Dots used to represent data points.

Professional development opportunities for research data management available

If you are among the many researchers who are using the down time created by COVID-19-related curtailment of research for professional development, you might want to check out the data management resources below. The list was compiled by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Associate of American Universities (AAU) as part of an ongoing collaboration on public access to research. The APLU’s Council on Research, which distributed the list, offered special thanks to Utah State University; Lisa Johnston and Jim Wilgenbusch at University of Minnesota; and Cynthia Vitale at Penn State University.

  • Data Management Short Course for Scientists – From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) in cooperation with NOAA and the Data Conservancy.
  • Data Management Training Clearinghouse – A registry for online learning resources focusing on research data management, hosted by ESIP.
  • DataONE Education Modules – DataONE provides several downloadable lessons in PowerPoint format that can be incorporated into teaching materials. Also available are webinars and screencast tutorials.
  • Research Data Management and Sharing – Coursera offers this five-week, introductory-level course [course started April 6]. Enrollment for is free; and optional certificate of completion is available for a $49 fee.
  • Research Data Management: A Primer – Offered by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) this primer covers the basics of research data management.
  • Data Management & Curation – The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations, provides training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community.
  • Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving – Offered by ICPSR.
  • ETD+ Toolkit – Designed by the Educopia Institute for Graduate Students learning how to manage research for theses and dissertations, but useful to anyone involved in research.
  • MANTRA Research Data Management Training – A free online course from the University of Edinburgh for those who manage digital data as part of their research project. Modules include data protection, rights, and access; sharing and licensing; and metadata and curation.
  • Disciplinary RDM Training – Lists discipline-focused training units by RDMTrain. In addition to MANTRA (see above), units focusing on performing arts; archeology and social anthropology; health studies; and psychology are available. Maintained by the Digital Curation Centre of the U.K.

Image by Jisc, used under Creative Commons license.

Bronze sculptures of a person with their ear pressed up against a brick wall, as though listening.

OARS responds to feedback about professional development offerings

Road sign reads "Professional Development"

In February, OARS launched a survey to gather input from the Miami University research community about professional development opportunities. We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated. We also want to let you know what we heard and some of what we’re planning in response.

Proposal writing

Survey findings

Seventy-four percent of the 83 respondents indicated they are or might be interested in professional development related to proposal writing. The strongest interest, as shown in the chart below, was in feedback from peers and experts on specific sections of a proposal.

Bar chart showing responses to question about interest in professional development related to proposal writing: 42 percent yes; 32 percent maybe; 26 percent no. Yes and maybe responses are broken out into additional bar charts. Traditional workshop bar chart: 34 percent yes; 30 percent maybe; 36 percent no. Shut-up-and-write cohort bar chart: 27 percent yes; 35 percent maybe; 37 percent no. Section-focused feedback bar chart: 45 percent yes; 36 percent maybe; 19 percent no.
Interest in professional development related to proposal writing

Breaking things down further, 30% of “yes” and “maybe” respondents expressed interest in the NSF broader impacts section and 24% expressed interest in the NIH specific aims section and budget justifications, respectively.

Bar chart showing interest in section-specific feedback: 45 percent yes; 36 percent maybe; 19 percent no. "Yes" and "maybe" responses are further broken out in a bar chart: 30 percent NSF broader impacts; 24 percent NIH specific aims; 24 percent budget justifications; 18 percent data management plans; other: research design - 1 respondent; crafting hypotheses/research questions - 1 respondent
Proposal sections of interest to respondents who said they are or might be interested in section-specific feedback.

In addition, 64% of respondents indicated they are or might be interested in OARS’ traditional proposal writing workshop, which meets for 90 minutes each week for six weeks. For those respondents, the Summer 2018 term was preferred over Fall 2018 (58% vs. 32%).

OARS plans

NSF broader impacts – OARS will offer a session led by a member of the National Alliance for Broader Impacts, if not this semester, then in the fall.

