NORDP 2015 Conference Cameo: Lucy Deckard

Who: Lucy Deckard, President
Where: Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 
5 
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 3
It was my good luck that NORDP was being established just I decided to leave my position in Research Development at Texas A&M University to start a consulting business. Independent consultants depend on networking and word of mouth to connect with potential clients. Our currency is information, and one of the most valuable things we can provide a client is a broader perspective that reaches beyond their particular institution. What approaches have other institutions employed to address specific research development challenges? What works and what doesn’t? What are the larger trends in research funding and research development?

NORDP has been instrumental in helping me address all of those aspects. Attending NORDP conferences has provided invaluable opportunities to connect with potential clients across the country and meet clients with whom I’d previously only talked on the phone. The information I’ve learned at the conference has helped me to build a much broader understanding of the research development landscape across the country than I could ever have done on my own. Interestingly, when I attended my first NORDP conference in 2010, I was the only consultant there. At last year’s conference, I met a number of other independent consultants. It was wonderful to be able to share advice with them and commiserate about challenges.

In past conferences, I’ve participated in NORDP conferences in various ways, including serving as part of the planning committee, presenting, and volunteering to be a scribe. For this year’s conference, I’m particularly looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. To get the most out of the conference, I recommend that you make a point to talk to people you don’t know. Sit only at tables where you don’t know the other people and ask them about their research development roles at their institutions.

We hope to see you at the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information about the conference program or to register, click here

NORDP 2015 Conference Cameos: Jessica Venable

Who: Jessica Venable, Coordinator, Research Development Services
Where: Virginia Commonwealth University
Number of years in research development: 16 (Was it called “research development” back then?)
Length of NORDP membership: 4
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
My first foray into research development, well before I had even heard the term, was when I was a graduate student intern at NASA Langley Research Center. The Associate Director of the Education Division handed me a giant book of grants the center had made in the past fiscal year. He said my project was to survey faculty, postdocs, and graduate students about their experiences working on these sponsored programs. My first question: “What’s a sponsored program?”

Fifteen years later, I am in the position of responding to that question for researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Since the answers are so critical faculty professional development and VCU’s success, I have to come up interesting, creative, and compelling ways to impart the fundamentals of grantsmanship. And if I am to help keep the faculty competitive, I have to stay sharp, well-informed, and ahead of the trends. I certainly can’t do that by myself from Richmond, VA!

 I serve as the Coordinator for Research Development Services in VCU’s central office of research and am charged with assisting faculty in all disciplines targeting all funders. I readily admit the limits of my expertise, so I was thrilled to learn that there was an organization of research development professionals to pool and share resources. Thanks to the RD conferences, an entire community of experts has inspired VCU’s yearlong, campus-wide grantwriting bootcamps: the CAREER Academy and the Grantwriting Institute.

 For me, the NORDP 2015 conference will be all about the hallway conversations. My office is refining some of its programs, so I’ll look to my fantastic NORDP member colleagues for their best strategies, best advice, and good humor. Like Bob McDonald said, the annual meeting is where it’s at!

It’s not too late to attend the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. More information about the conference program and registration info available here.

NORDP 2015 Conference Cameos: Pradip Pramanik

Who: Pradip Pramanik, Director, Proposal Development Unit
Where: North Carolina State University
Number of years in research development: 27
Length of NORDP membership: 6
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 5
With more than 27 years of  combined experience in project management, grants management, planning, administration, assessment, and research development, I am really encouraged by NORDP’s role in enhancing the visibility of research development professionals on a national scale. Since its inception, the organization has played an extraordinary role in establishing a network of research development professionals and enhancing the capacity of its members. It serves as a communication and networking platform to share best practices and build awareness about effective strategies, policy decisions, opportunities, and issues related to research development.

For me, NORDP has played a significant role in steering my professional growth and development in research development facilitation across departmental and institutional boundaries. Over the years, I have realized that success of a faculty team depends not only in the content of a team’s discussions but also in the manner in which the team members interact and communicate with one another.

That said, at the upcoming conference, I am specifically interested in team science strategies and am looking forward to the sessions on “The Collaboration Continuum: An RD Perspective on Building Teams” and “The Science of Team Science: The Evidence and A Path Forward.” The NORDP conference is well-attended, and I would recommend my colleagues to reach out to fellow research development professionals at this conference to share accomplishments and lessons learned, participate in Q&A sessions, and to engage in discussions that enhance peer interaction. I will be participating in the 2015 conference as an attendee and am looking forward to engaging in discussions and informative sessions. 

Make plans to attend the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit here.

