NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: Defining and Measuring Successful Collaborations


  • Roxana Ross, Grant Writing Manager, Nova Southeastern University
  • Karin Scarpinato, Associate Vice President for Research, Florida Atlantic University
  • Maureen Pelham, Director of Research Development, Florida International University
  • Camille Coley, Vice President, American Museum of Natural History

Thanks to our session note-taker!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Use multiple tools and approaches to measure the success of collaborations
  • Consider the relevance and cost effectiveness of the measurements you are using
  • Select the measures that will provide information that will be useful to you
  • Measure progress and effectiveness in the short term as well as the long term
  • Don’t overlook unconventional measures 

    What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you?           

    One institution was able to stimulate successful collaborations and new lines of research activity through modest investments of $2000.

    What resources did you discover at this presentation?

    The team used a texting tool to interact with the audience before and during the presentation. The tool can be found online here: They also had handouts that included collaboration assessment checklists and tools. Many of these are available online and referenced in their presentation.

    What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenter(s)’ response?

    One audience member asked how institutions that were running seed grant programs were gathering information and data on measurements of success, and for how long after the award. Some programs didn’t follow up, while others required reports on publications, follow up funding, other collaborations, etc. every 6 months or 1 year.



NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: What’s Your Story? Helping Faculty Communicate the Value and Impact of Research

What’s Your Story? Helping Faculty Communicate the Value and Impact of Research

Presenter: Jill Jividen, Assistant Director for Research Development, University of Michigan Medical School Office of Research

Thanks to our session note-taker, Karen Fletcher!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • Why Communicate?
    1. Research is largely taxpayer funded.
    2. It is a University’s public mission.
    3. It helps faculty increase their competitiveness.
  • The 3M’s to construct your message: Message should be Miniature, Meaningful, and Memorable (adapted from AAAS).
  • Communicating Science Seminar Series. (Leverage your existing expertise and use in-house speakers from the library, faculty, etc.) Could include information on:
    • PR – Consider the audience and science literacy: 80% of people are interested in scientific discoveries yet 50% of them read below an 8th grade reading level.
    • Social Media – if you wouldn’t say it in an elevator, don’t say it online. Write for the web. Readers’ eyes trace an “F” format and the top left is typically what gets read.
    • Scholarly Communication – use the library expertise: include data management, public and open access, publishing, measuring impact.
    • Plain Language – Plain Language Act of 2010 – it’s a law! – if working with the government, you must write/communicate in plain language. Strategies could include simplifying language and using analogies (just avoid clichés). Consider a workshop where faculty submit an abstract and during the workshop you re-write it in plain language.
    • Data Visualization – introduce this concept: visualization landscape, design principles, interpretation, campus resources.
  • Include Science Activism and related ethics in Communication course material.
  • Include information on Visual Abstract as visual abstract increase article dissemination.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you? Alt metric scores are affecting NIH impact scores.

What resources did you discover at this presentation? This slide show is online with active links to some of the presentation material in the Communicating Science Seminar Series mentioned above.


NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: How to write a successful NIH Career Development Award (K award)

How to write a successful NIH Career Development Award (K award)

