NORDP’s Rising Stars

Introducing the 2016 Rising Star Awardees

In 2016 the Board of Directors established the Rising Star Award to recognize up to three members that have made outstanding contributions to our organization and members. We are honored to share with you the 2016 Rising Star Award recipients.

2016-rising_star-gardnerJennifer Lyon Gardner, University of Texas at Austin

Jennifer Lyon Gardner is a true rising star of research development, dedicated to our emerging profession both at her own institution and to NORDP. Her work on NORDP’s annual conference has inspired us all: she is thoughtful, proactive, pragmatic, and strategic. She truly represents the future of NORDP.

2016-rising_star-mcdermott-murphyCaitlin McDermott-Murphy, Harvard University

Through her important and impactful RD work Caitlin McDermott-Murphy has become an integral part of her team at Harvard University, a valued member of our regional group, NORDP Northeast, and a strong proponent of and ambassador for NORDP National.

2016-rising_star-whittenberger-keithKari Whittenberger-Keith, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Kari Whittenberger-Keith has been a capable and reliable volunteer that strongly believes in the mission and vision of NORDP and has proved repeatedly her willingness to serve the membership in new and innovative ways. Her commitment to our members is laudable and demonstrated by the excellence of effective practices in research development programming.

Eligibility for this award includes at least three years of experience in the profession, two years of NORDP membership, and significant volunteer contributions to NORDP. Recipients receive a custom-engraved plaque and waived registration fee for a future conference. Nominations must be submitted to the Conference Scholarships & Service Awards Committee by the last day of February each year or by email to All nomination materials remain in consideration for a period of up to three years from the date of submission and supplemental materials may be submitted each year. (Current and past members of the Board of Directors are ineligible for this award.)

2016 Conference Cameo: Jason Charland

#NORDP2016 starts Monday, May 23 in Orlando! Download the full conference program book to start planning your conference experience. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) next week for live conference updates.

Who: Jason Charland, Director of Grant Development
Where: University of Maine
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: Joined in February 2016
Number of NORP conferences attended: 1

My first experience with research development was through a field placement as a graduate student in a university research center where I helped to implement research and Charland_Photooutreach projects.  I have worked on a variety of grant-funded and grant writing projects in the public health, K-12 education, and university research sectors.  Having held several program staff positions on federally funded grants has provided me with a unique perspective as a research development professional.  I gained hands-on experience executing workplan deliverables, managing grant budgets, cultivating relationships with program officers, and implementing follow-on funding strategies. These collective experiences have translated well to working with faculty on research proposal development.

In 2012, I joined the University of Maine (UMaine) as the Grants Management Coordinator for the College of Education and Human Development, where I supported faculty with pre- and post-award functions.  In the summer of 2014, I was recruited by the Vice President for Research to join her office and start the Grant Development Office at UMaine to enhance faculty grant seeking and research development efforts.  Our areas of focus are: proposal resubmissions, junior faculty grantsmanship support, project management of interdisciplinary center grant proposals, and facilitation of collaborations with the sister campuses within the University of Maine System.

I first heard about NORDP from my colleagues at UNH, and have been attending NORDP NE regional meetings since 2014. I was the first representative from Maine to become involved with the regional group and recently joined NORDP as an official member. Last year was the first NORDP national conference that I attended and I enjoyed the networking opportunities and the variety of presentations and panels that were available to attendees. After attending a NORDP presentation on evaluation, we have begun to administer customer satisfaction surveys to monitor our services and help communicate the impact of our office.

The NORDP NE group has provided great networking and professional development opportunities and the regional meetings also provide an opportunity to visit different campuses.  Members that I have reached out to directly have been extremely helpful and I am grateful to have this network to call upon.  I am looking forward to co-presenting at this year’s conference with a NORDP NE colleague.

Two new research development staff members joined my office recently and I am glad that we have the opportunity to attend this year’s conference together as a team.  I look forward to continuing to learn about the strategies that other universities have employed in establishing research development offices. My recommendations are that attendees take full advantage of the networking opportunities that the conference provides and actively engage with speakers during the Q&A periods of the various panels and presentations.

2016 Conference Cameo: Andrés Hernández, UC Merced

Online registration closes this Saturday, May 14, for the 2016 NORDP Conference! Will you be joining us? Register at, and enjoy this week’s featured Conference Cameo!

