Applications now being accepted for the NORDP Mentor Program

Are you looking for an opportunity for professional development? Do you have wisdom to share with new research development professionals? Consider becoming a NORDP mentor.

The Mentor Program is a great opportunity for NORDP members to connect with colleagues over their specific professional interests, share their professional experiences and stories, and develop lasting individual relationships with fellow members within our broad national network.

We particularly encourage anyone who has had a mentor in the past to apply to be a mentor to our newer members, or to participate both as mentors and mentees. New this year is also the opportunity to join small Community of Practice groups that bring together people with a similar set of specific discussion interests. Mentoring pairs and CoP groups will be matched using the same on-line application.

The deadline for applications will close on April 4, so don’t delay! Find all the details on the Mentor Program web page.

2016 Conference Schedule Posted!

Today we bring you a 2016 NORDP Conference update – The full conference schedule, including presentation titles and presenter names, is now posted online to assist you with planning your visit to Orlando in May.

With more than 100 oral presentations and Idea Showcase posters confirmed, the 2016 NORDP Conference will provide an unparalleled forum for advancing the field of research development. If you haven’t already registered, it’s not too late! Register today and be sure to secure a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando at the special, discounted NORDP rate.

We invite all who have interest in research development to follow @NORDP_official on Twitter and to use the #NORDP2016 hashtag before, during and after the conference to promote research development and our community.

We can’t wait to see you in Orlando May 23-25!

2016 Conference Cameo: Mary Sym

Research development professionals from all regions of the U.S. – and abroad! – will be converging on Orlando in just 10 weeks for the 2016 NORDP Conference. Register at, and enjoy this week’s featured Conference Cameo, which comes to us from Princeton University.

Who: Mary Sym, PhD, Assistant Director, Project Development
Where: Princeton University
Number of years in research development: 2.5
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2

More than 10 years ago, I began working in research administration, but we did not have Mary Sym_2016the phrase “research development” in our lexicon. Federal funding agencies were busy launching several large-scale initiatives geared toward interdisciplinary team science. Although many faculty were interested in participating, at the time, our university did not have dedicated staff or resources to support these kinds of projects. I was asked to bring teams of interested scientists together and help develop competitive applications for these funding initiatives.

After a few years working in big pharma, I circled back to academic research administration here at Princeton. My supervisor told me about NORDP and it sounded like the perfect venue for getting up to speed on the research development landscape, which has grown and matured tremendously in the past decade.

As a NORDP member, I have enjoyed talking with other research development professionals to learn how similar many of our struggles and, more importantly, our solutions can be across a wide range of universities. Sharing best practices has been incredibly insightful.

My advice to first-time conference attendees: Bring a colleague or two so you can split up your office’s coverage of the concurrent sessions. When I went solo in the past, I had a hard time deciding which session to attend since so many were relevant and interesting.

I’m glad the conference is in Florida this year. In New Jersey, we recently had a blizzard that dumped over two feet of snow on us. I am definitely looking forward to the warm, sunny climate!

We hope to see you at the 2016 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 23-25 in Orlando, FL. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2016 Conference updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at

2016 Conference Cameo: Nathan Meier

Don’t miss your opportunity to learn from and network with the largest gathering of research development professionals anywhere – register for the 2016 NORDP Conference today at Nearly 300 RD professionals already are registered! A new Conference Cameo from one of them, Nathan Meier, is posted below.

Who: Nathan Meier, Director of Research Strategy, Office of Research and Economic Development
Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Number of years in research development: 13
Length of NORDP membership: 5 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 3

I have been “doing” research development since 2003, when I joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) as a proposal writer specialist. Over time, my portfolio hNathan Meier head shotas grown to include a range of responsibilities that I enjoy but that I am careful to ensure supplement rather than supplant my core skill set, which has proposal writing at its center. This is important because I believe most research development efforts will be wasted if we cannot ensure faculty have the support necessary to develop high quality, well-written grant proposals.

On any given day, you may find me facilitating external review, managing internal seed grant programs, supporting selection processes for limited submission competitions, organizing workshops or retreats to help catalyze interdisciplinary connections or to help faculty network with external partners, linking faculty with UNL’s proposal development staff, assisting with a faculty award nomination, facilitating a faculty development initiative, or working on something entirely new. Like so many of you, what I love most about my job is the fact that no two days are ever alike!

I subscribed to the NORDP listserv several years ago and became a member in 2011. I attended the conference in Austin, attended and presented at NORDP in Portland, and helped with abstract review and marketing leading up to and presented at the meeting last year in Bethesda. What I enjoy most about the annual conferences is the sense of community that has evolved over time. Finally, it seems, there is a professional home for those of us who do this type of work.

This year, I am really interested to see how the focus on creativity and innovation coalesces during the May meeting. As you think about registering for the conference in Orlando, I encourage you to consider inviting a colleague to attend, too. Since there is such a wealth of information shared each year, I have found that one of the best ways to maximize the time spent at the annual meeting is to ensure at least one other individual with whom I work also participates so we can discuss new ideas and approaches once we are back in the office.

We hope to see you at the 2016 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 23-25 in Orlando, FL. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2016 Conference updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at


Early Bird Registration Extended for the NORDP 2016 Conference

Thought you’d missed your change to register for the 2016 NORDP Conference at the lowest price? You’re in luck – Early Bird registration has been extended for one final week, ending Monday, March 7!

Don’t put off registering any longer – register for the Conference today.

Prices go up Tuesday, March 8. See our previous blog post for the conference fee schedule. You need not be a NORDP member to register! Registration for non-members who have never been members before includes a complimentary one-year membership in NORDP.

