On May 9, 2017, UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research & Executive Director for UCLA Grand Challenges Michelle Popowitz, JD, MPH, and Director of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge Casandra Rauser, PhD, participated in a panel at the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) conference in Boulder. The conference, themed “Creating Excellence through Strategic Research Development”, focused on ways in which strategic deployment of research development professionals and techniques elevates the chance of success in endeavors such as research, scholarship, and creative artistry.
As the first campus to explore campus-wide, goal oriented grand challenges, there was a lot of interest in learning from Michelle and Cassie’s experiences in this session titled, “The Marathon that Feels Like a Sprint: Executing Successful ‘Grand Challenge’ Initiatives.” They were joined on the panel by Cristin Dorgelo, Former Chief of Staff for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy who was the former OSTP Assistant Director for Grand Challenges and Jennifer Lyon Gardner, PhD, CRA, of the University of Texas at Austin, who is leading the effort on her campus to identify their first Grand Challenge.
Attendees learned tactical advice through this panel discussion, which touched on identifying grand challenge topics or questions, cultivating growth of this topic to a grand scale, fostering support and momentum, creating a path to solutions, maintaining trust and transparency, and providing support needed to achieve the challenge’s goals. A lot to cover in one session.
While UCLA was alone in the field when Michelle Popowitz and Jill Sweitzer, Co-Director for UCLA Grand Challenges, started the UCLA program as a pilot in 2012, it was clear from the questions and subsequent discussion among attendees that many other universities are now exploring their own Grand Challenge programs.
Read more about NORDP.
For more information about Grand Challenges at NORDP, see our previous posts:
Michelle Popowitz, Casandra Rauser and Marjorie Duske present at NORDP 01 May 2015, UCLA Grand Challenges Happenings
Cristin Dorgelo, Michelle Popowitz, Stacy Esposito, and Amy Hawkins present at the 2014 NORDP Conference 20 May 2014, UCLA Grand Challenges Happenings