Development officer catalyzes KU research funding success

A graphic shows Nancy Myers on the right and text boxes on the left that read, "Unsung Hero, Nancy Myers, KU Institute for Policy and Social Research"

Nancy Myers | Research Development Officer | IPSR | September 2019

Ward Lyles cannot imagine having applied for and received the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award for early-career faculty without the support of Nancy Myers.

“Her expertise, skills, encouragement and full array of talents and personality were invaluable every step of the way,” said Lyles, an associate professor of urban planning who won a five-year, $500,000 NSF CAREER award in 2018. “From the outset, she gave generously of her time and insights to help me craft the proposal.”

Multiply that sentiment over the 800-plus proposals that Myers has coordinated or supervised as grant development officer at the Institute for Policy & Social Research, and the magnitude of her positive impact on the University of Kansas research community starts to become clear.

During 19 years at IPSR, Myers has helped grow the center’s client base from fewer than 10 to more than 150 affiliates in a wide range of disciplines, including business, law, education, journalism and the social sciences. She and her team have helped secure over $40 million in grants and contract funding for KU investigators exploring social problems and policy-relevant questions.

What drives those impressive quantitative results, according to colleagues, is Myers’ qualitative excellence.

“Nancy brings excitement and energy to the workplace, which is undoubtedly a factor in her success and the success of faculty she supports,” a co-worker said. “In a job with tight deadlines and a need for the highest quality work that requires deep collaboration with diverse faculty, she and her team have achieved what is hardest to achieve: calm, high-level performance.”  

Lyles noted that Myers’ professionalism and commitment elevate KU’s reputation beyond campus borders: “Colleagues from other institutions – some with much bigger research infrastructures – have made a point of telling me how impressive IPSR, and Nancy, are.”