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 and Economic Development



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 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

Upcoming Meeting: Research Development Network
Date: Monday, January 7, 2019
Venue: 2520D UCC
Click here to Register 
Agenda: See table below. For more information, please see additional detail here (pdf).






Aaron Kline (Research Development Office)


Pivot (funding and collaborator identification)

Oliva Smith (Division of Sponsored Programs)


Department of Defense Funding

Travis Klopfenstein (Center for Computer-Aided Design)


Speed Networking

Aaron Kline (Research Development Office)


Networking Lunch (provided)

Inaugural Meeting: Research Development Network Meeting
Date: Monday, July 9, 2018
Agenda (pdf)
Introduction Slides (pdf)
What do you do when asked to review a proposal? (pdf)
Sparking New Collaborations (pdf)

Contact Aaron Kline ( / 319-335-4142) in the Research Development Office with questions.

RDO Services

Funding Opportunities

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.

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 

External Review Services

The Research Development Office (RDO) assists University of Iowa 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.

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 Education and Training

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

Title: A Trail Guide for Department of Defense Research Funding 
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 5 from 12pm-1pm 
Location: 2520-D University Capitol Centre

Do you want to blaze a trail to obtain Department of Defense (DoD) funding for your research? If so, let Travis Klopfenstein (Business Development Manager, Center for Computer-Aided Design [CCAD]) serve as your trail guide with a presentation on obtaining DoD funding. With a background in higher education, the US Air Force, and Rockwell Collins, Travis brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to campus for capturing DoD funding.


During this information session, a "Trail Guide" will be provided for discovering and capturing research funding from the Department of Defense (DoD). This presentation will describe:

* A "new" contract vehicle dedicated to non-traditional defense contractors like universities: the OTA

* How Defense "Consortiums" work with the OTAs, and why universities are now in a great position

* How the Navy, Air Force, and Army Research Labs are organized, and how to find your counterpart

* The process to winning a contract with DoD


For additional details, please visit:

Space is limited, so registration is encouraged. To register, please visit:


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. 

Session Topics

  • Discuss NIH process and Specific Aims page
  • Specific Aims - Peer Discussion of Aims Documents
  • Significance, Innovation, and Aim #1 - Peer Discussion of Drafts
  • Discuss Supporting Documents
  • Mock Study Section with Peer Panel
  • Responding to Reviewer Comments
  • Mock Study Section with Guest Panel
  • Individual Meetings to discuss Final Revisions

Campus and Community Outreach

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:

September 20: Music Therapy: Helping Teens Cope after Surgery
October 25: Southwestern Archaeology at the University of Iowa
November 15: War and Peace (?) in the Horn of Africa

Stay tuned! Details for the following 2019 dates will be posted as they become available.

February 28: State Hygienic Lab
March 28: Graduate College
April 18: Inequality in Local Schools

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.

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:

Topic: Mental Health Speed Networking: Make the Connection!

Are you interested in reducing the burden faced by many due to mental health concerns? Are you looking for collaborators to explore new dimensions of mental health research? Then the Mental Health Speed Networking event is the answer for you! Speed Networking is designed to help you meet new collaborators and brainstorm novel ideas leading to potential new avenues for your research and funding portfolio. You are invited to participate in the speed networking event to meet others interested in pursuing solutions to this public health crisis on Friday, September 28, 2018, from 2:00 pm-4:30 pm in the Kelch Conference Room (1289 CBRB).

Topic: Opioid Ideas Lab

Are you concerned about the opioid epidemic in Iowa and across our nation? Imagine a rare opportunity to meet and engage with other scholars and researchers from across our campus – economics, public health, policy, history, marketing, liberal arts, anthropology, education, law, medicine, and many more – to envision bold approaches to tackle one of society’s most pressing health crises.

This spring, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED) is hosting an Ideas Lab April 9-11, where attendees will have a special opportunity to address the opioid crisis directly and to explore innovative solutions to this complex problem together. By examining the issue as it’s unfolding in Iowa, and by leveraging the university’s unique research and scholarship expertise, you have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the national effort to combat this epidemic and reverse the deadly trend. During our time together, we’ll draw from a diverse group of minds and disciplines to examine the opioid crisis from novel, creative, blended, and collaborative angles.

Topic: UIMF Speed Networking: Make the Connection!

Does your research involve the potential use or application of the “technologies of the small, miniaturized structures, or devices or thin-films (i.e., nano- or microtechnology)"? Are you looking for collaborators to bring your idea to fruition? Then the University of Iowa Microfabrication Facility (UIMF) Speed Networking event is the answer for you! Speed networking is designed to help you meet new collaborators and brainstorm novel ideas leading to potential new avenues for your research and funding portfolio.


Contact us

Aaron Kline
Aaron Kline

(319) 335-4142
Cheryl Ridgeway
Cheryl Ridgeway

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