NORDP | Be On the Lookout For These Faces!

April 29, 2019 

Three members of the Wilson Carroll Research Services (WCRS) team are heading to NORDP for the 2019 Conference. We are leaving our home base in Little Rock, Arkansas to fly out to Providence, Rhode Island this SUNDAY. We will be at the Exhibitors Hall starting Sunday, April 28th and will be at our booth from 8 am until 6:00 pm Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and until 4:00 PM on May 2nd.  

Be on the lookout for these faces!

Chandler Wilson Carroll (far left) is the founder and head research specialist at WCRS. She founded WCRS in 2016 after working in Medical Writing for 4 years. Madison Hedrick, MA, (middle) is the senior medical writer at WCRS. She has 15 years of medical writing experience–her first publication and first grant funded in 2009. Since then, she has acquired over $155 million in grant funds for researchers and institutions and currently serves as the President-elect of the Southeast Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). Sarah Drye, RN, CCMC, (far right) is a Client Coordinator for WCRS with 7 years of clinical experience as a registered nurse and case manager. In her role with WCRS she supports clients and writing staff by building relationships that ensure the best research outcomes for our clients.

three research writers attending conference

So, what is NORDP and tell me about this conference.

NORDP is the “short” version of The National Organization of Research Development Professionals. The NORDP 2019 Conference ( #NORDP2019 ) is the biggest conference they’ve had to date, with three full days in Providence, RI April 29-May 1. The conference is so huge that it ACTUALLY SOLD OUT! Here are some highlights:

  • 20 extra hours of content and presentations for RDPs
  • Two-hour sessions to allow more engagement and discussion
  • Lightning Talks: five-minute presentations that allow individuals to share new and creative ideas for fostering research development.
  • Conference Career Center: where organizations looking to hire the best and brightest RDPs can schedule onsite interviews.
  • One-on-ones with funders: 20-minute one-on-one meetings with officials from federal research agencies. This is a great chance to ask for tips and insights specific to your institutions federal research funding goals. Meetings available with the following:
    • Robin Barr, Director of Division of Extramural Activities, National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • Valerie Browning, Director, Defense Science Office, Defense Advanced Research Project Association (DARPA)
    • Lisa Friedersorf Director, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
    • Meghan Houghton, Senior Advisor, Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering, National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Suzi Iacono, Head of the Office of Integrative Activities, National Science Foundation (NSF)
    • Mark Mirando National Program Leader of Animal Nutrition, Growth and Reproduction with the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Get the full program here.

What exactly is a research development professional (RDP)?

Well, I am glad you asked. According to a 2011 article in The Chronicle,  Jacob Levin, the second President of NORDP, tells of a crisis that emerged in academe where limited budgets,  skyrocketing costs, growing competition, and complexity drove the upper tiers of academe to devote even more time and energy to the money and management of research—rather than the research they needed the money for. This created the need for a new type of administrator–RDPs.

RDPs have a huge impact on the research institutions conduct as they help faculty members plan and attract grants. In 2010, NORDP was established to create a peer community. While research in all fields is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative, grants and contracts require teams and experienced administrators and money and commitment beyond what an individual researcher usually can put together.

“Research-development professionals serve a critical role in guiding those efforts and helping to forge teams that span disciplinary bounds and institutions.”, Levine wrote.

Thirty years ago, full-service offices of research development, especially those with PhD-level staff with grant-writing experience were a rarity.  Doctoral-level staff members with grant-writing experience, were rare in academe until the past decade. stiff grant competition and high research costs, and by the academic fixation on rankings and quantitative financial metrics (like the level of external grant dollars) created a huge need for RDPs and full-services R&D offices.

And back to WCRS…

We decided against the boring “swag and brag” idea and decided to bring swag (of course) but have some ideas up our sleeve (and in our checked bags) that are worth dropping by to see! We look forward to meeting each and every one of you and can’t wait to see the great things that come from this conference!