Who: Andrés Hernández, PhD, Research Development Officer
Where: University of California, Merced
Number of years in research development: 1
Length of NORDP membership: This is my first year as a NORDP member.
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 0

My interest in research development began during my undergraduate studies when I Hernandez_Andresreceived the opportunity to participate in a city-funded project, but working as a postdoctoral research scientist at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden is ultimately what led me to the field. My responsibilities included the writing, reviewing, and editing of grant proposals involving research teams from multiple institutions; identifying potential sources of funding; and developing research ideas into fundable proposals. I wrote two proposals that were funded and was a contributor to a third successful proposal. This is when the ‘light bulb’ went on and I knew that research development was a profession.

I entered the profession in May 2015 at UC Merced. My position is broad-based. On paper, my job includes: identifying proposal opportunities, developing proposals, finding potential collaborators for faculty, working on diverse proposals, coordinating proposals with multiple investigators and sub-awards, and implementing University policies and procedures. Of course, there are many important responsibilities which don’t fall into the ‘on paper’ category. I first learned about NORDP from UC Merced’s Director of Research Development Services, Susan Carter. I joined NORDP in February, and this year’s conference will be my first NORDP conference.

I’m looking forward to obtaining new skills at the conference that I can implement at UC Merced. Many RD professionals I’ve met thus far are NORDP members, and they have provided additional points of contact with whom they’ve met through NORDP. At the conference, I’m looking forward to meeting people, networking and making quality, mutually beneficial connections. My advice to other attendees is to come to the conference with an open mind. Don’t limit yourself to sessions that are specific to your position. Meet and get to know people as people, not just as work-partners. Work on establishing long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships that will benefit both yourself and your institution!

We hope to see you at the 2016 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held May 23-25 in Orlando, FL. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest 2016 Conference updates.

2016 Conference Cameo: Deborah Rocha

Who: Deborah S. Rocha, Research Development Specialist
Where: Indiana University,Rocha_Deborah Bloomington
Number of years in research development: about 8
Length of NORDP membership: 8 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1

I have a graduate degree in Systems Science and a passion for the kind of problem solving that can come out of interdisciplinary research, and I’ve come to see this as a natural pathway into RD work. My first RD position was with an academic department that was expanding traditional boundaries in exciting new and interdisciplinary directions. From 2008 to 2012, I was their point of contact for proposal related questions, identified relevant funding opportunities, reviewed and edited proposal content, delivered informational workshops, and created and maintained an informational website.

In 2013, I started working with Proposal Development Services (PDS) in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) at IUB. My work is campus wide now and includes comprehensive project management of complex grant proposals, as well as general proposal support. This typically involves reviewing and editing proposals for content, structure, and grantsmanship. I’m happy to be included in larger vision and planning conversations within the OVPR as well. I also provide individual consultations to faculty who are developing projects for which they plan to seek external funding, and help develop and deliver informational workshops and specialized seminars.

In late 2008 I joined the listserv Holly Falk-Krzesinski launched out of Northwestern University that grew soon thereafter into NORDP. The collegiality has been really important to me ever since. During the first part of that year, supporting great research was a clear goal for me, but I hadn’t yet seen it as research development. NORDP has provided me with both a network and a framework for realizing RD as a career.

Attending the 2015 NORDP conference with hundreds of others who do similar work, many of whom have similar stories, was validating and exciting. I came away with a terrific mentor and an invaluable safety net of colleagues to turn to for feedback when I’m working on something new.

So much of what I learned from NORDP comes into play routinely in my work; specific examples include looking more closely at evaluating RD using metrics and surveys, and adjusting how I critique and offer feedback on faculty proposals. I’m looking forward to this year’s conference themes of creativity and interdisciplinarity, to the presentations around those themes, and to the interactive workshops.

My advice for first time attendees: Be willing to ask for help. The community is generous and happy to share experience and knowledge. Be assured that your opportunity to help others will come around, and grab it when it does. Attend all the sessions you can, and as much as possible mingle, listen, and share.

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

Conference Reminder: Hotel Room Block Closes this Friday, 4/29


We’re less than a month away from the 2016 NORDP Conference! If you haven’t reserved your hotel room yet, now is the time to do so. Our room block closes this Friday, April 29th.

Reserve Your Hotel Room for the 2016 NORDP Conference

A few rooms remain at a special discounted NORDP rate at the conference site, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando. The hotel is located 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).

Problems reserving your room? Email

Stay informed as we count down to #NORDP2016! Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest conference updates.

