PEERD Experts

Karen EckKaren Eck

Karen Eck, PhD, is Assistant Vice President for Research at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.  She interfaces with internal and external entities in support of research development and policy, research strategic planning and partnerships, and regional and other initiatives on behalf of the Office of Research. Dr. Eck joined ODU as Director of Research Development and managed a team of 6 grant development professionals from 2009-2015 with oversight of intramural funding programs, limited submissions, faculty workshops, and proposal support functions for faculty and administrators across ODU's six colleges. She served on the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) Board of Directors from 2015-2019, as President in 2018-2019, Immediate Past President in 2019-2020 and currently co-chairs the Strategic Alliances Committee and International Working Group. Prior to joining ODU, Dr. Eck was the biomedical Grants Officer at McGill University in the Office of the Vice-Principal for Research and International Relations in Montreal, Canada. She has presented numerous talks and workshops on grant writing, research development, peer review, team science and foundation funding, including developing a webinar series on the National Institutes of Health for the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA).  Dr. Eck is fluent in French and English and studied and worked in a French-speaking environment for over 10 years.

Past Experience

Dr. Eck has been involved in research development (RD) at two institutions (McGill University and Old Dominion University) since 2005 and in a leadership role in RD since 2010. She has been speaking at national conferences in the US and Canada since she began her career in RD. She has also developed and presented faculty/stakeholder workshops on a myriad of topics including team science, the peer review process, foundation funding, and grant writing for DoD, NSF, NIH, the humanities, and large team grants. She has led successful large-scale initiatives, such as a $120.5 million HUD grant awarded to the City of Norfolk and Commonwealth of Virginia in 2016. This award allowed for community resilience and re-development programs and a $5 million non-profit recurrent flooding and economic resilience incubator, RISE Resilience Innovations, in the City of Norfolk. She has also been involved with many research and training grants such as NSF ADVANCE, NSF CAREER awards, PIRE, S-STEM, Fulbright Scholar Awards, NIH MARC-USTAR, etc.

Dr. Eck has contributed to four broad strategic planning processes: ODU University Strategic Planning Committee 2014-2019 & 2020-2025, ODU University Libraries Strategic Planning in 2014, and developing the first 5-year ODU Research Strategic Plan in 2015. These experiences required internal and external data analysis such as institutional grant expenditures, faculty and student demographic data, COACHE survey data, NSF HERD data analysis and IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System).

NORDP Involvement

Dr. Eck has been a member of NORDP since 2010 and was elected to the Board of Directors (2015-2019) in the first NORDP election in 2015. She served as a conference co-chair two years in a row (2016-2018), Vice President in 2017-2018, President in 2018-2019, Immediate Past President in 2019-2020, and now as Co-chair of the Strategic Alliances Committee and organizer of the International Working Group. She was also a member of the Facilitating Collaboration Working Group (2012-2013), Chair of the Enhancing Research Collaboration subcommittee (2013-2015) and a Mentor in the NORDP Mentoring Program (2014-2020). Last year, Dr. Eck was a Co-Principal Investigator on the NORDP 2020 Salary Survey. She is also the NORDP Liaison to INORMS (International Network of Research Management Societies) Council.


Dr. Eck holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Experimental Psychology (Cognitive) from Kent State University and a B.A. in Psychology and French from Indiana University. She did her Post-doc in Psycholinguistics/Neurolinguistics for the Mental Lexicon Research Project at McGill University and Université de Montréal (joint appointment).