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 http://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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 http://www.nordp.org/conferences. 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 rdconf@nordp.org.


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 http://www.nordp.org/conferences.


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 http://www.nordp.org/conferences. 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 rdconf@nordp.org.

2016 Conference Cameo: Donna Scott Tilley

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!

Don’t forget – registration fees increase on March 1. Secure your Early Bird discount by registering for the Conference today.

Who: Donna Scott Tilley, PhD, Assistant Provost and ProfessorDonna Scott Tilley, Texas Woman's University
Where: Texas Woman’s University
Number of years in research development: 2 years
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1

I took the position as Interim Assistant Provost for my university with the intent of going back to my teaching role when the university hired a permanent person. After about 6 months as interim, I started to really love the RD work. I applied for the permanent position and was delighted to be appointed. I oversee our Research and Sponsored Programs office. I work with the team to make sure we are using our limited resources in the best way possible to maximize faculty success in research. I work with individual faculty to help them plan their program of research, facilitate collaborations between and among faculty, and advocate for research with administration. When I started this position, our Director of Operations suggested membership in NORDP right away – she said it would be a great source of support and information, and she was right!

After attending my first NORDP conference last year in Bethesda, I was convinced that this would be one of my most valuable professional development tools. I went to the Regional meeting at the conference and was immediately greeted by colleagues from other universities in my area. It was so great to hear what other universities were doing and make connections. I now reach out to these colleagues when I have a question or concern, to hear their perspectives. In addition, the conference sessions I attended were perfect for me – many provided foundational information, and others were thought-provoking and helpful for long term planning about improving what we do. For example, my university has purchased resources that we first learned about at the conference, and I’ve changed our internal competition procedures based on sessions I attended.

Because of my great experience at my first conference, I am bringing several office staff to Orlando for this year’s conference. I am looking forward to the networking and the sessions – there is so much to learn about this job!

My advice to first-time conference attendees is: Don’t sit with the same people at every session – mix it up and meet new people. Go to your regional group meeting and talk to people. Don’t skip sessions, even if you think they might not be directly applicable to your institution. Even if they don’t directly apply, there will be some little pearl of wisdom you can use. Have fun!


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 http://www.nordp.org/conferences. 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 rdconf@nordp.org.


Call for Nominations: NORDP’s Rising Star of Excellence Awards – due March 1

The NORDP Board of Directors is excited to announce a new way to recognize the contributions of newer members of NORDP who have made outstanding contributions to the organization: the Rising Star of Excellence Award.  We are now accepting nominations for this award.

Active NORDP members with at least three years of experience in the profession; two years of NORDP membership; and significant volunteer contributions to NORDP, i.e., committee work, conference volunteer, presenter, etc. Current and past members of the NORDP Board of Directors are ineligible for nomination.

Nomination and Selection Process
Any NORDP member may nominate eligible members for this award. We are asking for a letter of nomination that details why this NORDP member is a good candidate for this recognition. In particular, the nomination should speak to past and current contributions to NORDP; the potential for future contributions to research development, to NORDP, or to both; and examples of excellence in research development that deserve to be recognized. The nomination should also include a short (approximately 50 words) statement to be used as an award citation if the nominee is selected.

Please submit nominations to rdconf@nordp.org by March 1, 2016. Nominations will be judged based upon the extent to which the candidate has achieved success in the criteria specified above.

The Conference Scholarship, Award, and Recognition subcommittee reviews the nomination materials and recommends nominees for approval by the Board of Directors. Awardees will receive an engraved plaque and waived conference registration for a future NORDP conference.

Contact Jeff Agnoli, agnoli.1@osu.edu, with any questions.

NORDP New Year: an update from NORDP Secretary Michael Spires


It’s a new year, and there’s so much that’s new and exciting going on with NORDP. I want to focus on a couple of those things in this post:

  • The 2016 NORDP Annual Meeting
  • 2016 Nominating Committee and upcoming NORDP elections

2016 NORDP Annual Meeting

In just four short months, we’ll be gathering at the Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando for the 2016 annual meeting. Registration is now open, and the Program Committee is hard at work putting together an awesome lineup of presentations, panels, roundtables, and posters. We received a total of 84 submissions for presentations, and we hope to have notifications out shortly to the presenters who have been given the green light. As we get closer to the meeting, we’ll start sharing some nuggets of information about speakers and presentations to whet your appetite, along with information about networking opportunities and other activities at the meeting. I hope to see you there!

