Conference Cameo: Archie Pitsilides

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 
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Who: Archie Pitsilides, Director, Grants & Outreach
Where: Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business
Number of years in research development: 11
Length of NORDP membership: 2 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? Istanbul, Turkey: People, Culture, Food!

I came to work in the research development field as a third profession. Prior to commencing my career in academia, I held a variety of management positions in the archie headshot (2)hospitality industry, followed by directing customs brokerage services for U.S. importers.  In the early part of the millennium, I returned to the university as a non-traditional student to earn an MBA and an M.A. in Spanish, in part because my spouse accepted a tenure-track position at Texas Tech University. As I was contemplating the next chapter in my professional career, a position was serendipitously announced – as a research associate for a Department of Education-funded program that was working to internationalize curriculum to serve faculty, students, and the U.S. trade community.  This position merged my newly acquired academic skill set with my business experience in international trade. From there, I was hooked. I was fortunate to have a great faculty mentor who took the time to introduce me to and help me navigate both the research and funding environments, while the college supported my professional development through attendance at various grant writing and research workshops. As the Rawls College enhanced its focus on the importance of obtaining grant funding, I was promoted to my current position of Director of Grants and Outreach.

As a grants director, I work to develop and secure funding opportunities for both faculty and students in the areas of business education, research and program development. I provide life-cycle services that include curating opportunities that align with the unique interests of business faculty, proposal editorship, budget development, and pre- and post-award management. In the past few years, the college has made a commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research in an effort to incentivize faculty and enhance the collaborative research environment across the university. This emphasis on collaboration has enabled me to work with a diverse group of investigators and teams from our colleges of education, engineering, media and communications, and visual and performing arts. As with all funding efforts, some proposal teams met with great successes while others had some tough defeats.  Alas, such is the life in the dynamic world of RD.

Inasmuch as last year was the first time I attended the conference, I can honestly say I was genuinely impressed with both the variety and caliber of the conference session offerings. While I often self-selected into the break-outs that paralleled my interests, I did consciously make it a point to discover insights on at least one new area of research. More specifically, I chose to attend a session which focused on early stage investigators in biomedical sciences. This session allowed me to gain a different perspective on mentoring and training early career faculty and provided me with some ideas how to engage program officers to their benefit. To that, end, my insider tip is to make room in your personal agenda to take advantage of the Ideas Showcase which is scheduled on Tuesday, April 30, from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. If you ever wondered how other institutions pilot programs, achieve results, translate research, or enhance collaboration, do not miss this opportunity to discover a plethora of strategies, processes and people. You will come away with new tools or at least a new way of looking at an old challenge. Finally, enjoy the camaraderie of your peers and make new friends!

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

Ask Me: Bright Yellow Buttons and Smiling Faces Welcome You to #NORDP2019

If you are a first-time NORDP conference attendee and lost in the sea of smiling-but-busy-faces, feel free to stop a NORDP Ambassador wearing a bright yellow button that says “Ask Me.” You can ask them about NORDP and how to get the most out of your conference experience, make a connection and a friend!ask_me_buttons

The NORDP Member Services Committee (MSC) launched the Ambassador program last year in an effort to ease first-time conference attendees into the conference experience, provide networking opportunities for first-timers and seasoned attendees alike, and increase engagement with the organization. The program is back, bigger and better, for #NORDP2019.

This year, each first-time attendee is matched with one NORDP Ambassador who is their source of all answers about the conference and the organization. First-time conference attendees and Ambassadors will attend an Orientation and Networking session before the conference begins on Sunday, April 28, 4:30pm-5:30 pm, in the Providence Ballroom.

MSC will have a table by the reception desk, staffed by Ambassadors during breaks to further answer questions. Each Ambassador will be wearing a bright yellow “Ask Me” badge and will be happy to talk/answer questions/network anytime during the conference. Each first-time conference attendee also will have a chance to sign up for a networking dinner hosted by several ambassadors. There will be other opportunities throughout the conference for first-timers to have networking dinners with other NORDP members.

Looking forward to a great conference experience and meeting you all in Providence!

You may contact Samarpita Sengupta (samar.sg@gmail.com) or Sarah Messbauer (smessbauer@ucdavis.edu) with questions about the Ambassador Program.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Stefania Grotti

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. 
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Who: Stefania Elisabeth Grotti, Head Manager of the Research Office
Where: Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Number of years in research development: 18
Length of NORDP membership: 3 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? As a European, I am fascinated by the local cultures of the different Continents I’ve visited. The most fascinating countries I’ve seen are Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as Australia.

I have over 25 years of experience in the field of Research Leadership and Management, including 18 in academia, specifically at the Politecnico di Milano, where I am Head stefaniaManager of the Research Office. Over the years, I have developed strong leadership skills which have enabled me to build a solid record of success in guiding my team to meet its objectives. I have contributed significantly towards maintaining the Politecnico’s outstanding record of success in research fundraising (particularly from EU calls). Under my leadership, the Politecnico has become the most successful research university in Italy. Currently, I am Chair of the Vision 2020 Network Advisory Board and Secretary of NCURA Region VIII.