 

NORDP 2015 Conference Cameos: Vanity Campbell

Who: Vanity Campbell, Senior Research Development Officer
Where: 
University of California, Merced
Number of years in research development:

Length of NORDP membership:

Number of NORDP conferences attended:
1

At the University of California, Merced, I support the research efforts of investigators, research teams, and university leadership. The wealth of research ongoing at this new research university has inspired a broadening of my scope of research experience from clinical to areas of engineering, basic science, and social sciences, coordinating proposals for industry and investigator initiated projects. My role ensures the competitiveness of securing and maintaining funding in this changing research funding environment. As a research development professional, it is most rewarding for me to contribute to supporting an array of innovative research projects and programs and the growth of a thriving new university.

NORDP attracts a number of professionals dedicated to providing research development support to institutions across the country. The organization’s annual conference provides a platform and strong network for building upon my professional growth. The past annual NORDP conference was a resource for meeting several needs, including presentation of federal funding trends, strategies focused on institutional competitiveness, RD office structure, and best business practices, as well as the opportunity to share experiences with others in the field. I look forward to attending the 2015 NORDP conference both as an attendee and Idea Showcase/Poster presenter. The Red-Team review pre-conference workshop, various breakout and roundtable sessions, and the conference featured speakers are of immense interest to me. I encourage others to join me in visiting Bethesda, MD, for this year’s engaging conference. Maximize your conference attendance by planning to attend activities such as the networking dinner opportunity, poster showcase, and breakout and roundtable sessions to meet and connect with other attendees.

We hope to see you at the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information or to register, visit 
http://www.nordp.org/conferences.

 

NORDP 2015 Conference Cameos: Bob MacDonald

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.

 

NORDP 2015 Conference Cameo: Ashton Waite

 Meet our NORDP Conference  Attendees!
Who:  Ashton Waite, Proposal Development Coordinator
WhereUniversity 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!  

Conference Cameos Coming Soon!

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!

New Dispatch from 20 North Wacker: Research Development as a Field

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know what research development professionals do: organize faculty and other researchers, help find funding for them, translate federal-agency speak, serve as the ‘glue’ for research proposal development teams, assess institutional strengths, mentor young faculty as they learn to write grants…But have you ever stopped to wonder what research development IS? NORDP President David Stone makes the case for research development as an emerging intellectual discipline–and what that means for us as professionals in the field. Read more in his latest Dispatch from 20 North Wacker. This essay is special content for members only. Intrigued? Join NORDP today!

Welcoming new members – and how you can help

As part of a new initiative to welcome new members to NORDP and promote networking and collaboration among new and old NORDP members, the Membership Committee is setting up a process whereby a regional representative will contact new members shortly after they join to welcome them to NORDP, answer any of their questions about the organization, and encourage them to attend the annual conference. Representatives can also encourage new members to fill out a full website profile and familiarize them with the available website resources (job notices, lists of program evaluators/consultants, NORDP numbers survey). These representatives will act as ambassadors at the NORDP annual meeting to help new members meet others and connect with the organization more broadly.  As such, NORDP is asking for volunteers for four of the remaining open regions (see below).  Please Ann McGuigan, Committee Chairperson, at amcguigan@email.arizona.edu if you are interested in serving as a regional representative or if you have questions about this initiative.. And if you are in a region that currently has a Regional Liaison and would like to assist in these activities, please contact the Regional Liaison for your region: they will definitely welcome your help!

Region I (Northeast)  – Regional Representative: Peg Atkisson, Grant Writers Seminars and Workshops,

Domestic: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont. International: Quebec, Ontario.

Region II (Atlantic) – Open

Domestic: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, D.C., Virginia. International: Europe, Africa, Western Russia, China and countries west & south of China.

Region III (Southeast) – Regional Representative: Barb Duncan, University of Kentucky

Domestic: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, West Virginia.  International: South America.

Region IV (Great Lakes) – Regional Representative:  Jennifer Woods, University of Chicago

Domestic. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin. International: Mexico, Manitoba.

Region V (Midwest/Mountain) – Open 

Domestic: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Utah. International: Alberta, Saskatchewan.

Region VI (Southwestern) – Open

Domestic: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas.

Region VII (Pacific) – Open

Domestic. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington. International: British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China.

 

NORDP Northeast Regional Group: A Report on Our Progress, Activities, and Plans

By Caitlin McDermott-Murphy (NE Secretary; Harvard University, Faculty of Arts & Sciences) with contributions by Kathy Cataneo (NE Chair; University of New Hampshire) (corrected to reflect actual authorship)

NORDP NE 2014In In the Fall 2013 NORDP newsletter, the NORDP Northeast (NE) regional group published an article on the history and impact of our small and relatively new faction. We briefly delved into the value our participants receive: rich presentations and problem-solving in our bi-annual conferences; relationships and collaborations that extend beyond the borders of our meetings; and open exchange of tools, ideas, and business cards. In this latest article, we share our progress over the past year, including a debrief of our most recent – and largest! – conference to date.