2016 Conference Cameo: Cortney Leach

Who: Cortney Leach, Research Development Manager, The Information School
Where: University of Washington
Number of years in research development: 3
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORP conferences attended: 2
I provide leadership for the UW iSchool in the areas of research strategy and development, Leach_20160329_finalpartner and sponsor cultivation, and promotion and external relations. Under our Associate Dean for Research, I support a highly diverse group of faculty and research scientists, with backgrounds ranging from philosophy and law to data science and systems biology. As the lead within a 2-person, unit-based RD shop, I manage services that strategically lighten the administrative load for our researchers in addition to those that propel us forward. In a given day you will find me holding proposal strategy sessions with individual faculty members; facilitating a brown bag on cracking Google research funding; reaching out to Federal Relations re: an upcoming faculty member’s visit to D.C. (our Seattle location has its challenges); drafting policies related to the management of our research centers; planning our transition to an eIRB system; helicopter-parenting a proposal as it makes its way through OSP review; advising my ADR on internal seed fund requests… If it pertains to the conduct of research, I pick up the phone. I came to the field after holding varied positions in research, non-profit, and public program management, most recently within the digital inclusion evaluation and policy spac

We do not enjoy the support of central RD office at Washington, and my position is rather unusual on campus. I discovered NORDP quite by chance within in my first 6 months, and it has been a critical lifeline. I attended the previous two NORDP conferences (Portland and Bethesda), and found the workshops, sessions, and opportunities to connect with colleagues to be invaluable. The range of topics explored as well as the level of expertise in the room (each room) has made for a consistently rewarding conference experience with tons of takeaways. For instance, the 2015 session on evaluating research development services helped me to take a leap forward in developing metrics and methods for evaluating our own services, and the session sharing findings from comparative study of proposal review criteria at federal agencies has translated to remarkable efficiencies for myself and my faculty.

In Orlando, I am especially looking forward to making new connections, the sustained reflection I hope to find at the Developing a Faculty Research Development Program pre-conference workshop, and sharing my thoughts on why it may be time to revisit crowdfunding during my session with the brilliant Cindy Bellas, Reconnecting to the Citizen: Crowdfunding Research. For those you attending, I urge you to step away from the Outlook and allow yourself to be truly present. You won’t want to miss a thing. I’m counting down the days – I know I will leave NORDP 2016 inspired, smarter, better prepared, and better connected.

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

NORDP NE 2015 Summer Conference at Brown University

by Caitlin McDermott-Murphy, Harvard University and Kathy Cataneo, University of New Hampshire

The NORDP Northeast Regional group (NORDP NE) held a full-day conference at Brown University in Providence, RI on July 27, 2015. The group welcomed 59 attendees, representing 18 institutions and all New England states. Special thanks go to Amy Carroll, Brown University’s Director of Research Development, her staff, and David Savitz, Brown’s Vice President for Research, for their hospitality.

Because NORDP NE values the wide range of perspectives, experiences, institutions, and RD offices represented at our conferences and meetings, we emphasize interactive, discussion-based sessions that provide room for debate and problem solving. An important aspect of this and previous NORDP NE conferences is the opportunity to connect, which can lead to: sponsor programming made available across our New England institutions, shared resources (e.g., funding newsletters), shared best practices (e.g., metrics-gathering methods), and a level of comfort when reaching out to point-people for specific RD questions, such as how and when to hire external consultants.

As with NORDP NE’s past conferences, the July 2015 gathering featured keynote guest speakers, six different topic-specific sessions with expert panelists and group discussion, themed lunch roundtable discussions, and a business meeting. Following the conference, many attendees stayed to enjoy networking over appetizers and drinks.

Keynote speakers Savitz and Lawrence Larson (Brown University’s Dean of Engineering) offered valuable high-level perspectives on the importance of Research Development to not just individual faculty members but also to the larger institution. The RD role is especially important when it comes to large-scale future planning needed to grow modern universities. Dr. Savitz called Research Development a “connecting field,” and described it as the art of adapting strategies to pursue and win funding. With an increasing emphasis on the “research + education” model, Research Development professionals offer important support to assimilate faculty needs with institutional needs.


