily on volunteers, and it takes a lot of dedicated research development professionals to support our growing profession.  We hope NORDP members, especially our new members, will join us at this roundtable to find opportunities to contribute to that effort,” says Karen Fletcher, NORDP past president. “Regardless of where you are in your RD career, your expertise is needed. Veteran or beginner, title or no title, the diversity of our membership is what has enabled NORDP to grow so rapidly.”

Brief descriptions of the committees are included below, and each committee has created a poster to summarize their most recent activities, available here.

Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CIE) – Works to operationalize inclusive excellence within NORDP.

Member Services Committee (MSC) – Recruits and retains members, assesses member needs, and provides member benefits and services.

Mentoring Committee – Offers meaningful mentoring expertise, support, and resources.

Nominating Committee – Facilitates board nominations and the election process.

Professional Development Committee (PD) – Coordinates the development and delivery of training and resources for members.

Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC) – Builds mutually beneficial relationships with related organizations.

Additional information on NORDP committees can be found at the NORDP website, and upcoming committee meetings can be found at the NORDP online calendar.

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 Postdoc Cameo: Jeremiah Paulus

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. Paulus PhotoFortunately, 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.

NORDP Postdoc Cameo: Diana Sama

Members come to NORDP via many paths. This cameo is part of a series featuring members who came to NORDP following postdoc experiences.

Who: Diana Sama, Proposal Development Officer
Where: University of Kentucky
Number of Years in RD: 4 ½ years
Length of NORDP Membership: 3 years

What’s your history in RD? When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?

I became interested in science communication during my training in biomedical neuroscience. Throughout my training, I helped my mentors and collaborators write proposals with increasing involvement as time progressed. I also received my own individual fellowship and really enjoyed the application process. While in my postdoc, I served as a ghostwriter my university’s health care marketing team and worked on recruiting materials, stock power point slides, and articles for their quarterly _DSC7929DianaMathisSamapublication. This gave me experience writing for a lay audience and interacting with clients. When it came time for the next career step, I decided to try my hand at RD and found a position outside academia with small educational nonprofit. I quickly developed skills in team building, networking, and grant writing outside my field of expertise. I also became well versed in scoping out potential sponsors. While I loved working with that group, I missed science and ended up returning to the university setting. I’ve been in the University of Kentucky Proposal Development Office for about three years now, and I feel like I’ve found my niche. Our most popular service is proposal review, where we read content for clarity, flow, organization, adherence to guidelines, and perform a gap analysis. Our other services include consultations for proposal guidance and advice, collaborator searches, funding opportunity disseminations, personalized funding searches, and grant-related workshop training for the campus community. We work on individual investigator proposal, as well as complex/multicomponent proposals.

What’s your history with NORDP? How have you engaged with the organization (committee work, conferences attended/presented)?

I have been a member of NORDP for 2 ½ years. I have attended the national conference, as well as the SE regional meeting. I found the presentations in both settings very informative for my current position. Topics included best-practices to innovative initiatives to networking with others in the field. I plan to become more involved over time as I learn more about NORDP and all of the committees. I have participated in surveys and conversations with a few committees, providing input where able.

What relationships have you built as a result of NORDP (new colleagues, connections to institutions where you previously had no point of contact)?

At my first NORDP conference I attended a networking dinner with other RD professionals who transitioned from postdocs, and the group has sporadically stayed in touch, thanks to the organizer of that dinner (Samar Sengupta) who rallies the group together every so often for NORDP-related input and conversation. The interaction with colleagues from similar training backgrounds has helped me feel welcomed and like I have a place and identity in the organization.

How has your service to NORDP enhanced your career?

I still have a lot of progress to make in this area, BUT I think just having a group to identify with—both NORDP as an organization, and former postdocs as RD professionals—has helped me validate my career choice. I think postdocs often struggle with the decision to leave their subject behind, but seeing many others in the same situation has eased my mental journey to this career.

How do you see that NORDP functions as a resource for RD professionals coming from post doctoral positions?

What I find interesting and unique about RD and RD professionals is that it is such a mixed group, in terms of training and career backgrounds. Coming from a disciplinary background, we always considered our professional societies to be the authority on everything we needed for our career, and I think NORDP comfortably fills that role for RD professionals. Finding such an organization felt very natural and helped ease the transition from my discipline to the RD profession. I know I can rely on NORDP for invaluable resources, conferences centered on professional learning, policy updates, innovative research, networking, career mentoring and advice, and job postings. The list serve is full of resources and advice, and I highly recommend signing up, just to see what questions other RDs pose and to see the vast historical, regulatory, and professional knowledge that the collective membership offers. I think NORDP helps all RD professionals feel like we belong and contribute to something bigger than our organization.

What recommendations do you have for prior postdoc members to get more involved with NORDP?

The best way to start getting involved is by attending the national and regional conferences. I highly recommend the networking dinners at the national conference. Find a topic or host that interest you and sign-up early because the dinners fill up fast. Also attend the committee meetings to see what they are all about and consider joining a committee or working with a committee.

What tips do you have for trainee members of NORDP or other postdocs looking to find a career in RD?

There are many paths to becoming an RD professional. If the career interests you, try to take advantage of your local network to get some relevant experiences while in your postdoc, even if it is outside the RD field. Work on building skills such as breaking down complex information for a lay audience, writing proposals and papers, or working with clients. Also, don’t overlook volunteer work to help build your skillset. If you enjoy the experience, start looking at job ads to get an idea of who is hiring and where, and what kind of work is available. Also look at national resources for RD information and careers, and keep in mind that the professional society in your discipline may have some information to offer, so ask around at your national conferences. Finally, keep in mind there are many settings in which you can work as an RD professional. Some people find the perfect fit with their first position, but sometimes it takes one or two job changes to get that ideal fit. So, don’t give up and feel free to reach out to those of us in NORDP who have already navigated the career transition.

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.