January 9, 2019
Funding Connection

  • The NSF Mid-scale Research Infrastructure-2 Program supports implementation of projects ($20-$70 million) that comprise any combination of equipment, instrumentation, computational hardware and software, and the necessary commissioning and human capital in support of same. Projects may also include upgrades to existing research infrastructure. 
  • The Department of Energy invites Early Career Research Program applications in Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Biological and Environmental Research; Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics; and Nuclear Physics.
  • Read more of this week's featured opportunities
From the desk of the VPR
As many of you are aware, there has been no change yet in the government shutdown, which could adversely affect research at Kansas State University. In the short term, those effects are minimal, but they will worsen as the shutdown lengthens. Read a general FAQ about government shutdowns from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

K-State has been successful in capturing research funding from federal agencies at record levels. When funding agencies award grants, researchers are able to spend funds as necessary to complete project objectives in accordance with a pre-determined timeline. In some cases, contracts are awarded with funds in advance, but generally, agencies reimburse the institutional accounts for researchers’ individual projects.

In the short term, we have no concerns about available funds from grants that have been awarded. Our institution is able to front the cash flow, and we are closely monitoring expenditures and available guidance from agencies. A protracted shutdown, however, will have widespread and snowballing effects that will jeopardize paychecks for staff who are funded from grants as well as stipends or paychecks for graduate and undergraduate student researchers who are employed by faculty members. Subawards from K-State to researchers at other institutions and small businesses may also be affected if the shutdown continues for many weeks or months, as K-State's ability to reimburse their expenditures will be affected.  

Researchers and staff submitting grant proposals also face uncertainty. Agencies that are shut down have not provided guidance indicating that we should not continue to send proposals, but we don’t know if the deadlines will be affected because some agencies are not processing awards or continuing projects that are at the end of their current authorizations during the shutdown. As always, we continue to monitor the situation and hope for an expedient resolution.

— Peter
Events and announcements
  • The U.S. Department of State has issued a China Travel Advisory advising increased caution due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.” Find more information

  • Pivot is changing its URL to https://pivot.proquest.com. The current URL will be discontinued on March 1, and traffic will not automatically redirect. Be sure to update your bookmarks and links. Funding Alerts will come from an @proquest.com address (instead of @cos.com). All data and functionality will remain. Links from the K-State Research website have been updated. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to update your Pivot profile so potential collaborators find relevant information about you. 

  • Award Reports through November 2018 are posted on our Award Reports page. Interactive dashboards are also available to provide a high-level overview of the current fiscal year’s activity.

  • The American Heart Association is offering a free webinar,“Networking for Success,” on Tuesday, January 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 Eastern Standard Time (10 a.m. Central Standard Time). The speaker is Tracy J. Costello, director of the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Find more information and register

  • Accelerating Health through 1Data: Learn how human and animal data sharing can transform your research from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. February 7 at K-State Olathe. Speakers will discuss the 1Data platform, local efforts to improve human and animal health using analytical tools, and how collaboration can promote change. Find more information and register

  • Humanities Kansas seeks applications for 2019-2021 Poet Laureate of Kansas, a position designed to promote the reading and writing of poetry throughout the state. Applications are due February 8. Find more information.

  • USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture seeks nominations for the NIFA Partnership Awards Program. The program recognizes exemplary work from a team or individual in support of the NIFA mission and USDA Strategic Goals. Awards recognize outstanding outcomes in five categories; nominations must be submitted by February 15, 2019. Find more information

  • Save the date: The BioNexus KC Bioinformatics Conference is April 11-12, 2019 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The conference brings together bioinformatics-minded researchers from academia and industry to discover capabilities, share tactical approaches, explore synergies, and launch potential collaborations. Find more information.
Changes to the NIIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) R15 Program
In December 2018, the National Institutes of Health issued Notice Number NOT-OD-19-015 announcing changes to the AREA R15 program. A number of K-State PIs have been successful in obtaining funding through this mechanism.

