The Research Development Office (RDO) offers one-stop “concierge” services to connect researchers and scholars with research administrators and other resources; accelerate discovery and innovation by supporting collaboration, creation, and proposal development; and minimize the administrative burden of research on faculty and staff.

faculty workshop


As the landscape for research and scholarship support becomes ever more competitive, our faculty need assistance as they develop creative, bold, and collaborative strategies for discovery and innovation.
We’re here to help them do that

-Dan Reed, Vice President for Research and Economic Development (2012-2017)



What is Research Development?

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development launched the Research Development Office (RDO) in spring 2017. So, what is research development? As a professional field, research development is relatively new.  In 2010, the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) was founded as the first professional organization devoted to research development. NORDP’s definition of research development encompasses, “a set of strategic, proactive, catalytic, and capacity-building activities designed to facilitate individual faculty members, teams of researchers, and central research administration in attracting extramural research funding, creating relationships, and developing and implementing strategies that increase institutional competitiveness”. While the term research development may be new to some, the concept and its activities are closely related to research administration; therefore, research development may be familiar to many. 


Research Administration and Research Development

Figure 1 (Venn Diagram): Research Administration and Research Development

Research administration is likely a more familiar term than research development to many. While research development may be a relatively new concept, it overlaps with research administration in support of researcher success (see Figure 1). Research administration focuses on pre- and post-award support that enables the research to be conducted. Research development focuses on the activities that catalyze research teams and their activities. Using the spectrum of pre- and post-award activities, some have described research development as the activities before pre-award, or PRE-pre-award. In other words, research development supports setting the stage for research with the development of people, resources, and ideas. For example, research development includes providing grant writing workshops, creating a resource library for grant proposals, and ideation and networking opportunities for researchers. Together, research administration (e.g., enabling the conduct of research) and research development (e.g., enabling teams and ideas) support the culture of research and knowledge discovery at universities.


The RDO is building a network of research development professionals that will meet throughout the year and discuss research development ideas and opportunities.


RDO Services

Funding Opportunities

RDO coordinates the ISU-UI Partnership Seed Grant Program, which provides seed funds to support UI and ISU researchers in developing innovative, ambitious, interdisciplinary programs that have the potential to synergistically advance both institutions’ research profiles, as well as lead to sponsored funding from government agencies, corporations, and/or foundations.  Seed funds may be used to develop new initiatives or expand existing collaborations.

RDO coordinates the Limited Submission Opportunities process for grant applications to funding agencies that restrict the number of submissions allowed from an institution. An internal selection process has been established to make sure that multiple applications to the limited program do not render each other ineligible by the sponsor.

RDO coordinates the Arts & Humanities Initiative (AHI), an internal funding program within the Office of Research and Economic Development that encourages leading edge scholarship, creative activities, and interdisciplinary research.  

RDO works closely with the Division of Sponsored Program (DSP) which informs campus faculty about the latest funding opportunities and requests for proposals through the Grant Bulletin.

Proposal Development

The resource library, requiring HawkID authentication, contains examples of successful proposals for various funding agencies including federal agencies and private foundations. In addition, the resource library contains examples of various components required for proposals including budget justifications, resource sharing plans, and data management plans.

The resource library will continue to grow as examples of successful proposals are identified. The Research Development Office is asking for campus assistance in building out this library to help University of Iowa researchers prepare successful proposals. If you are willing to share a copy of a successful proposal or sections of a successful proposal, please email the Research Development Office with your contribution. 

Note: These examples and resources are meant for University of Iowa researchers and staff and should not be shared outside of the University of Iowa. Further, these are examples and should be updated and/or customized to reflect the needs of the proposal.

Research Communications

Promote OVPRED's Communicating Ideas, a summer workshop that trains faculty to talk about their work in language non-experts can understand.

Research Education and Training

RDO promotes outreach activities such as workshops and training sessions available to the campus community.

