June 20, 2018
Funding Connection

Events and announcements
  • Kansas State University has a policy for use of unmanned aircraft systems for university purposes, including education and research. Learn more in the Policies and Procedures Manual.

  • Kansas State University researchers are asked to review inventories and notify the university select agent program if using any listed biological toxin. Find the list and more information.

  • Reminder: McAllister & Quinn Concept Papers are due June 29 for internal review. Find more information in the May 30 edition of Research Weekly or in the Funding Connection.

  • The National Postdoc Association seeks applications for an Outreach Committee Leader (due June 22) and the Board of Directors (due July 6). NPA will also offer an Evidence-Based Introduction to Teaching workshop July 23-27 at the University of Colorado Boulder. The workshop is free, but registration is required; find more information.

  • Bionexus KC (formerly KCALSI) requests proposals for its Nexus of Animal and Human Health Research Grants. Letters of intent are due July 10; full applications are due August 8. Find more information.
Undergraduate research CURE
Expanding the Cure Model: Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience, a new publication from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement , shares best practices for transforming traditional coursework into a research environment that meets both educational and research objectives. The book is a culmination of best practices developed by a group of RCSA Cottrell Scholars.

K-State Vice President for Research Peter Dorhout provided the foreword. "Undergraduate research was an incredible game-changer for me personally, and I recognized the value in engaging emerging scientists in the search for new knowledge," Dorhout writes.

Providing traditional research experiences for all students can be difficult, but the CURE model infuses research into the curriculum. "Not only can we include and serve more students, but we can expand the passion for science that so many of us developed while practicing science," Dorhout says.
Agency news and trending topics
Jay Van Bavel realized that hearing lab colleagues report only on their successes might give younger researchers in particular a false sense of what academic life is really like. Now, at weekly meetings, everyone shares their defeats as well.

At all levels of NSF, we are committed to doing our part in preventing harassment and improving accountability by  proposing new award term and condition requirements . As a major funder of this report, NSF emphasizes its commitment to a more inclusive STEM culture and climate — one free of harassment.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ... killed a controversial clinical study  that was already on life support: the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH) trial. A working group of NIH advisers assembled to review the study found that senior officials at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) actively and secretively courted the alcohol industry to fund the $100 million project, and saw to it that a favored principal investigator (PI) won the funding. NIH Director Francis Collins ... called the conduct “way outside of the acceptable culture of our noble institution” and, following the working group’s recommendation, ordered the study shut down “as quickly as that can be done.”

Ask just about anybody, and you'll probably hear that a healthy diet is one full of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts and fish — what's called  Mediterranean diet . A lot of research has suggested people who eat this way tend to be healthier, but it's been harder to prove whether that is because of the diet or some other factor. So in 2013, many took notice  of a study  in the  New England Journal of Medicine that seemed to provide some proof. The study found that people eating the Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil were 30 percent less likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes than people assigned to a low-fat diet. People who stuck with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts had a 28 percent lower risk than those asked to follow a low-fat diet. ... But the [journal] retracted the paper Wednesday because of problems in the way the study was carried out.

The French chemist Antoine Béchamp (1816–1908) was a  life-long rival  to the great microbiologist Louis Pasteur. Pasteur invented pasteurization and vaccines for rabies and anthrax and discovered that many diseases are caused by invisible germs. Béchamp was a bitter crank who argued that microbes became dangerous when the health of the host—its “terrain” or environment—deteriorated. ... Béchamp was comprehensively wrong, but not absolutely so. His idea that microorganisms are necessary to good health, and that beneficial microbiota are pathogenic under the wrong conditions or in the wrong place, is now the standard view of researchers who study the microbiology of animals and plants. 

Mark Mallory, who has studied Arctic seabirds for more than 20 years, often notes in his scientific papers how expensive it is to conduct fieldwork in the far north, as have some of his colleagues. But when they recently tallied up their costs systematically, they were shocked to find the true price of northern research was eight times greater than for similar studies of seabirds in southern locations.
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