February 21, 2018
Funding Connection

ORSP opportunities
The Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of Governmental Relations have partnered to engage a Washington, D.C. consulting firm that serves a variety of higher education and other clients. The firm, McAllister & Quinn (M&Q), offers expertise in federal government relations and a deep familiarity with multiple federal funding agencies. The goal of the relationship is to assist K-State in supporting, expanding, and diversifying our research activities.

Among the services that M&Q provides are:
  1. Advance notification of federal funding opportunities and trends;
  2. Assistance with developing competitive white papers and proposals in advance of announcements of competitions;
  3. Advice on technology commercialization strategies;
  4. Engagement with funding agencies and other partners; and
  5. Extensive grant support for selected large, interdisciplinary, or multi-user proposals.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is the liaison for the M&Q partnership. We participate in monthly conference calls during which M&Q staff members highlight recent funding opportunities and new developments as well as provide status reports on current partnership projects. We announce training webinars conducted by M&Q staff as well as calls for concept proposals in Research Weekly. Webinars to date have addressed the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives Program. A forthcoming webinar will cover DoD young investigator programs .

There have so far been two calls for concept proposals. These proposals should be for large collaborative, multi-investigator projects that M&Q will review to identify possible funding agencies and evaluate in terms of their likelihood of being competitive for funding. From the concept proposals reviewed to date, one has been selected for facilitation by M&Q.

Another service being provided by M&Q is assistance with setting up funding agency visits for early career faculty during the April trip to Washington, D.C. One of their areas of expertise is in establishing connections and building relationships for the university and for individual faculty members.

Keep watching Research Weekly for additional opportunities being made possible by or supported by M&Q!

— Beth Montelone, senior associate vice president for research
Events and announcements
  • The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine will offer a Human Genome Editing webinar on February 22 at 1:30 ET (12:30 CST). Find more information and register.

  • K-State Olathe is offering "Ensuring Data Quality in Animal Health Studies" as part of an ongoing seminar series on regulatory affairs in animal health. The seminar is March 5 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Find more information and register.

  • 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.

  • The K-State Center of Excellence for Comparative and Translational Oncology Research, in collaboration with the Johnson Cancer Research Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine, invites you to their inaugural continuing education symposium Saturday, March 17 at the Union. Find more information and register.

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will host 2018 SciComm, a conference dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication of science to diverse audiences – including students of all levels as well as the general public – across all venues. The event is March 23-25. Find more information and register.
KSCI update
The Kansas Science Communication Initiative has formed working groups, and meetings are on the calendar! KSCI seeks to engage communities in understanding, enthusiastically promoting, and actively participating in science and research.

Participate in one of several ways.

  • Attend a working group meeting!

  • The student working group meets Thursday, February 22 at 4:30 p.m. in the Bluestem Bistro meeting room. Graduate and undergraduate students welcome! Bring your ideas for a brainstorming session.
  • The internal outreach and professional development working group meets February 27 at 4:30 p.m. at Arrow Coffee. We'll talk about developing resources for K-State and the community, hosting a spring research colloquium, and more.
  • The public events working group meets March 1 at 3:30 p.m. at the Beach Museum of Art studio classroom (across the arch from the office and main entrance—look for a sign!). We'll discuss Open House, the Kansas State Fair, Science Communication Week, and more!
  • The formal scicomm education and grants working group has not yet set a meeting time, but look for more information soon!

  • Send science communication-related events to ksscicomm@k-state.edu so we can list them on our KSCI calendar (see link below) and help promote them on social media.

Agency news and trending topics
When professors advise early-career academics on grant writing, we often focus on the common mistakes and pitfalls. But up-and-coming researchers don’t just need advice on  what not to do . They need to know what goes into a successful grant proposal, too. I have some suggestions on that front — that I have gleaned from teaching grant writing for 20 years, and being continually funded by the National Institutes of Health as a principal investigator. Here, then, are my top 10 tips on how to draft a grant proposal that has the best odds of getting funded.

The Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association typically have their annual meetings around the same time each year, in different cities. In 2019, they’ll both take place from Jan. 3-6 in Chicago. To promote what they’re calling “interdisciplinary collaboration,” the associations will honor each other’s attendee badges. They’re also asking members to  propose  some dual sessions. James Grossman, executive director of the AHA, called the timing and location of the conferences a “fortunate coincidence.”

Some scientists might be surprised by piece of good news buried in  Science and Engineering Indicators , a massive report released by the U.S. National Science Board last month. Overwhelmingly, surveys showed, Americans think that science is a good thing. Since 1979, surveys have shown that roughly 7 in 10 Americans believe the effects of scientific research are more positive than negative for society. Yesterday, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which publishes Science, communications expert John Besley of Michigan State University in East Lansing, talked to attendees about why trust in science remains high—and why so many scientists think otherwise.  Find more coverage of AAAS.

With due respect to Fleming, microbiologist Sean Brady thinks it's time to shift tactics. Instead of growing antibiotics in a petri dish, he hopes to find them in the ground.

A competition for radical ideas in the fight against blindness will move to its next phase by challenging participants to build functioning human retina prototypes. The National Eye Institute (NEI) 3-D Retina Organoid Challenge (NEI 3-D ROC 2020) is a $1-million federal prize competition designed to generate lab-grown human retinas from stem cells. Organoids developed for the competition will mimic the structure, organization, and function of the human retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

Proposals are certainly not the only messages that scientists have smuggled into their academic acknowledgements. Funding agencies have been ‘thanked’ for steering research by refusing previous applications, and scolded for not paying their bills. Sports fans have slipped in references to favourite teams, and imaginary people have been credited to pay homage to popular culture, such as  The Simpsons TV  show and, in one case, the thrash-metal band Slayer.
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