Who: Jessica Venable, Coordinator, Research Development Services
Where: Virginia Commonwealth University
Number of years in research development: 16 (Was it called “research development” back then?)
Length of NORDP membership: 4
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 4
My first foray into research development, well before I had even heard the term, was when I was a graduate student intern at NASA Langley Research Center. The Associate Director of the Education Division handed me a giant book of grants the center had made in the past fiscal year. He said my project was to survey faculty, postdocs, and graduate students about their experiences working on these sponsored programs. My first question: “What’s a sponsored program?”
Fifteen years later, I am in the position of responding to that question for researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Since the answers are so critical faculty professional development and VCU’s success, I have to come up interesting, creative, and compelling ways to impart the fundamentals of grantsmanship. And if I am to help keep the faculty competitive, I have to stay sharp, well-informed, and ahead of the trends. I certainly can’t do that by myself from Richmond, VA!
I serve as the Coordinator for Research Development Services in VCU’s central office of research and am charged with assisting faculty in all disciplines targeting all funders. I readily admit the limits of my expertise, so I was thrilled to learn that there was an organization of research development professionals to pool and share resources. Thanks to the RD conferences, an entire community of experts has inspired VCU’s yearlong, campus-wide grantwriting bootcamps: the CAREER Academy and the Grantwriting Institute.
For me, the NORDP 2015 conference will be all about the hallway conversations. My office is refining some of its programs, so I’ll look to my fantastic NORDP member colleagues for their best strategies, best advice, and good humor. Like Bob McDonald said, the annual meeting is where it’s at!
It’s not too late to attend the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. More information about the conference program and registration info available here.
Who: Pradip Pramanik, Director, Proposal Development Unit
Where: North Carolina State University
Number of years in research development: 27
Length of NORDP membership: 6
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 5
With more than 27 years of combined experience in project management, grants management, planning, administration, assessment, and research development, I am really encouraged by NORDP’s role in enhancing the visibility of research development professionals on a national scale. Since its inception, the organization has played an extraordinary role in establishing a network of research development professionals and enhancing the capacity of its members. It serves as a communication and networking platform to share best practices and build awareness about effective strategies, policy decisions, opportunities, and issues related to research development.
For me, NORDP has played a significant role in steering my professional growth and development in research development facilitation across departmental and institutional boundaries. Over the years, I have realized that success of a faculty team depends not only in the content of a team’s discussions but also in the manner in which the team members interact and communicate with one another.
That said, at the upcoming conference, I am specifically interested in team science strategies and am looking forward to the sessions on “The Collaboration Continuum: An RD Perspective on Building Teams” and “The Science of Team Science: The Evidence and A Path Forward.” The NORDP conference is well-attended, and I would recommend my colleagues to reach out to fellow research development professionals at this conference to share accomplishments and lessons learned, participate in Q&A sessions, and to engage in discussions that enhance peer interaction. I will be participating in the 2015 conference as an attendee and am looking forward to engaging in discussions and informative sessions.
Make plans to attend the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information about the conference program or to register, visit here.
Who: Vanity Campbell, Senior Research Development Officer
Where: University of California, Merced
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 2
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
At the University of California, Merced, I support the research efforts of investigators, research teams, and university leadership. The wealth of research ongoing at this new research university has inspired a broadening of my scope of research experience from clinical to areas of engineering, basic science, and social sciences, coordinating proposals for industry and investigator initiated projects. My role ensures the competitiveness of securing and maintaining funding in this changing research funding environment. As a research development professional, it is most rewarding for me to contribute to supporting an array of innovative research projects and programs and the growth of a thriving new university.
NORDP attracts a number of professionals dedicated to providing research development support to institutions across the country. The organization’s annual conference provides a platform and strong network for building upon my professional growth. The past annual NORDP conference was a resource for meeting several needs, including presentation of federal funding trends, strategies focused on institutional competitiveness, RD office structure, and best business practices, as well as the opportunity to share experiences with others in the field. I look forward to attending the 2015 NORDP conference both as an attendee and Idea Showcase/Poster presenter. The Red-Team review pre-conference workshop, various breakout and roundtable sessions, and the conference featured speakers are of immense interest to me. I encourage others to join me in visiting Bethesda, MD, for this year’s engaging conference. Maximize your conference attendance by planning to attend activities such as the networking dinner opportunity, poster showcase, and breakout and roundtable sessions to meet and connect with other attendees.