NIH specific aims – We’ll be inviting an expert to conduct a session within the next year.

Proposal writing workshop – OARS will offer a summer session of the traditional proposal writing workshop, with an emphasis on peer and expert feedback.

Other topics

Survey findings

As for other topics, respondents seem most interested in:

  • Specific funding agencies (47% said “yes” and 32% said “maybe”)
  • How to talk to a program officer (43% said “yes” and 26% said “maybe”)
  • The review process (35% said “yes” and 35% said “maybe”)

NSF, foundations, and NIH were the agencies of greatest interest. In the “other” category, write-in candidates included the Department of Energy (5); and various defense agencies (13).

Bar chart: 22 percent NSF; 20 percent foundations; in decreasing order, with no percentages specified: NIH; DoEd; Other; IES; OH Arts; OH Hum; NEH; NEA
Agencies of interest

Less than half the respondents said they are or might be interested in professional development related to early career programs, applying for NSF supplements, and eSPA/Cayuse.

OARS plans

NSF  – To address both the interest in NSF as a funding agency and the desire for more information about how to talk with a program officer, we will host a session led by Miami faculty who have served as NSF program officers.

eSPA/Cayuse – We will continue to offer eSPA/Cayuse training to accommodate new faculty and staff, but will likely keep it to just once each semester.

Early career faculty – We assume that at least part of the lack of interest in early career programs owes to fewer early career faculty participating in the survey (if for no other reason than that there are just fewer of them on campus!). So we will continue hosting a series of breakfasts for new faculty. These get-to-know you events help us learn more about new faculty members’ work and about how we can best support them in securing external funding. Limited space is available for faculty who started at Miami in 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 to have breakfast with us on one of the following dates (contact me at for more information or to RSVP):

  • Wednesday, April 11, 8-9am in Oxford
  • Thursday, April 26, 8-9am in Middletown*
  • Friday, May 4, 8-9am in Oxford
  • Monday, May 7, 8-9am in Oxford

*We plan to host a breakfast in Hamilton during fall semester.

General opportunities

Survey findings

We asked about interest in three types of general professional development:

  • Brown bag/drop-in, “ask-me-anything” sessions with OARS staff
  • Interdisciplinary round tables
  • Networking for specific interdisciplinary programs

We were a little surprised to find an apparent lack of interest in interdisciplinary round tables, as we have had good showings at past events of this type. When given an opportunity to provide open-ended comments, one respondent said they miss frequent, informal gatherings to discuss research, like there used to be in the “old days,” as opposed to formal interdisciplinary round tables or “speed dating” events. While we don’t have a detailed understanding of this response (few of us were around in the “old days!”), the spirit of it struck a chord with us, and we suspect it captures the sentiment of some of the respondents who said “no” to interdisciplinary round tables.

For the other two types of events, there were a significant number of “maybe” responses, as show in the chart below.

3 bar charts. 1) Brown bag/drop-in "AMA" sessions with OARS staff: 15 percent yes; 54 percent maybe; 31 percent no. Interdisciplinary round tables: 26 percent yes; 28 percent maybe; 46 percent no. Networking for specific interdisciplinary programs: 26 percent yes; 37 percent maybe; 37 percent no.
Interest in general professional development opportunities

It’s possible that this uncertainty stems from unfamiliarity with the format types. It’s fair to say that you don’t know whether you’d want to participate if you don’t know what to expect.

OARS plans

Brown bag sessions – We will initiate a brown bag lunch series, where OARS staff will be on hand to answer ask-me-anything-type questions. We will also incorporate some themes into these sessions, to encourage like-minded faculty to come together and build collaborations. Occasionally, a session may focus on a specific upcoming funding opportunity.

Just the beginning

The plans we’ve listed here are not the end. Rather, they represent a portion of what we’ve planned in response input from you — the Miami research community. Be on the lookout for more information about the opportunities mentioned here, as well as others. And if you have any suggestions for brown bag series topics (or any other professional development!), send them to me at

Written by Amy Hurley Cooper, Assistant Director of Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Listening image by Couleur via Pixabay. Professional development image by R M Media via Creative Commons Images. Both used under Creative Commons license.