I’m a passionate and energetic professional involved in the field of academic research. I have extensive experience in funding and financial management,  and the ability to negotiate and mediate at any level and stage since 1995. Thanks to national and international experience on complex projects, I have developed a robust knowledge of the Organisational HR Field suitable for transnational and diverse Research Contexts (academic and industry).

I first heard about NORDP through my participation in several international networks. I am very interested in Research Development activities; I enrolled in NORDP three years ago and in 2018 I attended the D.C. conference for the first time. I was pleased to find that all the Research Development Managers I met felt very engaged in their activities. It is certainly a stimulating environment for me

Yes, in Italy the Research Development activities are not very developed. The Politecnico di Milano is the first Italian university to have implemented them. I am proud to have been able to apply the strategies and the best practices of Research Development learned during the conference at my university.

I have met many new colleagues with whom I have maintained contact. This also allowed me to be invited as speaker at the 2019 conference in Providence.

To prepare to face the challenges we confront in academic research funding,  I advise attendees to actively participate in the sessions and try to bring home the greatest amount of knowledge, above all from different perspectives, even at an international level. The day-to-day work of the Research Developer Manager can be enhanced tremendously through the exchange of ideas.

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

Things to Do in Providence

For more information about  conference logistics and preparing for Providence, join us Monday, April 8, at 1 pm EST for the webinar “Getting Ready for #NORDP2019” – REGISTER HERE.
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Are you getting excited for #NORDP2019? One of the best parts of traveling to a conference is the chance to sneak in some sightseeing between sessions. Or maybe you’ve decided to come to town early or spend a day or two after things wrap up–even better!

Welcome to New England! As someone who’s called Boston home for almost three years, I love taking day trips down to Providence to explore everything this city has to offer. Here are just a few ideas for things to do in Providence while you’re here for the conference.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 9.33.30 PMProvidence Waterplace Park and Riverwalk
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 7 minute walk

This waterside park is so close to the conference hotel that you’ll want to be sure to find some time for a walk. Grab a colleague or take a solo stroll by the river. Sometimes there are even gondoliers!

Providence Athenaeum
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 13 minute walk

Do you love books? The Providence Athenaeum is a fascinating (and extremely photogenic!) library that welcomes visitors. Read about its historical significance–and famous patrons including H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe–here.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 10.11.39 PM.pngRISD Museum
Distance from the Conference Hotel: 11 minute walk

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum’s collection “contains more than 100,000 works of art and design dating from ancient times to today including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume and textiles, and furniture from all over the world.” Explore the museum’s current exhibitions here. (Sidenote: I’ve somehow never made it to this museum and would love to, so if you need a museum buddy, come find me!)

Providence Place
Distance from the Conference Hotel: Attached!

Shoppers, get ready: Providence Place is attached to the conference hotel. If you left a business casual essential at home or just want to browse, you won’t even need to grab your jacket.

Wander Around
Distance from the Conference Hotel: Up to you!

Providence is a wonderful city to explore on foot. For classic New England architecture, head toward Brown University’s campus. If you’re interested in food, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants within walking distance of the conference hotel. In fact, the conference organizers have put together this helpful interactive map if you’re interested in exploring even more ideas for things to do in Providence.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 10.03.57 PM.png

Have fun in Providence! I hope you’ll enjoy this city as much as I do.

(All photos courtesy of me and my iPhone.)

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For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferencesFollow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

Conference Cameo: Don Takehara

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. More information at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Don Takehara, Associate Director for Research
Where: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Engineering
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 5 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2
How do you unwind? Being with good people!

It is mindboggling that 30+ years ago I received my PhD in Chemical Engineering at takehara-donald-180322.jpgNorthwestern. Where did the time go? These years included 16+ years doing R&D at Dow Chemical, 9 years as a professor at Taylor University, and 5 years in the College of Engineering Office of Research at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

At UIUC I work with faculty to help them move forward with their research. This includes faculty development as well as facilitating large, multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, team science, convergent research efforts leading to centers and institutes.

Building of relationships, collaborating, and networking – this area has been the biggest key to successful research during my entire career. The whole research enterprise would be unsuccessful without this. Not only is relationship-building key for obtaining funding, but it is also key for bringing together the right people, expertise, facilities, support systems, culture, etc.

NORDP is a gem for building key relationships for those doing Research Development. There are many people who have great experience with all aspects of Research Development from many different viewpoints, expertise, experiences, etc. In addition to great sessions where one can learn about various aspects of RD, the NORDP Annual Conference is wonderful for meeting individuals to learn from and collaborate with in the future.

