February 14, 2018
Funding Connection

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center is offering Faculty Fellowships for qualified STEM faculty to conduct research with NASA colleagues during a 10-week residential program in Huntsville, Alabama.
  • The NASA Early Career Faculty Program seeks proposals from outstanding early-career faculty to investigate unique, disruptive, or transformational space technologies associated with space flight hardware or missions.
  • Read more of this week's featured opportunities
Global Food Systems innovation
A tremendous number of new technologies are developed at K-State. The Kansas State University Research Foundation, or KSURF, receives more than 70 invention disclosures every year. K-State researchers from all disciplines are identifying needs and developing new technology solutions to fulfill those needs.

Because K-State is a land-grant institution, you might guess correctly that food- and agricultural-related intellectual property makes up the majority of invention disclosures. In the past five years, KSURF has received more than 140 invention disclosures related to Global Food Systems. These invention disclosures have led to the filing of 62 new patent and 13 plant variety protection certificate applications. Food- and agricultural-related invention disclosures have led to 48 licensing deals, which is more than 60% of all current licensing for K-State invention disclosures.

Another Global Food Systems success: Paul Seib, one of K-State’s most prolific inventors, will be honored in April by the National Academy of Inventors. Seib is professor emeritus of grain science and industry and is a named inventor on 22 patents. Although only a few of his 22 patents led to licensing deals, the patents that were licensed are responsible for more than $10 million in licensing revenue. Read more about Seib's work.

We are pleased to see Seib's many amazing accomplishment honored and hope to see more K-State inventors on the National Academy of Inventors fellows list in the future.

Find out how you can disclose your inventions by visiting us online or by contacting KSURF anytime with questions at Tech.Transfer@ksu.edu or 785-532-5720.

— Chris Brandt, president and CEO of KSURF
Events and announcements
  • The University of Kansas Office of Research invites nominations for the 2018 Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. Nominations must be received by April 2, 2018. Awards are available in humanities and social sciences, basic sciences, biomedical sciences, and applied sciences. Find more information.

  • Travel awards are available for undergraduate and graduate students to attend the 2018 SciComm Conference at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln March 23-25. Applications for the $350 awards are due February 21. Ten awards are available. Find more information and apply.

  • The Office of the Vice President for Research is hosting a viewing location for a webinar series about creating university-industry relationships. The sessions are every other Wednesday from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. Find the details, but please note that locations have changed. The February 21 session is in the K-State Student Union Bluemont Room, and other sessions are in the Wildcat Chamber (formerly Little Theatre).

  • Proposals for Faculty Development Awards and University Small Research Grants are due March 5. An information session about the application and review process is February 21 at 3:30 p.m. in Union 207. Find more information.

  • Need to polish communication skills? Register for an Improv for Researchers workshop on March 6 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in 117 West Stadium. Find more information and register.
Working with NEH
The Chapman Center for Rural Studies recently received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help Kansas museums and historical societies with professional planning in collections, preservation, and programming. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, executive director of the center and professor of history, shared the following tips about developing a successful NEH funding proposal.

  • Don't work alone! Engage the assistance of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. "Beth Montelone was fantastic! She recognized the potential for our center to do the grant and helped us connect with the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Mary Lou Marino helped me fill out the proposal, and PreAward Services was fabulous! Without them, I could never have gotten this done — without their encouragement and help with the budget, I couldn't have turned it in," Lynn-Sherow said.

  • Ask questions. "Ask research office staff what's coming across their desks in terms of opportunities, and ask who else has received grants so you have people to talk to about their experience. Everyone has all this experience! Also be sure to get help reviewing the proposal before sending it it," Lynn-Sherow said.

  • Contact program officers. "Program officers at agencies are eager to talk to potential grantees/PIs and guide them through the process. K-State brought an NEH program officer to campus in 2016, and I talked to him and was able to put a name to a face. Having a contact in D.C. makes all the difference! I also dropped in to see him when I was in D.C. later to do research," Lynn-Sherow said.

Contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 785-532-6195.
Agency news and trending topics
Funding for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health would hold steady after Congress agrees to lift spending caps, but details are fuzzy.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, announced a new set of measures to combat sexual harassment by people working on the projects it funds. The steps may include suspending or eliminating research grants after an institution finds that a grantee committed harassment.

Accepting tobacco money for research was widely seen as acceptable until the 1990s. But revelations about the way the industry hid data on the risks of smoking from the public and used science to sow confusion and doubt made such funding increasingly taboo for academics. Many universities now shun direct industry funding, and some journals no longer publish tobacco-funded research. Major funders such as the Wellcome Trust and Bloomberg Philanthropies bar their grant recipients from also accepting tobacco money.

For the purposes of the R&D Blueprint, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a special tool for determining which diseases and pathogens to prioritize for research and development in public health emergency contexts. This tool seeks to identify those diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures. 

Scientific journals should start routinely publishing the text of peer reviews for each paper they accept, said attendees at a meeting last week of scientists, academic publishers, and funding organizations. But there was little consensus on whether reviewers should have to publicly sign their critiques, which traditionally are accessible only to editors and authors.

The highbrow war on science continues to this day, with flak not just from fossil-fuel-funded politicians and religious fundamentalists but also from our most adored intellectuals and in our most august institutions of higher learning. Magazines that are ostensibly dedicated to ideas confine themselves to those arising in politics and the arts, with scant attention to new ideas emerging from science, with the exception of politicized issues like climate change (and regular attacks on a sin called "scientism"). Just as pernicious is the treatment of science in the liberal-arts curricula of many universities. Students can graduate with only a trifling exposure to science, and what they do learn is often designed to poison them against it.
Have suggestions for future issues? Email researchweekly@k-state.edu
Miss an issue? Visit our archives