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Tricia Callahan achieves CRA, is named to NCURA Executive Leadership Program

Head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman with long brown hair and glasses.
Tricia Callahan, Director of Proposal Development

OARS Director of Proposal Development Tricia Callahan recently added two accomplishments to her résumé.

Earlier this month, Callahan was certified as a professional grants administrator by the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC).

To receive Certified Research Administrator (CRA) designation, Callahan met education and experience requirements and passed an examination administered by RACC.

In addition, Callahan’s commitment to the field of research administration was recognized by the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), which accepted her into its Executive Leadership Program (ELP).

NCURA’s ELP trains selected NCURA members in executive leadership principles, including recognized best practices of volunteer leadership. Callahan was nominated for the ELP based on her longstanding and very active involvement in NCURA.

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CEHS sponsors J-term workshop

Dark grey line drawing on a green background depicts a brain being injected by a syringe.

Miami’s College of Education, Health, & Society (CEHS) recently sponsored a professional development workshop for faculty. Titled “Winning Approaches for IES,” the workshop was facilitated by Burr Zimmerman and Dave Brownstein of Urban Ventures Group, Ltd. (UVG), and was attended by 12 faculty from CEHS and two faculty from the College of Arts & Science.

IES, or the Institute of Education Sciences, is a division of the U.S. Department of Education that funds education research, and is a frequent target for CEHS faculty research proposals. The workshop began with an overview of IES and the research it funds, during which the facilitators emphasized the following:

  • Because IES is very sensitive to the return (i.e., publications) on their research investment, they prefer to fund applicants with a strong research track record and/or publication history. The agency tends to place more emphasis on the researcher than on the research project. Therefore, Zimmerman suggests that prospective applicants without strong research or publication records of their own might increase their likelihood of funding by partnering with a “known” researcher.
  • IES is looking for rigorous, hypothesis-driven research, including fundamental studies that identify the factors that govern education outcomes, developing or improving interventions, assessing existing interventions in specific contexts, or broadly measuring the effectiveness of interventions.
  • IES prefers projects that center on malleable factors under the control of – and able to be changed by – the educational system, including:
    • Student behavior and skills;
    • Teacher practices and credentials;
    • School size, climate, and organization;
    • Educational interventions in practice, curriculum, instructional approach, program, and policy.

Much of Zimmerman and Brownstein’s advice – including recommendations about contacting a program officer prior to submission, carefully reading program guidelines, and tailoring a proposal to a specific funding opportunity – was applicable to anyone seeking grant funding, not just those applying to IES.

In the last hour of the workshop, participants formed small groups to develop research ideas or do hands-on reviews of drafts of proposal sections.

The following Miami resources are relevant to points raised during the workshop:

  • OARS’ Pinterest boards are valuable resource guides for researchers and scholars. Of particular interest to workshop participants – many of whom target NIH funding opportunities in addition to or instead of IES – is the “NIH Resources” board, which includes a link to some full proposals for funded projects.
  • Pivot not only helps Miami’s researchers find funding opportunities, it can also help them locate potential collaborators – those “known” researchers Zimmerman and Brownstein say IES is looking for. For the best results, be sure to create an account and claim your profile. (Pivot is a subscription-based service available to Miami faculty, staff, and students while on campus or connected to Miami’s VPN.)
  • Boilerplate descriptions of Miami and its institutional resources can be copied from the OARS website and tailored to fit a specific funding opportunity
  • Data management plans can be developed using the data management tool provided by University Libraries. Numeric/Spatial Librarian Eric Johnson, in the Libraries’ Center for Digital Scholarship, is also available for consultation.
  • Neal Sullivan and Jennifer Sutton in Research Compliance can answer questions about human subjects research and the IRB.

McGuffey Hall image my Miami University Photo Services.  Brain injection image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.