About Research Development

Our Mission: Promote a culture of research and scholarly excellence characterized by creativity, collaboration, and capacity-building in service to faculty, staff, and students at the University of South Alabama.


▼   Communications: Telling the Story of Research

A university can do groundbreaking research, but the significance of that research is lost if it is not communicated effectively.

Traditionally, sharing news about research has included communicating to other academics within a field via publications and conferences; to funding organizations; and to university administration for purposes of promotion and tenure.

However, successful research communication also needs to reach a broader audience that includes the general public, corporate partners, philanthropic donors, and lawmakers. We need to tell the story of the "who" and "why" behind the research, in addition to the "what," so the significance of research activity to the local and regional community, and economic impacts of that research, can be easily understood.

discovered@South with compass roseGood research communication builds name recognition for the institution, as well as helping to attract and retrain top faculty, students, and research partners.

As part of the activities central to RCDL, we help faculty communicate effectively to funding organizations, but we also work to reach a broader audience. In 2018, in cooperation with the USA Office of Marketing and Communications, we launched discovered@South, a quarterly newsletter highlighting research and scholarly innovation at the University of South Alabama. 

We welcome your submissions of research news.

You can subscribe on the Office of Research and Economic Development home page.

▼   Development: Helping the Enterprise Grow Through Faculty Research Success

Many people are familiar with Research Administration, which is frequently associated with the nuts and bolts of proposal submission, policy, compliance issues, and non-financial post-award management. Research Development activities are, in contrast, more esoteric and when successfully deployed are seamlessly integrated with research administration activities.

Research development is about building a competitive, sustainable research enterprise by helping faculty lay the groundwork for research success. Research development activities focus on people and ideas, program- and capacity-building, strategic thinking, and fostering collaboration.

At USA, institutional research development activity is centralized in RCDL. Research administration is performed by sister offices including (but not limited to) the Office of Sponsored Projects, the Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting, and research administration colleagues at the college/unit level.

▼   Learning: Opportunities to Empower

RCDL is charged with delivering training and professional development activities to empower ​faculty and staff ​with​ the knowledge to support a competitive research environment.

In addition, RCDL promotes high-touch, individualized capacity building through mentored learning opportunities targeted towards proposal writing, budget building and the “practice of process,” all of which contribute to the development of informed and resilient scholars and researchers. 

▼   Professional Development Organizations

National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP)

NORDP is the premier organization for everyone working strategically to support research excellence. This robust, national peer network of research development professionals enhances competitive multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research.

The Society of Research Administrators International (SRA International)

SRA International is the premier global research management society providing education, professional development and the latest comprehensive information about research management to over 5,000 members from over 40 countries.


The broad spectrum of Research Development activities make the office a positive change-agent, capacity-builder and ambassador in the following areas:


discovered@South e-newsletter
ResearchAdmin@South e-newsletter
Funding opportunity awareness
Targeted opportunity distribution
Expertise mapping and super clustering
Raise USA profile at the local, state, and national levels

Build icon DEVELOPMENT Faculty development programs
Comprehensive proposal development and project management
Limited submissions management
Cost-share / matching / leverage
Institutional support
Resource brokering
Strategic program development
School icon LEARNING Capacity building (process and policy)
Research administration professional development programs
Targeted, agency-specific proposal development programs
Research Education and Learning Portal development