Following the key-note address, the July conference offered the following topic-specific sessions:

Career Strategies for Developing the Next Generation of Research Leaders

Karen Drew, Northeastern University; Carol Inman, Independent Consultant; Anne Windham, Brown University

Evaluating Research Development: Metrics and Satisfaction Surveys

Jennifer Corby, Harvard University; Sarah Marina, Tufts University; Loren Walker, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Strategic Support for Faculty to Determine the Best Funding Opportunities

Erin Cromack and Caitlin McDermott-Murphy, Harvard University

It Takes a Campus…To Submit a Proposal

Brown University’s Tristan Barako (Research Development), Patrice Carroll (Sponsored Projects), Brian Demers (Technology Ventures), Catherine Nellis (Foundation Relations), and Douglas Wilkie (School of Engineering)

Government Relations as a Research Development Partner

Amy Carroll, Brown University; Rele Ritter, Office of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island

Creating a Research Development Office or Function at Your Institution

Kathy Cataneo, University of New Hampshire


And, the conference’s roundtable lunch topics covered the following:

  • Broader Impacts Summit Debrief, Facilitator: Barbara Pearson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Exploring Regional Collaborations, Facilitator: Tristan Barako, Brown University
  • Incentivizing Research, Facilitator: David Savitz, Brown University
  • General Networking, All others

At the general business meeting, the NORDP NE Chair Kathy Cataneo and the Advisory Committee introduced an organization chart and position descriptions (modeled on NCURA regional positions) for the Past Chair, Chair, Chair Elect, Communications Coordinator, Membership Coordinator, and Secretary. Attendees agreed to transition NORDP NE into a more formal organization with defined roles and responsibilities, a succession plan, and opportunities for professional development through service to the regional group. The Advisory Committee intends to hold elections in 2015-16 in order to fill these positions prior to the next NORDP national conference.

For the first time since NORDP NE’s inception, we evaluated the impact of each individual July 2015 conference session and asked attendees to complete a brief survey before departing the conference venue. The sessions deemed most helpful were those on government relations and strategic support to faculty. And, the most salient topics proposed for future conferences and meetings include:

  • Funding trends and policies, presented by agency representatives
  • Project management: strategic planning and project management tools
  • RD office development: tangible tools for RD professionals
  • Collaboration: working with other university units or functions

NORDP Northeast extends a big “thank you” to NORDP National for their continued support and leadership. We also welcome questions from burgeoning RD groups in other regions, and look forward to (re)connecting with all of our colleagues in Orlando in May 2016.

2016 Conference Cameo: Marley Bauce

More than 300 research development professionals will be gathering in Orlando this May for the 2016 NORDP Conference. Will you be joining us? Register at, and enjoy this week’s featured Conference Cameo!

Who: Marley Bauce, Manager of Research Initiatives, Office of the Executive Vice President for Research
Where: Columbia UniversityMB Headshot
Number of years in research development: 7
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1

I run the Research Initiatives in Science & Engineering (RISE) program, the largest seed funding competition for Columbia faculty, which provides introductory support for interdisciplinary research collaborations that cannot receive conventional funding because they are too preliminary, too risky, or too non-conforming. In addition, I help administer limited submission competitions for the University, and maintain a number of communications capacities, including authoring articles on interdisciplinary scientific research for The Record, Columbia’s largest internal newspaper, and producing my office’s semiannual newsletter. Finally, I coordinate large events, including faculty networking receptions, information sessions, proposal writing workshops, and promotional campus visits by government agencies. The remaining pieces of my work revolve around opportunistically and creatively establishing new ways to competitively advance Columbia’s stature with the extramural research funding world – a task that I enjoy immensely.

I began my career as the Manager of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, a funding competition jointly run by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences. I helped expand the awards program from a regional to a national competition in 2013, wherein I was chiefly responsible for the communications plan, recruitment of senior judges and the Science Advisory Council, and development of application and evaluation materials.

Early into my time at Columbia, Susan Gomes, Harvard University’s Director of Research Development & Strategy within the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, encouraged me to join NORDP, and I’m terribly glad I did. Last year’s NORDP conference allowed me to develop relationships with other RD staff and begin sharing ideas for best practices and identifying common challenges. It was useful to understand various university structures – their unique reporting lines, data management techniques, extra-institutional partnerships, and indirect cost agreements.  The NORDP conference was an exceptional way of recognizing that I am not an island, but rather part of a larger community of professionals deeply committed to increasing the diversity, momentum, and traction of interdisciplinary research for the public good.  Last year, I attended a presentation about merging foundation relations with research; it provided me with a new perspective on collaborating and establishing constant communications lines with our foundation relations staff, particularly while we engage the W.M. Keck Foundation.

Together with Susan Gomes, I co-lead the new Ivy Plus Research Development Group, containing 20 members across seven institutions. We met at last year’s conference and will meet again for a half day before this year’s conference. I encourage all conference attendees to take full advantage of the conference features – workshops, dinners, networking receptions, etc. This is a rare critical mass of people who can help and be helped by you, so don’t waste the opportunity!

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


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!