Conference Cameo: Paula Carney

Early Bird registration and the NORDP online store close THIS FRIDAY, March 15!

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 


Who: Paula Carney, PhD, Associate Director, Research Development
Where: University of Chicago
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 1.5 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Nigeria. I helped develop a university research over 5 years.

Like most RDs, my route to the profession was circuitous.  My eclectic academic preparation (nutrition/food science, statistics, educational research) led me to research interests at the boundaries of disciplines, and I found myself connecting people from PaulaCarney_headshotdifferent disciplines, organizations and communities to engage in research and address public health needs. I realized that I was far more effective facilitating research than working in a lab as a faculty member and joined a start-up that provided online learning to health systems. That experience was invaluable as I learned to identify opportunities, innovate products and services, and develop collaborative relationships.

The start-up was acquired, and I joined the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. As Director of Education and Training, our unit identified faculty and staff needs, sought resources, and created programs to advance the research enterprise. I worked with Institute colleagues (including Holly Falk-Krzesinski) and others across campus on RD initiatives and was involved in early mentor training initiatives. I also worked with the NU Center for Global Health to advance research development initiatives internationally. A colleague and I conducted focus groups and created a series of videos, posted on YouTube, to trigger discussion of research misconduct issues in sub-Saharan Africa. I also supported universities in Africa and Central America as they created strategies, programs and administrative infrastructure for faculty research initiatives.

I then joined the Provost’s Office at a small state university with the goal of enhancing graduate academic and research programs through policy and program development. I continued involvement with international programs and research, including research compliance and the IRB.  I sustained essential programs and services during the multi-year Illinois budget impasse when student enrollment plummeted and many faculty and staff left the institution.

Since 2017, I have been with the University of Chicago as a member of the Research Development Support Team.  I enjoy working with faculty and staff and using my previous experiences to support research development initiatives.

I joined NORDP in 2017 and attended the 2018 meeting in D.C.  I became involved with several groups (RDs who share best practices for limited submission research opportunities and the collaborative funding list committee); I was also welcomed by the Mentoring Committee, am a member of the MESHH subcommittee, mentor an RD through the mentoring program, and chair the National Research Mentoring Network subcommittee.  The amazing members of this subcommittee are adapting mentor training materials for use with RDs and we are establishing relationships with research mentor training groups to include RDs.

I look forward to presenting our 2-hour workshop on mentor training (shameless plug!), to connecting with RDs and expanding my RD network, and to learning all that I can from others in Providence, RI.


We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 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.

Former NORDP President Gretchen Kiser Published in Nature

Dr. Gretchen Kiser, Executive Director of the Research Development Office at the University of California San Francisco and former NORDP President, has an article published in Nature about equity in publication attribution. You can check it out here: No more first authors, no more last authors.

Congrats, Gretchen!

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.

Webinar: Developing a Strong Abstract for the 2019 NORDP Conference

The deadline for proposals for 1-hour or 2-hour presentations, roundtable discussions, posters, and lightning talks is November 25, 11:59 pm PST. You can submit your abstract HERE. See the webinar below for tips on developing a strong abstract.

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.

NSF 18-102: Dear Colleague Letter: Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity

This is a great opportunity for RD offices that have NSF funding, and for other NSF funded PIs and their graduate students at your institutions!

DCL 18-102 provides up to $55,000 per student in funding for up to six months to allow recipients to participate in research-based internships in STEM or STEM education research fields in non-academic settings. The goal is to enable students to gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that prepare them for entry into non-academic careers.

This opportunity is open to PIs who are supporting graduate students through any active NSF award. To be eligible, a graduate student must have completed at least one academic year in their graduate (master’s or doctoral) program and be making satisfactory progress towards degree completion.

For a description of the activities supported, visit the announcement page, then contact your program officer to discuss your proposal.

NORD Initiative 2018: Cycle II Funding

The 2018 NORD Initiative (Cycle II) competition is now open. Please feel free to distribute this information to any / all who may interested in this opportunity.

Submission Deadline: Monday, November 12, 2018

Award Cycle: 2018 NORD Award 12/1/2018 – 11/30/2019

Discipline/Subject Area: NORD/InfoReady Research Grants in Research Development

Funding Available: 4,500.00

NORDP’s New Opportunities in Research Development (NORD) Initiative and InfoReady  announce the 2018 Cycle II competition for the NORD/InfoReady Research Grants in Research Development. Our goal in sponsoring this effort is to begin to establish research development as a field of scholarly inquiry. The NORD/InfoReady Research Grants in Research Development Program is open to all interested researchers, whether or not they are also NORDP members. Cycle II proposals will be accepted until the application deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, November 2, 2018. A non-exhaustive list of topics and research areas of interest to NORD are addressed in the program announcement. NORD expects to award 3 projects in Cycle II.

