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New Network Connects, Supports Research Development Staff

Collaborators gathered at a table

Research advancement and development professionals play a key role in helping University of Minnesota research thrive. These experts bring to the table a broad knowledge base and a much-needed set of skills—from identifying funding opportunities to helping to develop grant proposals to bringing together researchers from different disciplines.

A new U of M network will connect research advancement and development professionals to one another and to resources that will help further their success in supporting the research enterprise. The Research Advancement & Development Professionals Network (RADPN) will provide professional development, training, and networking opportunities to assist research development staff in building the U’s capacity to attract external funding, increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness, reducing administrative burden on the faculty, and increasing the U’s competitiveness for major research grants.

RADPN, established earlier this year, is led by a seven-member steering committee with oversight from the U’s Office of the Vice President for Research. The network originated from an earlier effort to spur cross-disciplinary research, known as the Connectors Network, and built upon that framework to become a more formal community of practice with a broader focus on aiding research advancement professionals.

Ellen Freeman, chair of RADPN’s steering committee and associate director of research and policy in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), said she was excited for the network’s potential to connect staff who share a similar role in research advancement and enhance their work.

“Giving a name to this work and helping people realize there's a network they can turn to for ideas and problem-solving will help strengthen research development work at the U of M,” said Freeman, who in her CEHD role helps faculty members and graduate students find and apply for research funding and comply with research regulations. “That will improve the University's ability to compete for large-scale and interdisciplinary research funding.”

RADPN reinforces a key tenet of the U of M research enterprise: promoting a culture of serendipity, where researchers can come together across departments, colleges, and disciplines—and also with colleagues and communities outside the University—to think creatively and cultivate new ideas. The flexibility of such interactions can make it easier to form large-scale, collaborative research teams that involve multiple disciplines and institutions.

Going forward, the network will organize training opportunities, networking events, webinars, and more for research advancement and development professionals.

Join the Network

RADPN is open to anyone who works with the U of M research enterprise. Members of the group are included in online discussions, where they can respond to and ask questions of the network. Members are also invited to attend events and trainings, participate in workgroups, and apply to join the steering committee.

Contact RADPN@umn.edu to join the network or visit the RADPN Events page to learn more about upcoming workshops.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a communications specialist with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

coss@umn.edu

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