When and how did you enter the field? What kind of RD work do you do?
I learned to write proposals to fund my graduate research in evolutionary biology, and after graduating, I shifted directly into a career at Indiana University in research development, initially as a one-person shop providing proposal support to my graduate department. When the VP for Research created a central team to support strategic proposals and faculty development, I joined the team as a research development specialist with a specialty in complex, team-based proposals. I eventually served as director of that team for a couple years, while also still working with teams developing proposals.
When one of those teams earned a 5-year internal “Grand Challenge” award, I accepted the position of assistant director for the initiative, which I still hold. Although less connected to proposal work in this role, I have had the privilege to experience the next phase of the grant process, helping a group of researchers implement their proposed plans to launch a “grand challenge” initiative, which has honed my skills as an administrator, and has given me valuable insight into the ways in which the articulation of a proposal’s project plan can impact post-award implementation. I have also been an active participant in the growing RD community of practice surrounding university-led Grand Challenges and other audacious research initiatives.