Travel Scholarships Available for NORDP Members!
As in previous years, we are offering Conference travel scholarships to active NORDP members in good standing. NORDP Members may apply for a partial scholarship to support their attendance at the conference. Please click here to apply.

Hotel Accommodations:
The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, just one mile from Walt Disney World Resort. To take advantage of our special discounted conference rate, book your room now using our NORDP hotel reservations website (select “Attendee” from the dropdown menu).

Stay Informed!
Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest conference updates. You may also view the full Schedule-At-A-Glance (subject to change).

2016 Conference Cameo: Martha Payne

This is your final week to register for the 2016 NORDP Conference in Orlando at the discounted Early Bird rate! Registration fees increase on Tuesday, March 1. Register TODAY at

This week’s Conference Cameo feature comes to us from a first-time Conference attendee who’s new to the field of research development. Whether you’re new to the field of RD or just new to NORDP, the Conference offers opportunities to network with a larger group of RD experts than you’ll find anywhere else. We hope to see you there!


Who: Martha E. Payne, Ph.D., R.D., M.P.H.PayneM2011-08resize
Where: Duke University School of Medicine
Number of years in research development: New to the field, 25 years in research
Length of NORDP membership: New Member
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 0

After working as a faculty researcher for 25 years in the areas of nutrition, neuroimaging and psychiatry, I joined our Office of Research Development on Jan. 1, 2016. I was ready for a broader scope in my career, so I actively sought out this opportunity. I am especially thrilled at the variety of work involved in research development, the problem-solving that is required, and the opportunity to help investigators to maximize their chances of success.

Duke’s Office of Research Development provides services to help ensure submission of high-quality grant applications, especially large complex grants. Services include advice and guidance, project management, template preparation, and editing and integration of the application.

As a faculty researcher, I experienced first-hand the benefits that are delivered daily by the professional research development staff at Duke. For example, I attended a number of grant-writing workshops and general writing classes, which helped me to clarify the “message” for my grants’ reviewers. I also participated in mentoring programs, which provided guidance through the development of several grant applications and helped me to see my research from an outsider’s viewpoint.

I believe my multidisciplinary experience will provide familiarity with many relevant disciplines and, more importantly, allow me to understand investigators’ needs as they develop an interdisciplinary research project or one that aims to incorporate multiple areas of research. Having worked at all levels of research, from that of a research technician to laboratory manager to associate professor, I can offer a unique viewpoint to guide development of a proposal from the perspective of multiple members of the research team. My institutional knowledge also gives me a familiarity with many of Duke’s leaders and scientists, institutional procedures, and research support offices that are critical to a successful grant submission.

This will be my first NORDP conference, which was highly recommended by my supervisor, Dr. Joanna Downer. I especially look forward to the professional networking and career development opportunities that the conference affords. I expect that my attendance at NORDP will help me make a positive impact on the success of researchers across the Duke University School of Medicine.


We hope to see you at the 2016 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 23-25 in Orlando, FL. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2016 Conference updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at


2016 Conference Cameo: Conrad Monson

In the weeks preceding the NORDP Annual Conference in Orlando, we’ll feature “Conference Cameos” on the blog. Conference Cameos are first-person perspectives submitted by registered Conference attendees. You can look forward to seeing these fellow RD professionals at the Conference!

Only two weeks remain to register for the Conference at the lowest available price! Registration fees increase on Tuesday, March 1. Secure your Early Bird discount by registering for the Conference today at


Who: Conrad B. Monson, PhD
Where: Brigham Young University
Number of years in research development: More than 25 years
Length of NORDP membership: 4 yearsMonson, Conrad university photo
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4

I started in RD by working for large aerospace companies Boeing and Northrop Grumman. I led research efforts in Physiology and Human Factors Engineering that were funded with internal seed money but then required outside funding to sustain them. I have found the research development process in private industry to be very similar to the process in academia, but with a greater emphasis on pre-proposal marketing, peer reviews and competition analysis. I have been involved in academic RD for the past 4 years. I help faculty find funding, I meet with potential funders, advocate for research projects to funders and help faculty write better proposals. I also help develop funding and proposal seminars and workshops for faculty.

I heard about NORDP when I started at BYU and was researching the professional organizations that could best help me get ideas on starting a research development office. NORDP seemed to be the organization best suited to academic research development. The four years I have been with NORDP has confirmed for me that NORDP is indeed the best professional organization for academic RD.

I have enjoyed the presentations, posters and roundtable discussions on topics that are timely to my RD efforts including networking, team science, metrics development, and activities for a small RD office. I also had a good experience participating in the NORDP mentoring program. After learning about speed networking at a previous NORDP conference, I implemented it at BYU. For the past 3 years, speed networking has been a campus-wide success that will continue into the future.

There are several new colleagues with whom I connect every year at the NORDP conference. One colleague and I started a collaborative project between our institutions. It didn’t result in a joint proposal, but in the future, we will look for other collaborative opportunities. The workshop topics are relevant to my efforts and those of my BYU colleagues at facilitating more team science projects. Even though specific topics have not yet been announced, I am looking forward to the conference presentations and anticipate they will be very informative.

My advice to first-time conference attendees is: Attend the workshops to get in depth information on RD topics and also talk with presenters after their presentations. I found the connections after talks to be particularly helpful in learning how to implement new ideas.


We hope to see you at the 2016 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 23-25 in Orlando, FL. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2016 Conference updates.

If you’d like to be featured in a Conference Cameo, let us know at