August 22, 2018
Funding Connection

Welcome back!
It’s a new academic year — welcome back! 

I’m a child of the 60s and 70s, so that particular phrase makes me think of a TV show that became the launch pad for actor John Travolta:  Welcome back, Kotter,  in 1975. Travolta’s mother and aunt were friends of my aunt in Westwood, N.J., and I had a chance to meet the family while growing up in New Jersey. That was also the decade of Saturday Night Fever  and  Grease . "Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back."

Welcome to a new semester, a new academic year, and some new initiatives from our offices aimed at facilitating your research programs.   You’ve already heard from Beth Montelone that we’ve renamed our projects and grants office to reflect the proposal development work they are doing: the Office of Research Development, or ORD.

We will be taking our working with industry short programs on the road this year, helping faculty and staff understand how to develop and nurture industry research. We want to help you identify potential partners who may be interested in supporting your research ideas and connect students with internship and employment opportunities.

We will be sharing more news in the coming weeks, so be sure to read Research Weekly when it hits your in-box on Wednesdays — or find it in K-State Today on Thursdays. We will be updating our subscriber lists to add new faculty, graduate students, and research staff after the first full pay period of the semester, but anyone can subscribe by opening a newsletter in our archive and clicking "Join Email List" in the upper right corner.

If you don’t remember the TV show, Mr. Kotter came back to his old high school stomping grounds to make difference in the lives of young people through his gift of teaching. There were plenty of challenges, but he did help improve their lives through education. 

Each semester, we have an opportunity to improve the lives of our students and all Kansans with what we do in our tripartite mission: teaching, research, and service.  Welcome back to campus, and if you are new in town, welcome to the K-State family. Our office is here to help you be outstanding as a scholar, researcher, and mentor. We look forward to serving you.

“We always could spot a friend, welcome back. Back here where we need ya, welcome back."

— Peter
Events and announcements
  • A CV/Résumé Writing Workshop will be offered to postdocs and graduate students on August 30, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Union Bluemont Room. Hear K-State and outside experts present on formatting successful documents for industry, government, and academic jobs. Bring your drafts for discussion! Please register.

  • Mark your calendar for upcoming training events from the Office of Research Development
  • An information session on internal grant programs is slated for September 5, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Union 207. Hear about the submission and review process for Faculty Development Award and University Small Research Grant programs. 
  • A session on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is September 11, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 207. Take an in-depth look at the requirements, plus hear from faculty who have served on review panels and awardees who will talk about their experience. Please register.
  • Hear about Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, opportunities September 13, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Union 206. This session will give a general overview of the agency and its six technical offices, provide information about the Young Faculty Award, provide examples of current solicitations, and more. Please register.
  • Identifying Graduate Fellowship Opportunities on September 27 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 207 will discuss key opportunities from a range of agencies, including fellowships in the humanities and social sciences. Please register.

  • A Biosecurity Research Institute Research Fellows Lecture will be delivered by Professor Friedemann Weber of Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, on September 6, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., in 1004 Pat Roberts Hall. Weber will present “Induction and Suppression of the Interferon Response by Segmented Negative-Strand RNA Viruses.” Find more BRI news and events.

  • The National Council of University Research Administrators, or NCURA, offered NSF and NIH updates at the organization’s recent annual meeting. Find videos of the updates and view slides from the presentations (NSF slides and NIH slides). 

  • Attend a BioKansas Women in Science lunch, panel discussion, and networking session October 9 at the K-State Alumni Center from 11:30 to 1:30. Space is limited. Find more information and register. 
Agency news and trending topics
The world's most widely planted cereal has also proved to be among the hardest to improve. Plant breeders vastly increased wheat yields during the Green Revolution of the 1960s, but since then efforts to improve the crop through traditional breeding or genetic technology have been painstakingly slow because of the fiendish complexity of its genome. Thanks to a decadelong effort, the wheat genome has finally come into sharp focus, speeding the search for genes that could boost harvests and even make wheat less likely to trigger allergies. The data, described this week in  Science , represent the   long-awaited culmination of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, a massive collaboration of academic and industry researchers from 20 countries. 
 
The Agriculture Department continues its aggressive reorganization efforts with Secretary Sonny Perdue announcing plans … to move two sub-agencies out of the Washington, D.C. metro area.... USDA says there are three main reasons for moving [the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture] outside of D.C.:
  1. To improve USDA’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified staff with training and interests in agriculture, many of whom come from land-grant universities. USDA says it has experienced significant turnover in these positions, and it has been difficult to recruit employees to the Washington, D.C. area.
  2. To place these important USDA resources closer to many of stakeholders, most of whom live and work far from the Washington, D.C. area.
  3. To benefit the American taxpayers. There will be significant savings on employment costs and rent, which will allow more employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets.
ERS includes about 330 social scientists and support staff and has an annual budget of about $85 million. NIFA, which Congress created in the 2008 Farm Bill, includes about 350 employees and an annual budget of more than $1.5 billion in 2017.

International grantmaking by U.S. foundations jumped 29 percent, from $7.2 billion to a record $9.3 billion, between 2011 and 2015, a report from the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center finds. Based on grants data from a thousand of the largest U.S. foundations, the report,  The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations  (19 pages, PDF), found that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation accounted for 50.7 percent of total international grantmaking during the five-year period, or $17.9 billion — $6.5 billion of which supported projects in sub-Saharan Africa. That region received 25.4 percent ($9 billion) of all international giving by the foundations in the study, followed by Asia and the Pacific (18.7 percent, $6.6 billion) and Latin America and the Caribbean (7.7 percent, $2.7 billion).
 
Vaccinations have begun in a first-in-human trial of an experimental live, attenuated Zika virus vaccine developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. 
 
According to a  new survey   from the University of Michigan, a stunning 88 percent of American adults — some 216 million people — watched the “Great American Eclipse” in person or electronically. This estimated audience, based on a national probability sample of 2,915 people over 18, was greater than that for the 1969 Apollo 11 landing and each Super Bowl since the contest began. (A 1999 poll found that 7 out of 10 Americans who were age five or older on the day of the moon landing recalled watching the event on television. The most-watched Super Bowl, in 2015, had about 114 million viewers).
 
A major higher education research journal is suspending submissions to clear out a two-year backlog. Some see this case pointing to broad problems in academic publishing, such as the unwillingness of many scholars to review papers.
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