Presenters:           Mark Roltsch, University of Western Florida

Thanks to session our session note-taker, Burr Zimmerman, Urban Venture Group!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • There are many different kinds of K awards
    • Some schools support K-awards, some don’t:  K awards require the faculty member have 75% protected time for research
    • Medical Schools – they tend to like K-awards. They are viewed as stepping stone to R01s, and five years of training  should get them there.
    • K progression: Start with T32s or institutional K awards, then ‘real K’s’, then R01
      • The R03 award may only be open to folks who have K awards in that institute
      • The R21 is for exploratory, cutting edge; not necessarily good for junior faculty
    • Types of K awards
      • K01 – basic research
      • K08 – clinical research
      • K23 – patient-oriented research
      • K25 – quantitative research
      • K01  – diversity award / minority serving institution
      • K99/R00 – post doc who is transitioning
        • Walk into job interview with 3 years of funding
        • Don’t have to be US citizen, so lots of applicants
  • Selecting a target institute – faculty should:
    • Match topical area with your mentor’s funding source
    • Email program officer, get feedback (not just topical, but also which mechanism – K01, K23, etc.)
    • Carefully read the PA/RFA to identify participating institutes and their specific topics
    • Engage with NIH staff at the conferences your mentor attends
  • Read the PA/RFA
    • Check dollar amount (for MDs, $100k for 75% of time is a paycut – usually the university or school supplements the salary)
    • The review section is what to emphasize in your application
  • What does it take to get funded?
    • Essential: well-funded primary mentor (if he or she hasn’t mentored before, form a mentoring team)
      • Need to emphasize mentoring experience, NIH funding
      • Mentor needs to be co-located. Across the hall ideal. Across town isn’t great. Across the state doesn’t work.
    • The presenter is from University of West Florida; his own institution wouldn’t ever apply for a K-award – can’t get it.
      • But! Some diversity K awards are possible for smaller institutions.
    • Keys to K award success
      • Time to write a compliant, compelling application
      • Good research idea
      • Quality candidate
      • Qualified mentor
      • Well developed training program
    • Biggest K funders are NHLBI, NIMH, NIDDK
      • NIA funding 40% of K-awards
      • NIGMS funds 85% of K08 awards!

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised you? 
K awards can have extremely high funding rates (e.g. NIGMS K08s 86% funded), and average over 30% for entire K spectrum. But the criteria mean only a very small cadre of schools have high success rates

Also, R21s may not be a good mechanism for generating data for your first R01 – they are too competitive and are pooled with experienced researchers. R21’s are highly, highly competitive, and if you’re junior faculty, it might not be a great place to compete, as you don’t get early investigator bonus points.

What resources did you discover at this presentation?
The main resource emphasized was NIH Reporter. Might not be a ‘discovery’, but the presenter emphasized how rich and useful the data are.

Also, FOIA requests are a way to get access to successful applications. Build a library by requesting funded applications. NIH does a better job than some other Federal agencies of providing useful information.

What was the most interesting question asked by an audience member, and what was the presenters’ response?

Different institutes review K awards differently. Funding rates can be very different across K mechanisms. K99 toughest (23%); K23 is 57%, K08 can be nearly 90%.

What else from this session should NORDP members know?  
If you can crack the code (meet all the requirements), K-awards are a great resource. If you can find a nearby, well-funded mentor, then you have a chance!


NORDP 2017 Conference Notes: Working with Creatives: Artists in the Interdisciplinary Research Development Process

Working with Creatives: Artists in the Interdisciplinary Research Development Process

Presenters: Jenifer Alonzo, Professional Development Practice Lab, Old Dominion University

Thanks to our session note-taker, Lynne Dahmen!

Key points from the session. We learned:

  • “Creatives” includes all sorts of people including those in the theater, the visual arts, etc.
  • Creatives can be integral parts of teams with outputs, especially in broader impacts.
  • They can also, especially theater folks, help teams work collaboratively.
  • Engage them early in the process, not as an after thought.

What did you hear at this presentation that surprised/impressed you?     

“A key role of a performer is to make their partner shine.” Can we get PIs to work to make the work of other team members ‘shine’?

What else from this session should NORDP members know?      

Remember that MFAs and others in the arts are professionals and well-trained experts.  Treat them as such! Would you ask one of your team members to provide significant input without credit of financial support? Would you ask a consultant to provide services without putting them in a budget?

Remember that working a budget through “FTE” does not always give creatives a fair or living wage that easily aligns with ‘effort’…so think creatively for ways to provide enough funds to support the effort.

This was a great session and I highly recommend working with Jen!

