Research Development Defined | Research Development and Administration | Research Development Network | RDO Services | Research Education and Training | Campus and Community Outreach | Sparking New Collaborations

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. 

For an overview of events and activities in 2017-18, download the RDO Launch Year in Review (pdf).


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

-John Keller, Interim Vice President for Research 



What is Research Development?

The Office of the Vice President for Research 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 Development and Research Administration

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 diagram). 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.


Research Development Network

Do you engage in research development activities? Not sure if you do, but want to learn more and/or network with other research development professionals on campus?  

The goals of the network are to:

  • Introduce research development activities on campus and off
  • Share strategies and best practices for research development
  • Network with other campus research development professionals

Contact with questions.

RDO Services

Funding Opportunities

UI-ISU Partnership Seed Grant Program

RDO coordinates the UI-ISU 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.


In a change from 2018, UI and ISU are offering a matchmaking platform to help PIs identify collaborators for a proposal.  UI faculty interested in finding an ISU collaborator should fill out the form linked here.  The list of UI and ISU faculty interested in collaborating on the UI-ISU Partnership Seed Grant Program can be found here.  Faculty who add their names to the list can also opt in to receive a weekly email update.

Limited Submission Opportunities

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.

Arts and Humanities Initiative

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.  

Grant Bulletin and Funding Opportunities

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.


Pivot is an online funding database that researchers, faculty and research administrators can easily explore new avenues for funding, view funding opportunities uniquely matched to their scholar profile, collaborate with colleagues and manage the results of the process to build a funding strategy that supports both immediate and long-term funding needs. For more information on how to access Pivot, please visit the DSP webpage.

Proposal Development 

External Review Services

RDO assists UI faculty with preparing ambitious, collaborative, and successful proposals. In this regard, RDO facilitates external reviews of proposals to external funding agencies. External review of proposals prior to submission will provide critical feedback in order to strengthen the proposal and improve the overall likelihood of success.  Download the guidelines (pdf) for additional details. ***Please note that funds are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.***

Resource Library

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.

Also included in the resource library are DoD and NASA Funding Tools provided by Travis Klopfenstein, Research Programs Consultant; CCAD.  This initiative includes tools and resources to find a counterpart in DoD labs, consortiums, and OTAs as well as other useful guidelines for DoD and NASA funding opportunities.

The resource library will continue to grow as examples of successful proposals are identified. RDO is asking for campus assistance in building out this library to help UI 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 Education and Training

RDO promotes outreach activities such as workshops and training sessions available to the campus community. For additional opportunities available across campus, visit

Campus and Community Outreach

UI Research Services Fair

RDO is pleased to invite researchers of all levels (i.e., faculty, staff, post-docs, and graduate students) to the inaugural University of Iowa Research Services Fair on Thursday, April 11 from 3pm-6pm in the Mediacom Outdoor Room (indoors), Kinnick Press Box.  The Fair will provide an opportunity for researchers to learn about the many campus resources and services available for their research.  Visit the Research Services Fair webpage to learn more about the participating units and to register.

Community Engagement Lecture Series

Community Engagement is becoming a key component of health research studies.  To assist researchers in learning more about this topic, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) and RDO will be sponsoring a Spring Lecture Series. The goal of this series is to foster greater campus awareness of how and why community engagement can improve research.  For more information, visit the ICTS webpage here.

Science on Tap

Science is brewing at Hancher's Stanley Café! In conjunction with Hancher, Science on Tap is an informal forum for UI researchers to engage the campus and the local community in a discussion of science in a fun and inviting atmosphere that recognizes the great research and scholarship taking place at Iowa. 