The changes are being made to focus AREA support on undergraduate-focused institutions that do not receive substantial NIH funding. Eligibility for AREA will be determined on the basis of 1) the component of the institution with which the Principal Investigator is associated, specifically not health professional schools (i.e., faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine, or CVM, will not be eligible); and 2) the total NIH funding of all non-health professional components of the institution. Specifically, the latter must be less than $6M per year in total costs from NIH in four of the last seven years. R15 applications submitted after February 25, 2019 must include a signed letter from the Provost verifying eligibility. Details of this requirement can be found in the new AREA parent announcement PAR-18-714 .

K-State researchers have been increasingly successful in obtaining NIH funding in recent years, and the OVPR has determined that since we exceeded $6M in NIH funding in fiscal year (FY) 2016 and FY 2017 and are likely to continue doing so in FY 2018 and FY 2019 , it is likely that even non-CVM faculty will no longer be eligible to apply for AREA R15 grants starting in Federal FY 2020.  Please consult PreAward Services or the Office of Research Development with questions regarding eligibility.

Other guidance from the NIH indicates that a new mechanism, the R15 Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP), is being introduced for eligible health professional schools and graduate schools that have not received substantial NIH funding.

However, our review of the guidelines suggests that CVM faculty (the only unit that would be eligible) are not going to be eligible if the guidelines speak to the entire institution’s NIH awards not exceeding the $6M threshold. Staff members in the Office of Research Development and PreAward Services are still researching this question and will advise in a future edition of Research Weekly.
Agency news and trending topics
The shutdown, now in its third week, has emptied some laboratories across the country, forced scientists from the field, upended important scientific conferences, imperiled the flow of grant money and disrupted careful planning for future studies, some of which are time-sensitive. 
Note: NIH and Grants.gov remain operational during the current partial shutdown .

There's a big molecule, a protein, inside the leaves of most plants. It's called Rubisco, which is short for an actual chemical name that's very long and hard to remember. Amanda Cavanagh, a biologist and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois, calls herself a big fan of Rubisco. "It's probably the most abundant protein in the world," she says. … "But it has what we like to call one fatal flaw," Cavanagh continues. Unfortunately, Rubisco isn't picky enough about what it grabs from the air. It also picks up oxygen. "When it does that, it makes a toxic compound, so the plant has to detoxify it." Plants have a whole complicated chemical assembly line to carry out this detoxification, and the process uses up a lot of energy. This means the plant has less energy for making leaves, or food for us. … Cavanagh and her colleagues in a research program called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency ( RIPE ), which is based at the University of Illinois, have spent the last five years trying to fix Rubisco's problem. "We're sort of hacking photosynthesis," she says.

Advancing public health depends on science being empirical, transparent, and rigorous. As yet another step towards fostering rigorous science, we have revamped the  Rigor and Reproducibility webpage  to highlight and include more resources you might find helpful. Since  sketching out our plan last summer with the Advisory Council to the NIH Director , the webpage now reflects policy updates and explores new resources, all in a simple and easy to read manner.
Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That's still far shy of Plan S's ambition: to convince the world's major research funders to require immediate OA to all published papers stemming from their grants.
‘Cancer’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘big data’ were among the top search terms in a major science database in 2018. The search-term data — for 2017 and 2018 — were provided to  Nature ’s news team by the scholarly database Scopus, which indexes abstracts and references from thousands of journals.
The stories and poems scribbled by the half-mad Romantic have shaped our national obsession with tales of chaos and darkness. Says Kirsten Mollegaard, an English professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo who has examined Poe’s fame: “No other American writer has had as enduring and pervasive an influence on popular culture.”
The periodic table stares down from the walls of just about every chemistry lab. The credit for its creation generally goes to Dimitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist who in 1869 wrote out the known elements (of which there were 63 at the time) on cards and then arranged them in columns and rows according to their chemical and physical properties. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this pivotal moment in science, the UN has proclaimed 2019 to be the  International year of the Periodic Table . But the periodic table didn’t actually start with Mendeleev. Many had tinkered with arranging the elements.
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