2016 Nominating Committee and Upcoming NORDP Elections

The new year also means that it’s time to start thinking about electing new members to the Board of Directors. To that end, the 2016 Nominating Committee recently had its first meeting, at which we went over materials from last year’s election and started making some changes for this year. Keep an eye out for an email from us in the next couple of weeks inviting nominations and applications for this year’s ballot.

The Nominating Committee is established by the NORDP Bylaws. Its members serve for one year (and can serve more than one term, if they want to). Each fall, the outgoing chair invites NORDP members to volunteer to serve on the committee. After selecting six members from the membership at large, two members from the Board of Directors are added, and the new committee then selects a chair for the year. This year we’re proud to report that we have at least one member from every NORDP region:

  • Region I: Peg AtKisson, Grant Writers’ Seminars & Workshops
  • Region II: Karen Eck (Board member), Old Dominion University
  • Region III: Beth Hodges, Florida State University
  • Region IV: Kathryn Partlow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Region V: Michael Spires (Board member), University of Colorado Boulder; Jerilyn Hansen (committee chair), Utah State University
  • Region VI: Sandra Garcia, University of Houston, Downtown
  • Region VII: Susan Carter, University of California, Merced

The committee is charged by the Bylaws, and other NORDP policies, with reviewing and updating elections information, soliciting nominations and applications for election to the Board, verifying the willingness to serve for individuals nominated by another NORDP member, presenting a slate of candidates for the Board, and working with the candidates to generate information about their backgrounds and qualifications for service that will be included in the information sent out with the election ballots. A member of the committee (the chair, if she or he is in attendance) moderates the candidate forum breakfast at the annual meeting. After the election is complete, the committee reviews the feedback received from those who participated, and may recommend changes in policies and procedures to the Board for the next cycle if these are warranted.

All NORDP members in good standing as of April 8, 2016 will be eligible to vote in the 2016 elections, so if your membership is set to expire before that date, make sure to renew soon! We have to send voter names and email addresses to our election services provider at least 20 business days before voting opens, so they can generate the emails containing each eligible member’s personalized link to the secure voting website. Our cutoff date is slightly before that deadline, to make sure we have the chance to process all outstanding renewals before we generate the list to send to the service provider. Voting will be open from May 16 until June 8.

Michael Spires, M.A., M.S., CRA
University of Colorado Boulder

2016 Conference Registration Now Open!

Registration for the 2016 NORDP Conference in Orlando is now open! Register today to lock in Early Bird pricing and to secure your spot in one of our limited-enrollment pre-conference workshops.

Early Bird registration for NORDP members is $470. Non-members pay $620, which includes a complimentary one-year membership in NORDP.

We also are offering pre-conference workshops on Monday morning, May 23, for $160, and a Special Interactive Session on Creative Uncertainty, hosted by TED speaker Julie Burstein, on Monday afternoon for just $50. Enrollment is extremely limited for both the workshops and the Special Interactive Session, so be sure to secure your spot when registering for the conference.

Click here to register!

Prices go up March 1, 2016.

You may also view the full Schedule-At-A-Glance (subject to change).

New NORDP Webinar: Evaluating Your Research Development Office

Evaluating Your Research Development Office
Presented by Sarah Marina, Tufts University

Date:                      Thursday, February 11, 2016
Time:                     1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST  /  12 noon – 1:00 pm CST Registration:        You must be a member to register. Join NORDP today to access this resource!

The question of how to evaluate the success of a research development practitioner is being asked with increasing frequency, as this is a new and growing field. Commonly used quantitative metrics (such as “success” rates) fail to provide meaningful information about the true impact of our work, given its complexity and the realities of dropping funding rates. Many of us have the opportunity to chart the course of how we will be evaluated at our institutions, but the question remains: What measures of success should we use, and how should we evaluate them?

In this webinar, we will describe several evidence-based tools for use in internal evaluation and illustrate selected approaches with examples from actual evaluations of the Offices of Research Administration and Research Development at Tufts University. In particular, this session will highlight the utility of using satisfaction as the key metric in assessing the success of a research development office. We will offer practical tips for developing an evaluation of your own Research Development efforts, and detail the process of developing, designing, implementing, and assessing the results of a satisfaction survey.

Sarah Marina is an Assistant Director in the Tufts University Office of Research Development. She has eight years of professional experience in the research development field, centering on proposal development and strategy, and program design and implementation. Her current research focus is on the development methods for the evaluation of offices of research development and/or administration. She completed a certificate in Program Evaluation at Tufts University in 2012, where she is currently a masters candidate in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.