Mark your calendars to attend Science on Tap in 2018-2019:

February 28: State Hygienic Laboratory: Diagnosis in Pathogenic and Chemical Exposure Identification 

Speakers: Susie Dai (Environmental Health Director, State Hygienic Laboratory), Wade Aldous (Disease Control Director, State Hygienic Laboratory) 
Description: Television shows like CSI and Silent Witness have created an exaggerated, rapid-fire perception of laboratory science. In reality, identifying the source of harmful exposures involves a network of specialists, advanced analytical methodology, and time. It is critical to accurately characterize the source of exposure in order to reduce the prevalence of acute and chronic illness.  Using case studies of pathogenic and chemical exposures, Drs. Aldous and Dai will discuss how the State Hygienic Laboratory's diagnostic testing is the backbone of environmental and epidemiological investigations for infectious diseases, environmental and food contaminants, foodborne illness outbreaks, and chemicals and pathogens in acts of terrorism.
Where: Stanley Café in Hancher Auditorium / 5:30-6:30 PM

March 28: Three Minute Thesis Showcase

Speakers: Tianlu Zhang (2018 Winner), Muhammad Taifur Rahman (2018 Honorable Mention), Timothy Acri (2018 Honorable Mention), and Oronde Drakes (2018 Audience Choice)
Description: The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenged graduate students to communicate their research in three minutes or less in non-specialist language.  Participants represent a diverse array of disciplines and areas of study, and reflect the passion and thirst for discovery common among all of Iowa's graduate students.  This year's winners will join Science on Tap to showcase some of the diverse research being done on campus including second language acquisition, human toxicology, pharmaceutics and translational therapeutics, and geographical and sustainability sciences. 
Where: Stanley Café in Hancher Auditorium / 5:30-6:30 PM

April 18: Striving for Equity in Schools

Speakers:  Sarah Bruch (Assistant Professor, Sociology) and Kingsley Botchway (Chief Officer of Human Resources and Equity, Waterloo Community School District) 
Description: Achieving educational equity remains a fundamental challenge in education policy and practice.  This presentation will describe the work of the Equity Implemented Partnership which aims to improve the equitability of school experiences and outcomes for studies in the Iowa City Community School District by making data-informed decisions, drawing on research-based solutions, and using an inclusive decision-making process. 
Where: Stanley Café in Hancher Auditorium / 5:30-6:30 PM

Sparking New Collaborations

The examples below are aimed at bringing together faculty and staff from across the disciplines to grow campus connections, while fueling participants’ imaginations for what is possible in the area of research and discovery.

Computational and Quantitative Mental Health Jumpstart

Continuing the effort to build and enable campus networks of interdisciplinary researchers that address today’s societal challenges, the RDO and the UI Computational Psychiatry group, supported by Knowinnovation (a firm that specializes in accelerating scientific innovation), is launching a jumpstart effort to bring together researchers around computational and quantitative mental health research this spring. This jumpstart will combine a series of activities to find and connect researchers from the array of campus disciplines interested in joining data (computational and quantitative) and mental health perspectives, both broadly defined, to identify and frame novel interdisciplinary research questions. With support from the RDO, interdisciplinary teams from this effort will pursue external funding for their research questions. For details and timeline, visit the webpage here.

Opioid Networking Survey

To help facilitate networking, the RDO is hosting an Opioid Networking Survey. The goal of this survey is to create a directory to help identify potential collaborators for your ideas and projects. This collected information is being posted online, so that you may easily communicate with others as desired.

The survey consists of the following questions and should take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete (three to four sentences per question, generally):

  1. Demographics
  2. What is your interest in exploring solutions towards addressing opioid use?
  3. What expertise are you looking for in a collaborator(s)?
  4. What expertise can you offer a collaborator(s)?
  5. Do you have any current opioid-related activities/projects ongoing that would you would like to highlight?

To complete the survey, please click here. To identify potential collaborators, please click here. The survey results will be updated every two weeks when new responses are collected.

Previous Events

To see previous events from the Research Development Office, please visit here.

Contact us

Aaron Kline
Aaron Kline

(319) 335-4142
Cheryl Ridgeway
Cheryl Ridgeway

(319) 384-3332
Britt Ryan
(319) 335-9575