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Long-time ASU staff member appointed to national professional organization board of directors

view from above of people mingling at event

Faye Farmer's work includes bringing faculty and staff together to increase the number of competitive proposals for research funding, which includes designing events, gathering competitive intelligence, providing proposal management and managing the university’s limited submissions process.

October 30, 2019

Faye Farmer, executive director of Research Development in Knowledge Enterprise, has been elected to the board of directors for the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP). She is serving a four-year term that started July 1, 2019.

Farmer founded Research Development at ASU, within Knowledge Enterprise, in 2015. Today she manages a staff of 10, who work across all four campuses to advance the agendas of individual faculty members and teams. The group’s work involves bringing faculty and staff together to increase the number of competitive proposals for research funding, which includes designing events, gathering competitive intelligence, providing proposal management and managing the university’s limited submissions process. 

“Faye and her team, as well as all of our research development professionals at ASU, are part of an essential network for faculty success,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, chief research and innovation officer and executive vice president of the Knowledge Enterprise at ASU. “I am proud of her election to this national leadership position. She is fully committed to growing our research enterprise, while also being able to contribute to a national conversation on the importance of academic research.”  

In 2018, Research Development supported over $700M in proposals, white papers and concept notes to federal and philanthropic organizations from across ASU. Every fall, Research Development hosts a series of hourlong presentations that serve as a general introduction to proposal development best practices. Additional events during the year develop a community of practice around successful faculty experiences, often focusing on a single sponsor agency or program. (To find information on this office, visit

“Research development is a growing field that attracts individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, education and experiences," said Cynthia Sagers, vice president of research at Knowledge Enterprise at ASU. "We are seeing more and more emphasis on understanding research development practices to enhance research activities in more efficient and elaborate ways.

“In many ways, ASU has set the standard nationally for research development, which is reflected by the number of faculty and staff who are in roles that support research across all of our campus locations at ASU,” Sagers said.

Born and raised 2 miles from the Tempe campus, Farmer’s father was professor of mathematics at ASU for 36 years. Her mother received her master’s degree in 1999 from ASU. Farmer received her master’s degree in plant biology from the School of Life Sciences at ASU in 2003; after which, she joined the staff of the School of Life Sciences. Subsequently, she worked for the Biodesign Institute, and has been with Knowledge Enterprise since 2011.

“Arizona State University enjoys a national reputation for research achievements. This is due entirely to our faculty and students. As a board member (of NORDP), I aim to see that ASU plays a prominent role in a national network of individuals and institutions working collectively to advance academic research,” Farmer said. “I have been involved with ASU, in one way or another, for most of my life. I have been able to witness its most recent transformation into an impressive organization that clearly embraces its charter. My service on the NORDP board is an extension of my work here.” 

Research development involves developing nascent ideas into viable proposals for funding using a variety of tools and expertise. According to NORDP, “Research Development encompasses a set of strategic, catalytic and capacity-building activities that advance research, especially in higher education. Research Development professionals help researchers become more successful communicators, grant writers and advocates for their research. They help researchers bring new ideas to life.”

NORDP was established in 2010. Membership in NORDP has grown from a grassroots movement of 60 individuals to nearly 1,000 members today. The membership reflects organizational leaders in research, including vice presidents of research, as well as professionals involved in grant proposal preparation. NORDP serves as the preeminent professional organization for individuals and organizations seeking to improve their competitive edge by enabling competitive individual and team research and facilitating research excellence.

Get more information about NORDP activities and members.

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