To cater to our diverse member needs and develop a robust program, we solicited ideas for our anticipated July 2014 NORDP NE conference agenda via several avenues. First, those New England-based RD professionals who attended the May 2014 NORDP Conference in Portland, OR participated in a breakfast brainstorming session. Our NORDP NE advisory committee members—Anne Windham, Kathy Cataneo, and Susan Gomes—facilitated the session while NORDP NE communications coordinator Caitlin McDermott-Murphy organized and synthesized the session output. Second, in order to include input from those unable to attend the National conference, we disseminated this information to our NORDP NE July conference planning committee. We expect to continue to seek input for future conferences through a similar variety of methods in order to best serve our diverse constituents.

Our July 2014 Northeast Regional Conference

In July, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) at Durham and current chair, Kathy Cataneo (UNH Director of Research Development & Communications) hosted our Summer NORDP NE conference. The conference theme was “Inter- and Intra-Institutional Collaboration,” a theme not just evident in our session topics and activities but in our attendees as well. We welcomed ­­­fifty-five participants—our highest attendance since the founding of NORDP NE three years ago. This number included attendees from states previously unrepresented and, in fact, Research Development professionals arrived from every New England state, a first for our burgeoning group. In addition, we welcomed special guest Karin Scarpinato from Georgia Southern University. Karin is launching a regional group, analogous to NORDP NE, to serve RD professionals at institutions in the Southeast. With this goal in mind, she requested to attend and observe our July conference to gain insight, ask questions, and share her own ideas and impressions. We look forward to learning about the Southeast region’s progress and to share tips and pitfalls as both our groups grow.

The format of the NORDP NE July conference mirrored that of the NORDP Annual Conference.  After Anne Windham (NORDP Board Member and founding NORDP NE chair) and Kathy Cataneo (current NORDP NE chair) welcomed attendees, keynote speaker Dr. Jan Nisbet, UNH Senior Vice-Provost for Research, spoke on the topic, “From Center Director to SVPR: How my journey informed research development at UNH.” Dr. Nisbet’s speech was followed by NORDP NE member-led concurrent sessions on member-driven topics. These included:

  • Communicating Funding Opportunities to Faculty
  • Balancing Sole-Investigator Proposals with Multi-Investigator Proposals
  • Strategic Deployment of University Resources
  • Managing the Proposal Development Process for Multi-Investigator Proposals
  • Building Teams Around Programmatic Proposals
  • Creating Center Proposals
  • Evaluation Planning

More often than not, session co-presenters hailed from separate institutions, resulting in rich debates with alternate perspectives, experiences, tools, and methods, as well as new cross-institutional partnerships.

 

In addition to concurrent sessions, the NORDP NE July conference included two new activities. To kick things off, each institution offered 2 to 4 current institutional research strengths (or “pillars”) as well as 2 to 4 aspirations (See image 1). As attendees settled in, networked and enjoyed the lavish breakfast spread, they also took a moment to paste their institution’s name beneath different research areas written across one wall, signifying that area as an institutional “pillar” or “aspiration.” This shared resource will encourage and assist institutions to seek new collaborations and partnerships across our region.

The second new activity occurred over lunch: each roundtable featured a representative from those offices that collaborate with UNH RD staff most frequently. UNH provided the hosts, who hailed from: Research Administration; Commercialization, Technology Transfer, and Innovation; Cyberinfrastructure; Corporate and Foundation Relations; Graduate School and Graduate Student Support; Government Relations; Broader Impacts, Engagement, and Cooperative Extension; and Communications For and About Research. These “Themed Roundtables” provided an opportunity to ask questions about the scope of these offices, where Research Development might intersect, and how to develop partnerships to add value to what we individually and collectively offer our faculty.

Our National Institutes of Health (NIH) Webinar

Moving forward, NORDP NE will look for opportunities to extend our regional collaboration even further. With Federal budgets tightened—and tightening—program officers receive less travel funding at a time when our faculty arguably need their close guidance and influence more than ever. As such, RD offices—and the faculty we serve—benefit from organized collaborative events that serve not just one institution but an entire region. Our region has, for example, benefited from such an event. This past September, UNH organized a webinar on the “Fundamentals of the NIH and the NIH Grants Process”, featuring Megan Columbus, Director of the Office of Communications and Outreach in the NIH Office of Extramural Research. UNH advertised the webinar to its NORDP NE partners and, as a result, recorded over 275 faculty, postdoctoral, graduate student and staff participants across New England (with a few in Canada, New York, and Texas no less). This proved to be a “win-win” for NIH and NORDP NE institutions. We plan to seek additional opportunities to share such resources and to leverage our regional numbers to entice program officers to visit and interact with our researchers. There is power in numbers!