Pacific Region Conference Roundup: Research Development During the Pandemic: Research Developers are Resilient

Submitted by NORDP Pacific Co-Representative, Eric Wayne Dickey, Western Oregon University

NORDP’s Pacific Region represents the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, and NORDP’s global reach to members in British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China. Following the successful in-person, 2019 regional meeting at UC Davis, the Pacific region’s co-representatives (Barbara Sasso and Eric Wayne Dickey) wanted to continue to provide members opportunities to grow their networks and expand their knowledge base. But doing so during a pandemic seemed a monumental task.

First things first, we recruited an all-star, all-volunteer conference planning committee: Susan Emerson, Leah Gorman, Michael Helms, and Katie Lindl all stepped forward to answer the call. After some soul-searching, we decided to confront the pandemic head on by asking ourselves, “how can we continue to do the work we do?” At the time of this early planning stage, ominous clouds of ashes loomed over much of the west coast, adding to anxiety of the pandemic. Research Developers have to be resilient in times of stress, so we decided that responding to the pandemic would be the theme of our conference.

Sunrise through clouds of ash, 9/28/2020 photo by Eric Wayne Dickey

Once the theme was picked and a timeline was established, we put out the call for abstracts, and we were off and running!

The three-day virtual conference included morning and afternoon sessions. A featured session started each morning of the conference and included Russell Wyland from NEH, Mike Lauer from NIH, and a panel of Government Relations personnel.

Another highlight was the Conversation Roadblocks workshop led by the NORDP Committee on Inclusive Excellence. The three-day regional meeting also featured a variety of NORDP member-initiated presentations and lightning talks that explored how Research Development professionals manage their work remotely and during times of crises. The sessions provided helpful tips and demonstrated the resiliency of RD professionals.

Word cloud generated using words from the abstracts

The final Happy Hour session explored some ideas for future Pacific Region conferences, such as providing sessions on building relationships via networking and mentoring, facilitating multi-institutional collaborations, and growing the RD profession by encouraging graduate students to participate in NORDP. Overall, the Pacific Regional meeting was favorably received by attendees, and it provided a road map for future events.

If you are interested in planning future events for the Pacific Region, feel free to reach out to Barbara or Eric.

The session materials are available on the NORDP site:

Last but not least, the conference planning committee wants to acknowledge the important support provided by Laura Nakoneczny and Arielle Stout of First Point Resource Management. Their expertise in planning such events was invaluable. We could not have done it without them.

NORDP Pacific Hosts Inaugural Meeting in Davis, CA

For NORDP’s Pacific Region VII, October 2019 marked the first regional conference occurring outside of the national annual conference. The event was hosted by the University of California, Davis on October 24th and 25th. The opportunity to meet regionally drew 75 participants from varied and diverse organizations of higher education, national laboratories, medical centers, research institutes, industry, and independent consultancies across the Western region.

The conference theme was “Leveraging Strengths in the West: Diversity, Excellence, and Partnership.” The Planning Subcommittee developed a two-day agenda focused on extending professional networks, establishing new partnerships, and sharing knowledge of best practices, processes, strategies within the research development (RD) field. Review session descriptions and contributing presenters within the event’s full agenda.

Keynote speaker, Mark Lagrimini, Vice Provost of Research and Extension, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, opened the meeting by embarking on a conversation highlighting the current federal funding trend, and how institutions in higher-education can position themselves to advance research efforts by making institutional investments into research enhancing activities, such as RD. A panel discussion, “Responding to Change: Sustaining Research Development in the Current and Future Funding Environment,” continued this conversation by looking at how research development can position institutions to respond to changing funding environments, and how RD offices implement sustainability best practices to help meet long-term operational goals. Day 1 also offered engaging presentation sessions on strategies for developing complex proposals, gathering competitive intelligence, professional development tactics to consider at each career stage, and strategies for coordinating large center grants. The day concluded with a tour of the UC Davis Manetti Shrem Museum and networking dinners setup around the presentation and breakout session topics planned for Day 2.

On Day 2, an opening panel session, “Seizing the Road Less Traveled: A Panel Discussion on Alternative Career Paths in Research Development,” introduced several alternative career paths for RD work outside the university setting. The panel was followed by interactive presentations, roundtables, or breakout sessions covering strategies for fostering research collaborations, cross-campus partnerships, creating a culture of grantsmanship at predominantly undergraduate and teaching institutions, creating workshops ideas for faculty and trainee proposal writers, building faculty and RD professional resilience, and using Airtable as a project management tool.

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Regional meeting attendees represented diverse institutions from Pacific region which encompasses Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington as well as British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China.

The agenda also included knowledge-sharing and networking beyond the meeting sessions. A lunch activity solicited insight from attendees on the best resources (books, websites, tools) used to facilitate RD work and build multidisciplinary teams. The event also allowed time for participants to engage and network with organizations actively recruiting during a Career Opportunities activity.

The conference closed with an open forum on how NORDP can continue to promote regional engagement throughout the year as well as capturing reflection thoughts on the conference’s timing, frequency, format, and setting.  There is excitement to continue holding regional meetings, find other ways to connect, and begin planning what the region may want to build towards in the future.

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Katie Lindl, Proposal Manager, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory wins one of six raffle prizes.

The meeting’s regional setting introduced NORDP to 36 newcomers, nearly half of the attendees. The conference was an excellent venue for showcasing the benefits of NORDP while also giving face to names for those serving together on committees through NORDP. Sharon Franks, Senior Director, Research Proposal Development Service at University of California, San Diego commented, “It was a pleasure to hear from and meet so many new folks, as well as to reconnect with those who’d previously attended NORDP conferences.”

NORDP and the Pacific Region thanks all who attended the conference, and contributed to planning and delivering amazing sessions on both days. Thank you also to the members of the Planning Subcommittee, which consists of Crystal Botham, Stanford University; Vanity Campbell, University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources; Susan Emerson, Oregon State University; Mike Gallo, University of California, Irvine; Sarah Messbauer, University of California, Davis; Monica Vidal, Stanford University.

Submitted by Vanity Campbell, NORDP Pacific

Pacific Region VII Conference this Month! Still time to Register

Don’t miss the 2019 NORDP Pacific Regional Meeting in Davis, CA from October 24 to October 25, 2019. Register today.

We are “Leveraging Strengths in the West: Diversity, Excellence, and Partnership” during this 1st regional conference to extend your network, establish new partnerships, and learn best practices, processes, and more from research development colleagues from across the Western region.

This two-day conference event offers a regional setting and location to learn about:

  • 2019 NORDP national annual conference RD presentations and trends;
  • Key perspectives for long-term sustainability of RD operations;
  • Insights into current practices and strategies for complex proposal development;
  • Opportunities to enhance regional engagement and research collaborations; and
  • Career guidance and knowledge-sharing for professional development.

You do not need to be a NORDP member to attend. The meeting welcomes participants from all of Region VII, encompassing Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Eastern Russia, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries east of China.

The conference registration includes program materials, breakfast, lunch, and refreshment breaks on both days. An optional, no-host dinner sign-up will be offered on Day 1. The cost to attend both days is $111.

The agenda and more information regarding the event can be found at the following link,

See you this month!

Region VII Meeting
Planning Subcommittee