We thank the InfoReady Corporation for sponsoring these awards.

View the competition.

National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW), Sept. 17-21

The first ever National Postdoc Appreciation day was held on September 24th 2009, and in 2010, NPAW was nationally recognized when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.RES. 1545. The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA), in collaboration with its affiliated Postdoc Associations and Offices at institutes across the country recognize the passion, the perseverance, the hard work and toil, and the commitment to their craft that postdocs across the country demonstrate every single day. These organizations host networking events, breakfast and ice-cream socials, motivational speakers, receptions, and game nights, to name a few.

Postdoctoral scholars are highly trained and possess transferrable skills such as project management, effective time management, leadership, communication skills, the ability to speak different “languages,” and many more, and therefore, make particularly talented research development professionals. NORDP hopes to continue our relationship with the NPA to increase awareness of Research Development as one of the non-traditional paths for postdoctoral scholars as well as act as a supportive resource for postdoctoral scholars headed for the traditional academic route.

NORDP is proud to recognize the contributions made by the NPA in improving the postdoctoral experience and providing opportunities for professional growth, creating policies for the betterment of postdoctoral scholars and help them create a balance between personal and professional lives. NORDP also recognizes its several members, who came into the research development through the postdoc route, several of whose stories have been highlighted on our blog recently. Thank you for your contributions and Happy NPAW 2018!

posted on behalf of the Strategic Alliances Committee by Samar Sengupta


The Transition from Postdoc to Research Development: Gaelle F. Kolb

The following is part of a limited blog series from the Strategic Alliances Committee highlighting NORDP members who have transitioned from postdoctoral positions to careers in research development.

Gaelle F. Kolb, Proposal Development Manager, Office of Research Development, Division of Research, University of Maryland

Describe your work in research development (RD): I am currently a proposal development manager in the Office of Research Development within the Division of Research at the University of Maryland. I am responsible for managing multidisciplinary teams of scientists and leading them to submit highly prestigious, multi-million dollars grants to various sponsors. The teams vary with the open calls and so do the represented disciplines.

Describe your postdoc work: My scientific background is in infectious diseases. During my first postdoc, I investigated the role of a host protein in waking up Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 from latency in infected neurons. The work was seminal in demonstrating that, in fact, a host protein was indispensable for that event to start, and another postdoc demonstrated that it recruited a whole complex of proteins to re-activate the viral transcription. In a shorter second postdoc, I identified a Heat Shock protein as binding to Ebola Virus genome, and in a later publication on which I am a collaborative author, the team demonstrated that this protein was indispensable to viral replication, making it a potential drug target.

Describe your transition from your postdoc/research background to RD: I was very involved in professional and career development during my postdoc, helping other postdocs (and myself) find the career of their dream. I became the grants and training development specialist in one of the NIH institutes, which totally opened up my love for proposal development and helping others better write how much their science would impact our society.

Describe the benefits your postdoc work provided to your skill set related to RD: I was a restless postdoc, always getting involved in “other/administrative” internships. I became a great listener and talker as well.

What words of wisdom do you have for postdocs who might consider an RD career? As a postdoc, you have cultivated the passion for science. Now, keep the breadth and forget about the depth.

What has been your best experience, so far, with your work in RD? Moving to my current position has been the best experience in research development. Before that, I felt that I was only allowed to dabble, expressing other people’s way of doing. Now, I become part of the team every time I support a new proposal development. I am learning about their subject matter so I can provide critical feedback to their proposed research. I continue to read everything about science (I am member of the AAAS, reader of Science magazine, reader of Nature and The Scientist, in addition to NSF and NIH news).

Why do you think RD is a good career choice? Well, I like the fact that I don’t have to drill too deep into one subject anymore; instead, I can dream big with a team, and differently as I move on to the next team. I like the fast pace and flexible hours. I don’t mind taking on a few hours of work at night or on weekends provided that I can work flexibly otherwise.

What other insights might be relevant to postdocs considering an RD career? Be patient and nurture your professional network. Be professional and always give the best of yourself, which is why I feel I was offered my current position!