January 23, 2019
Funding Connection

ORD Opportunities: Internal grant programs
K-State faculty, it is time once again to think about applying for our internal small grants programs .

Faculty members with the rank of assistant professor and above may request support for their research and scholarly activities and professional development. To be eligible, faculty members must have at least some percentage of their appointment devoted to research. These are peer-reviewed, competitive programs that are intended not only to provide funding but also to familiarize early career faculty without previous grant proposal experience with the process of applying for research funding.

The President's Faculty Development Awards, or FDA, program is primarily known for providing support for travel to international meetings to present research. A relatively little-known option of the FDA program is funding for travel to meet with program officers from potential external sponsors.

The University Small Research Grants, or USRG, program is a "seed" grant program to support early-stage research, scholarly activity, and other creative efforts. It is often used as a springboard to collect preliminary data that will support a subsequent larger external funding proposal.

We use final reports on trips and project outcomes to learn how these programs have helped faculty make connections in their fields or obtain needed preliminary data resulting in later larger external awards. If you have previously obtained one of these awards and have recent stories to share about their impact, we would love to hear them!

Applications are due March 4 for travel/projects occurring between July 1 and December 31 of this year.  If you have questions about either the FDA or USRG programs, please email  ord@ksu.edu or call 785-532-6195.

— Beth Montelone, senior associate vice president for research
Events and announcements
  • The revised Common Rule took effect on January 21, 2019. Please visit the URCO website to access updated applications, consent templates, and other information; email comply@ksu.edu with any questions.

  • Join an information session on NSF's Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-1 and Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure-2 funding opportunities January 25 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in 1044 Rathbone
  • The session is open to all university faculty and staff.
  • These new opportunities provide funding in the ranges of $6 to $20 million and $20 to $70 million, respectively, for projects comprising any combination of equipment, instrumentation, computational hardware and software, and commissioning.
  • Both programs require preliminary proposals. The latter program also requires a letter of intent, due February 8.
  • This session is sponsored by the College of Engineering and the Office of Research Development. For additional information, contact Carole Lovin at clovin@ksu.edu or Mary Lou Marino at mlmarino@ksu.edu.

  • The Global Food Systems Advisory Team will meet January 28 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Ekdahl Room in Regnier Hall.

  • The Office of Research Development will offer Grant Writing 101 for postdocs, graduate student and early career faculty February 14 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Union Wildcat Chamber. Please register.


  • Nominate a graduate student to attend the AAAS Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering workshop March 24-27 in Washington, D.C. Nominations are due February 10. Find more information.

  • The Transboundary Animal Disease Fellowship Program at the Biosecurity Research Institute seeks applicants by February 15. Find more information.
Agency news and trending topics
Many U.S. government scientists and federally funded researchers breathed a sigh of relief last month, after  the partial shutdown of the U.S. government   began. That’s because the budget impasse between Congress and President Donald Trump didn’t affect some of the largest federal research agencies, including the $39 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the $35.6 billion Department of Energy (DOE). Their spending had already been approved. This week, however, it became clear that the shutdown is hampering even agencies that are open—sometimes in unexpected ways.

A historic defeat for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the odds that the United Kingdom will crash out of the European Union in March, a prospect that scientists dread for its potential for disruption to research collaborations and the economy. On 15 January, Parliament roundly rejected May’s deal with the European Union, which lays out the terms for an orderly withdrawal. What happens next is unknown.

The 2018 Life Science Industry Census, a survey of life science companies in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, shows strong growth in this vital sector of the region’s economy. The census found a net increase of 43 companies in the region since 2015, which represents an impressive 17% growth in life science companies and a 22% increase in employment. The census, which has been conducted every three years for the past 12 years, reveals consistent growth in the number of companies and overall employment in the life sciences industry in the region. For example, the region has grown from 199 life sciences companies employing about 18,500 people (2006 census) to 292 companies employing about 35,000 people (2018 census).

I was thrilled to receive my first request to peer review a paper while working on my Ph.D. Then I realized I didn’t know how to peer review. It had never been covered in my classes, so I started asking around and sending emails, reaching out to my friends in other programs, but with little luck. As important as peer review is, it seems that few STEM programs actively teach students about how to navigate the peer review process and make the decisions involved, such as whether to accept or reject a paper for publication. Fortunately, this is why we have mentors. I set up a meeting with a veteran peer reviewer and journal editor who was kind enough to spend an afternoon answering my questions and sharing important takeaways gleaned over years of experience.

Artists are constantly using new pigments and oils to produce more vibrant, luminous and interesting colors. Rembrandt van Rijn was no different. The Dutch Old Master had technique, creativity and painstaking labor going for him. He also had chemistry. A new analysis of his works shows he used a rare compound in some of his paints, which helped him pull off his signature  impasto  technique, Henri Neuendorf at  artnet News  reports.

[On January 20 and 21], much of the Western Hemisphere enjoyed one of the most spectacular natural phenomena to occur in the sky, a total lunar eclipse. During such an eclipse, the Earth, moon and sun align such that the Earth blocks the sunlight from reaching the surface of the moon, casting the lunar surface in shadow. When the central part of the Earth’s shadow, called the umbra, covers the moon, the only light that reaches the lunar surface has been filtered through Earth’s atmosphere, which strips out the blue wavelengths and casts the moon in a red glow.
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