NIH R01 Writing Boot Camp 2018

The Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development’s (OVPR&ED) Research Development Office is conducting a faculty grant writing boot camp during the Spring semester led by OVPR&ED Faculty Fellow, Dr. Chris Cheatum (Associate Professor, Chemistry). Dr. Cheatum is a an NIH-funded investigator who has also served on the Macromolecular Structure and Function B Study Section.

This boot camp will focus on those writing their first NIH R01 proposal (or a resubmission) providing guided writing and peer feedback through a structured process. For session topics and tentative timelines see the table below. Please note: the final dates and times for this boot camp will be determined based on the participant's common availability during the semester. 

January 30       Start Date - Discuss NIH process and Specific Aims page
February 13 Specific Aims Draft Due February 9 - Peer Discussion of Aims Documents
February 27 Significance, Innovation, and Aim #1 Draft due February 23 - Peer Discussion of Drafts
March 20 Full Proposal First Draft Deadline - Discuss Supporting Documents
April 3 Mock Study Section with Peer Panel
April 10 Responding to Reviewer Comments
April 17 Revised Drafts of Full Proposal Deadline
May 1 Mock Study Section with Guest Panel
May 7-18 Individual Meetings to discuss Final Revisions
May 29 Due Date to Division of Sponsored Programs
June 5 Due Date at NIH


Science on Tap: Freshwater Mussels to the Rescue
Date: February 15, 2018
Presenter: Craig Just (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering)
Location: Hancher Stanley Cafe
Printable flyer (pdf)

In Iowa's waterways, there are millions of freshwater mussels treating nitrogen pollution simply by "eating, peeing, pooping, and puking". Science and engineering can characterize and quantify this underappreciated ecosystem service which is important to the current public dialogue on how best to clean up Iowa's surface waters. Since the waste products of freshwater mussel metabolism are food sources for bacteria in sediment, we must also understand how shifts in microbial ecology, ultimately induced by human activities, impact water quality. The exploration of these topics will help determine the relative benefit of restoring mussel habitat toward mitigating Iowa's nitrogen pollution dilemmas.

Date: March 29, 2018
Title: Metabolism: What it is and How to Keep that Youthful Bounce
Presenter: Charles Brenner (Professor, Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine)

Metabolism is our body's operating system. Every idea and feeling we have, every move we make, and every aspect of our body's processing of food and resistance to stress and disease depends on metabolism. A substance called NAD is the central mediator of metabolism. NAD is required for our conversion of food to energy, our production of and response to hormones, and our ability to repair our DNA. Many stress and disease processes attack our NAD, thereby weakening our metabolism and our defenses. Furthermore, NAD declines in aging, which depresses our metabolism and the function of all or organ systems. This talk will introduce metabolism to a lay audience with an emphasis on the central functions of NAD. We'll also address best practices in healthy aging and current hot topics in metabolism and aging research.

Date: April 19, 2018
Title: Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Robotics, and Jobs!
Presenter: Karim Abdel-Malek (Professor, Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering)

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Virtual Reality are expected to take over about 50% of all jobs in the near future. These technologies are finally maturing enough to be considered viable, disruptive, and real. Traditional, difficult and risky jobs will be replaced with robotic systems while active AI will take over many industries. This talk will present the state of affairs in the realm of these three technologies and will present current work at the University of Iowa in these areas. Dr. Malek will explore the benefits and risks associated with the advent of  these technologies, will provide examples of where it has successfully been implemented, and will discuss how these technologies can be leveraged toward humanity's benefit. The presentation will also focus on the Virtual Soldier Research program at the University of Iowa, a unique one of its kind human simulator called SANTOS®, developed at Iowa, and now helps the US Military design new equipment, test scenarios, and predicts injury. Santos® is a computer program developed over the past 12 years by a team of about 50 researchers. Santos® operates inside a computer and can check for all types of scenarios before the equipment or vehicle is built, thus reducing cost and time.


Contact us

Aaron Kline
Aaron Kline

(319) 335-4142
Marta Gomez
Marta Gomez

(319) 384-1291
Cheryl Ridgeway
Cheryl Ridgeway

(319) 384-3332