In the aftermath of Harvey & Irma

I’m sure I wasn’t alone in obsessively checking for news about the hurricanes that recently ravaged south Texas (Harvey) and significant portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida (Irma): many NORDP members have friends, family, and colleagues in the affected areas just as I do. I’m happy to report that all of my near and dear ones have reported in safe, although several of them are still without power and a few are looking at rebuilding or repairing major damage sustained in the storms.

The NORDP Board of Directors and I wanted to let our members and friends in the affected areas know that they are much in our thoughts these days – and if there’s anything concrete we can do to help as you and your institutions recover, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Some of the federal agencies are providing additional funding to institutions affected by these storms, and I wanted to highlight those programs here. If you know of any others that aren’t listed, please add them in comments, or feel free to post to the NORDP listserv if you have access.

  • NEH Chairman’s Emergency Grants. NEH plans to award up to $1 million in emergency grants ($30,000 per institution in the affected area) to preserve documents, books, photographs, art works, historical objects, sculptures, and structures damaged by the hurricane and subsequent flooding.
  • NSF has promised to provide assistance, and to be as flexible as possible in responding to the needs of institutions affected by Harvey (and I expect they’ll be doing the same for Irma before too long). They’ve set up a special email address,, for administrators, faculty, and students on NSF awards at affected institutions to use when making inquiries. They’re also accepting proposals related to the hurricane and its aftermath.
  • NIH has issued a guide notice related to Harvey (and, again, will probably do the same for Irma shortly) outlining the applicable policies and allowances for late submission of proposals, reports, etc., necessitated by the weather and any campus closures. In some circumstances, awardees may also be able to continue to pay salaries and wages on grants even if the work is unable to continue due to damage, depending on the terms and conditions of the grant(s) in question.

Everybody stay safe, and I’m sure we all hope that things will get back to something a little closer to normal in the affected areas soon.

Michael Spires
NORDP President

New Member Cameo: Chasmine Stoddart

Chasmine Stoddart, Johns Hopkins University

Welcome to NORDP: Chasmine Stoddardt!

Where: Johns Hopkins University

Number of years in research development: 2

Joined NORDP in June 2017

What is your RD work?
I am the Manager of the Research Development Team, a new initiative within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.  It’s very much a start-up environment as we build and launch the services to the University.  Our goal is to encourage collaborative research across disciplines, schools and institutions. Once those relationships are formed, we aim to be the one-stop shop to facilitate the proposal preparation process.  

What is your professional background?
In 2008 I started out in Physics & Astronomy at JHU, learning the basics of research administration.  My first real hands-on experience was reconciling a portfolio of accounts for one of the grants administrators.  I have also worked in a variety of settings at JHU over the years in departments in the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Arts & Sciences as well as the central ORA.  In 2015, I joined the Research Development Services team at Georgetown, but ended up returning to Hopkins in 2016.

What attracted you to NORDP?
Sue Porterfield and Julie Messersmith, colleagues at JHU, introduced me to NORDP and encouraged me to join.  The opportunity to connect and form relationships with research development professionals across the country was definitely a draw.

How will your NORDP membership enhance your own career?
I have already joined the listserv and am very impressed by the responsiveness and community-type feel of the organization.  The topics that are discussed provide insight to how our peers operate at their institutions and opens the doors to true collaboration.  I look forward to the relationships that will form through my NORDP membership and to meeting everyone at next year’s conference in Washington D.C.

Written by Daniel Campbell, Member Services Committee

NORDP Membership Continues to Grow

How does our garden grow? Thanks for asking! NORDP’s Member Services Committee is delighted to report that our goal to increase the net number of NORDP members by 100 this year has not only been achieved, but exceeded. NORDP’s active members now total 779, an increase of 138 since NORDP’s fiscal year began on October 1, 2016.  Thank you to Member Services Committee members and to all other NORDP members who have worked so tirelessly on this year’s member recruitment and retention campaign.   Kudos!!

Kathy Cataneo, Member Services Committee