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.

  • Pivot Administrative Privileges:  As of August 15 2019, access to Pivot administrative privileges can be requested for supervisor and RDO approval through Universal Workflow.  Administrative privileges will allow staff to help researchers identify funding opportunities, edit profiles, and connect with potential collaborators. To request administrative privileges, please complete the Universal Workflow request form (Note: a brief business justification for each selected option must be provided in order to be approved). 
  • Additional Resources

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.

Open Grants

Open Grants is a free resource started in 2012 that currently contains 202 examples of both funded and unfunded proposals from various agencies to serve as examples to researchers. 

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

Pivot Training Sessions

Please join us for a training session featuring best practices for utilizing Pivot features. Open to all faculty and staff, you will have the opportunity to work hands-on within the system to learn the functionality of searching and saving funding opportunities, finding potential collaborators, creating newsletters, and much more. Staff from the Research Development Office and Division of Sponsored Programs will lead the session as well as be available to answer questions.

Sessions are available from 2:00-3:00 PM in 2523 UCC on the following dates:

Wednesday, October 9- currently full
Wednesday, November 13
Wednesday, December 11

Space is limited to 16 registrants per session. Register here.

Pivot Best Practices Webinar

Eddie Neuwirth, Sr. Director of Product Management for Pivot, hosted a webinar for UI staff on Wednesday, July 31 to provide an overview of database features and best practices for integrating Pivot into your work activities.  A link to the webinar recording may be accessed here.  Please Note:  You must hit play in order to start the recording.

UI Grant Writing Seminars: Write Winning Grant Proposals

The RDO in collaboration with the Carver College of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, is pleased to announce that Dr. John Robertson from Grant Writer's Seminars & Workshops will conduct the Write Winning Grant Proposals seminar on Friday, October 25, 2019. This all-day presentation is the cornerstone of the Grant Writers' Seminars & Workshops (GWSW) seminar programs. It comprehensively addresses both practical and conceptual aspects that are important to writing competitive grant proposals. It is appropriate for faculty members, postdoctoral researchers and administrative staff who have had some exposure to writing grant applications, either through training / mentoring or personal experience.

Date: Friday, October 25, 2019
Deadline to register: Friday, October 4, 2019 (close of business)
Time: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (Registration opens at 7:45 AM)
Place: Hilton Garden Inn, Iowa City (328 S. Clinton Street)
Cost: $150 (includes supplemental materials and lunch)
Seminar Agenda 

Registration: Sign-in and register using your HawkID and password here.

Campus and Community Outreach

UI Research Services Fair

Join us for the second annual University of Iowa Research Services Fair on Thursday, October 10 from 1-6:30pm at Hancher AuditoriumThe Research Services Fair (RSF) is a vendor-style fair that provides an opportunity for researchers to learn about campus resources and services available for their research and scholarship activities.  The Fall 2019 RSF will expand from the previous fair by hosting over 70 campus units to share how their services can enhance researcher activities.

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 2019-2020: October 10, November 14, February 20, March 26, and April 23.

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.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Speed Networking

Are you looking for collaborators to explore applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in your research? Are you currently conducting AI/ML research and looking for applications of your research? Then join AI/ML researchers who are members of the Iowa Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (IIAI) at the AI/ML Speed Networking event to explore the possibilities! 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 a speed networking event to meet others interested in utilizing AI/ML on Friday, October 18 from 2pm-4:30pm in 104 IATL.

Please visit the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Speed Networking webpage for additional information and to register for the event.

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 KlineAaron Kline
(319) 335-4142
  Cheryl RidgewayCheryl Ridgeway
(319) 384-3332
Brittany Ryan
Britt Ryan
(319) 335-9575