We hope to see you at the 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference, which will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
Who: Bob MacDonald, Coordinator for Partnerships and Grants
Where: Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture
Number of years in research development: 5
Length of NORDP membership: 5
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 5
I was hired by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in December, 2010, as its first Coordinator for Partnerships and Grants. My charge was simple but broad – to help ARS scientists to be more successful in obtaining soft funding. I had previously been with a Federal granting agency for 17 years, so I was very knowledgeable about Federal grant programs and grantsmanship – but this assignment was broader and, as I came to find out, very closely aligned with the emerging field of research development. I was both thrilled and anxious about my new task of helping ARS’ 2,000 scientists located in 90 locations across the nation. One of the first things I did was to visit several universities to learn what they did. I quickly ran into Ken Gertz, Associate Vice President for Research Development at the University of Maryland and one of the NORDP’s founders. He told me about NORDP, and I quickly joined and started attending the meetings.
What I learned at NORDP annual meetings was indispensable to my standing up a successful research development program at ARS – even though there are significant differences between universities and ARS, a Federal agency with units dispersed across the country. I learned what works and what does not work, could discuss strategies and programs with the wonderful members of NORDP, find and vet the tools and contracted support I needed, as well as be part of an exciting, growing organization of fantastic people. And the annual meetings are where this really takes place. The sharing of experiences, best practices, and hallway conversations are invaluable – as of course are the dinners out together! Today, in large part thanks to the shared experience of NORDP, I have a program that my scientists (who, like most scientists, are not fans of administration) love and avidly support.
The 2015 NORDP Research Development Conference will be held April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD. For more information or to register, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences.
Meet our NORDP Conference Attendees!
Who: Ashton Waite, Proposal Development Coordinator
Where: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Number of years in research development: 3.5 years
Length of NORDP membership: 3 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
Like many research development professionals, I never planned for such a career. Rather, I stumbled into the field when I discovered that picking a career didn’t require me to choose between my equal affection for English and organismal biology. Working as a proposal development coordinator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has allowed me to leverage my dual background in the humanities and sciences – each day I edit, write, and read about some form of scientific research.
My position aligns well with NORDP’s mission, as my work primarily involves partnering with faculty and extramural partners to facilitate the development of external grant proposals, with the goal of enhancing the quality and competitiveness of proposals submitted by UNL grant applicants. I joined NORDP within a year of entering the field and attended my first conference in 2013 in Austin, Texas. Because acquiring research funding is extremely competitive, I was impressed by members’ warm collegiality and willingness to share their knowledge. As one of the newer members in the profession, I have benefited greatly from other members’ shared experiences. At the 2015 conference in Bethesda, Maryland, I will be leading a roundtable discussion focused on considering the value of internal and external expert review of grant proposals. I consider myself somewhat of a knowledge-gatherer and enjoy learning from others, so I look forward to meeting other attendees and hearing about their best practices for evaluating proposal development services and coordinating proposal development for large-scale teams. To maximize your time at the conference, I recommend availing yourself of as many networking opportunities as possible. Start a conversation with the person next to you, join a group for the networking dinner, and attend a working group/committee meeting to learn more about getting involved with NORDP. See you in Bethesda!
Beginning March 18, 2015, we’ll be featuring a weekly series of “conference cameos.” Published each Wednesday from March 18 to April 22, the conference cameos will feature six representative NORDP members who will share – in their own words – thoughts about the benefits of and tips and tricks for for attending the 7th annual research development conference, April 29 to May 1 in Bethesda, MD.
This cross-section of NORDP members will talk about the many ways a range of research development professionals approach the NORDP conference – as well as practical suggestions for maximizing your professional development and networking opportunities at our organization’s annual meeting.
Cameos are being developed by a range of individuals with various research development responsibilities and organizational affiliations. The inaugural cameo will feature Ashton Waite, a proposal development coordinator in the Office of Proposal Development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Be sure to watch for the first conference cameo, which will be published on Wednesday, March 18!