The Value of Professional Networking

tricia callahan

Written by Tricia Callahan

For many of us, having a well-established network is important in our personal and professional lives.  At its core, networking is having people with whom you can share.  It’s a two-way process that involves developing and maintaining connections- connections that are mutually beneficial.

Professional networking can be as simple as talking with a colleague down the hall, resource sharing, or picking up the phone to ask a colleague a question.  In a recent poll conducted through the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) Collaborate site, respondents indicated that when they have a work-related question they turned to their office colleagues ~50% of the time, professional colleagues outside the workplace ~10% of the time, and to written guidance ~40% of the time.

While there is a wealth of published resources available to us as research administrators (agency guidance, University guidance, and Uniform Guidance), this survey suggests that when we have a work-related question we primarily turn to our professional network.

The easiest way to maintain and expand our professional career network is to take advantage of professional development opportunities.  For research administrators at CSU, this means coming to RAMAround meetings, posting on the RAMAround listserv, attending Lunch & Learns, and becoming actively involved with professional organizations like NCURA or SRAI.  Fortunately ample opportunities to learn from and engage with our professional counterparts through RAMAround meetings, the RAMAround listserv, and OSP-training opportunities exist.  Additionally, outside of CSU there are a number of way for us to learn from, share with, and connect to others in the field.

The list below highlights organizations and resources that support networking in research administration.  If your department or unit does not have sufficient funds to support your membership in or attendance at training provided by the organizations listed, consider applying for a Professional Development Award from the CSU Administrative Professional Council to support your professional development and to grow your professional network.  Additionally, several of the organizations listed below offer travel awards to their regional and national meetings- be sure to check them out!

NCURA:  The National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) is a member organization of research administration professionals.  The core mission of NCURA is to advance the field and profession of research administration.  As such, it provides publications, training materials, and training opportunities related to all things sponsored research.  Learn more about NCURA here:

In addition to general information and training opportunities, NCURA members have access to a member directory, career center, and communities of interest by topic such as: departmental research administration, global research administration, pre-award administration, post-award administration, compliance, and more.

NORDP:  The National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) is a member organization of research development professionals.  The core mission of NORDP is to support faculty efforts to secure extramural funding and to attract and manage funding.  Highlights from the NORDP blog can be found at

SRA:  The Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International is a member organization of research administration professionals.  The mission of SRA is to provide education, professional development, and comprehensive information about research management through publications, training materials, and training opportunities.  Learn more at

RACC:  The Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC) is an independent non-profit organization which is comprised of active certified research administrators.  Their purpose is to administer a program for the certification of individuals who meet the requirements established by the Council.  The following certifications are currently available:  CRA (Certified Research Administrator), CPRA (Certified Pre-award Research Administrator), and CFRA (Certified Financial Research Administrator).  Learn more at

Blog written by Tricia Callahan, Senior Research Education & Information Officer, Office of Sponsored Programs, Colorado State University

Image from The Science of Networks « Genomic Enterprise Blog; Genomic Enterprise