December 13, 2017
Funding Connection

From the desk of the VPR
With the semester winding down and the daylight getting shorter, I shift my thoughts to a brief encounter with time on a quiet campus. There is nothing quite like a winter respite in a small town to remind me of my brief interlude with Alexander Pushkin while studying Russian many years ago. No one captured 19th-century Russian culture quite the way Pushkin did.

I admit that I needed to go to a translation (thank you, Walter Arndt, 1984) to share this with you, since my Russian is pretty "plokhoy." As you retire to refresh or seek new inspiration over the holiday break, consider this lyrical excerpt from Pushkin's "In the Country:"

I bid thee welcome, o, sequestered nook,
Refuge of quietude, of toil and inspiration,
Wherein my days meander like an unseen brook,
Sunk in oblivious elation,
I’m thine – I have exchanged those shameful Circe’s yokes,
Luxurious merriment, carousal, dissipation,
For the quiescent fields, the peace of murmurous oaks,
For heedless idleness, the friend of inspiration.

May your holidays be filled with friends, family, and peace. May your travels be safe. May you return from break filled with the excitement to explore new paths, create new things, and share new ideas. May you return to K-State inspired.

— Peter
Events and announcements
  • Join a discussion of the multidisciplinary National Science Foundation Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems, or INFEWS, opportunity on January 24 from 3:30 to 5:00 in Union 227. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Colleges of Engineering, Agriculture, and Arts & Sciences. Find more information and register.

All of us in the Office of the Vice President for Research wish the K-State research community a happy and healthy holiday season. Research Weekly and the Funding Connection will resume on January 10. Please note office closures and special procedures during winter break.

The following units will be closed during the break: The Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, PreAward Services, and the Biotechnology Core Facility.

  • If you have a proposal submission deadline during this period and are unable to finalize the required materials to submit on or before December 22, 2017, contact PreAward Services at 785-532-6804 or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 785-532-6195 prior to December 18, 2017. Arrangements can be made to have adequate staffing available to meet your proposal submission needs. Phone messages left at either number during this period will be monitored. Emails may be sent to Beth Montelone at or Paul Lowe at

  • The Biotechnology Core Facility will be monitoring email if you need to place orders for oligonucleotides during this time

The following offices will remain open during the holiday break except for officially observed state holidays: Biosecurity Research Institute, Comparative Medicine Group, Electronics Design Laboratory, Kansas State University Research Foundation, National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, and University Research Compliance Office. Offices may have limited staff during winter break.
Agency news and trending topics
Since 2012, one number has become synonymous with research administrative burden: 42%. The number comes from the  Federal Demonstration Partnership’s (FDP) Faculty Workload Survey and is the percentage of time faculty reported spending on meeting administrative requirements for federally funded grants. It’s no surprise then that University Research Forum members asked our team to focus on how universities can do a better job minimizing administrative burden for faculty.

Recent policy changes requiring clinical trial applications to be submitted to FOAs that specifically allow clinical trials, first  announced  in fall of 2016, impact how all NIH applicants choose a FOA, whether you are submitting a clinical trial or not. Over the last year, each NIH Institute and Center has been carefully evaluating its research funding priorities and strategic goals and using that information to articulate their funding priorities for clinical trials. They are communicating their priorities through the funding opportunity announcements they issue.

In a nature preserve in western Germany, an elderly gentleman approached a tent-like structure that was in fact a large trap for flying insects. Peering through thick eyeglasses, the 75-year-old retired chemist checked the plastic bottle attached at the top, filled with alcohol and bugs. Then, with a glance at the clear, late-autumn sky, the man, Heinz Schwan, recalled comparing a 2013 haul from a trap like this one to samples taken in the same place some 20 years earlier. The drop was huge: “75 percent,” Mr. Schwan, a caterpillar lover, said.

State Profiles is an interactive website providing access to state-level data on science and engineering (S&E) personnel and finances and state rankings. State Profiles displays up to 7 state profiles of the user’s choice. Data are available from surveys sponsored by the National Science Foundation on employed science, engineering, or health (SEH) doctorate holders; S&E doctorates awarded, including by major S&E fields; SEH graduate students and postdoctorates; federal research and development obligations by agency and performer; total and business R&D expenditures; and higher education R&D performance, including by major S&E fields.

It had scandal written all over it. Disclosed emails revealed that a covert coalition lobbying for relaxed regulations around a genetic extinction technology, with help from a well-funded public relations firm, Emerging Ag, was attempting to game the system and manipulate the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). That was the spin in press releases (see  here here , and  here ) issued last week by several watchdog groups that want a moratorium on research related to gene drives, which could enable bioengineers to increase the odds of passing down genes to offspring. The people in the supposed covert coalition say it’s nothing of the sort, they have no interest in gaming the system, and that their opponents are manipulating the truth. 
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