Corporations/industry are becoming increasingly important in the research programs at federal agencies, foundations, etc. As a result, NORDP has an alliance with NACRO – the equivalent of NORDP in the Corporate Relations field. The NORDP Great Lakes Regional Conference will be in Ann Arbor, MI, on Oct. 21, 2019. The interface between research development and corporate relations is being looked at as a part of this conference. This will be a good time to bring research development and corporate relations people together to examine what this interface looks like and how to optimize the efforts. Be on the lookout for more information.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

 

Conference Cameo: Jenna Slobozian

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates. Register at https://www.nordp.org/conferences.

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Who: Jenna Slobozian, Manager Grant Development
Where: Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
Number of years in research development: 7
Length of NORDP membership: 1 years
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 2019 will be my first!
How do you unwind? Spend time with family.

Like so many, my career in RD has been a bit of a winding road.  I started out working for a health charity, primarily in the area of health promotion. But one small part of the role was supporting research administration, and I immediately found it to be my favorite Jenna Slobozianpart of the job. I moved to another health charity where I was half time focused on research administration, and I got to spend a lot of time with faculty from a number of different universities.  I was lucky enough to be approached by one of those universities with a position in the central research administration team. I moved up quickly and was soon the senior member of the team supporting grant applications at the university. I was recruited in 2016 to the faculty of medicine to build a team of grant development professionals.  What started out as a team of 1 (me!) in 2016 will be soon be a team of 5, so we have seen rapid success and expansion. Throughout this time I have strived to expand my education and have been involved in the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), where I completed a certificate in research administration, I am involved in professional development, I lead a special interest group, I regularly present webinars, and I sit on the conference planning committee.  I have also been taking advantage of membership with Society of Research Administrators (SRA) and attended training last summer on proposal development.  My membership in NORDP is a natural extension of both my professional development, but also my personal interest in this work.  I am looking forward to attending my first NORDP conference this year and the excellent conference program that has been put together.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.

Conference Cameo: Toyin Babarinde

#NORDP2019 starts Monday, April 29, in Providence, RI. Keep checking back here at the blog and on our Twitter feed (@NORDP_official) for conference updates.

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Who: Toyin Babarinde, PhD, Associate Director of Research Planning and Development
Where: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Number of years in research development: 14
Length of NORDP membership: 1 year
Number of NORDP conferences attended: 1
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited? The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, particularly the ceiling

While I did not realize it at the time, in retrospect, I started in Research Development Staff portraitwhile working on my PhD at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Over the last 14 years, I have worked with a diverse group of talented investigators across various cancer types, including brain, breast, and head and neck cancer. During this period, I have contributed to the development of various research initiatives through research design and implementation, which led to the successful development of peer-reviewed manuscripts and federal and nonfederal funded grants.

In 2015, I transitioned into a “formalized” Research Development role at MD Anderson and have since advanced into my current position as Associate Director of Research Planning and Development. To date, my proudest achievement has been the co-development of the Cancer Research Administration and Management Certificate Program through the MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, a curriculum designed to train and develop outstanding Research Development Professionals. Throughout my career, I have served as a mentor and educator to undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate trainees, as well as research administrators.

I was introduced to NORDP by Dr. Brooke Gowl during an SRA Conference in 2016. I immediately joined and attended my first NORDP conference in 2017.  What I loved most about my experience at NORDP were the people I connected with and the opportunity it provided to build meaningful relationships. The connection I made with Dr. Joanna Downer during NORDP directly impacted my role in the development of research programs within my department as a result of her excellent input.

Additionally, the content provided during the workshops has been most helpful in my own career path.  During the session on RD Strategies to Engage and Promote Faculty Flourishing, I took away several points including: 1) develop the ability to engage faculty by building relationships; 2) understand that specific groups of faculty have different needs and as such, it’s important to customize my approach for each group; and 3) it is important to identify and re-engage disconnected researchers. With a core responsibility of working with key stakeholders to expand the research portfolio of my department, I have taken what I learned during the 2017 NORDP conference to improve my engagement with program members, discuss funding opportunities with engaged and disconnected researchers, and provided guidance and support for proposal development.

This year, I look forward to reconnecting with colleagues, expanding my network, learning more about research development, and identifying how best to contribute to the growth of NORDP.  For those attending this year, remember that building relationships is more than introducing yourself to new people. Following up with them after the conference is over is when the true networking begins.

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We hope to see you at the Conference, which will be held April 29 – May 1, 2019, at the Omni Providence Hotel in Providence, RI. For more information about the conference program, visit http://www.nordp.org/conferences. Follow @NORDP_official on Twitter for all the latest #NORDP2019 updates.

NORDP fosters a culture of inclusive excellence by actively promoting and supporting diversity, inclusion and equity in all its forms to expand our worldview, enrich our work, and elevate our profession.