May 30, 2018
Our office appreciates your patience during the recent communications crisis caused by fire and water damage to the servers and telephone system in Hale Library.  Our PreAward Services team put together a number of “MacGyver"-like patches to ensure that proposals and reports would be submitted in a timely manner. We apologize for the communications blackout when email and phones went down, and ask that if you were working on a proposal last week and have not heard back from your PAS liaison, please contact them by email again.

Gary Pratt’s team in IT worked long hours and through the weekend to get systems back up and running. Our communications director, Sarah Hancock, has been working with the Division of Communications and Marketing to ensure delivery of updates from K-State Today though our Research Weekly services. KU IT helped our teams rebuild databases and served as a critical backup for us.

All that said, our collective coming together as a team to focus on the problem and work to get K-State back up illustrates how K-Staters can perform when difficulties arise and learn from those experiences — true to our state motto: “To the stars through adversity.”

— Peter
Funding Connection

From the desk of the VPR
Last month, I was invited by a friend, who is also a fellow woodworker, to meet with a group of his colleagues over coffee.  The topic was “what’s going on with research at K-State?” No PowerPoint, just coffee and conversations. (No PowerPoint — that’s like asking me to talk without using my hands!) I have made similar “presentations” this year at Rotary, at alumni events, and at the Intergovernmental Luncheon for community leaders, but nothing quite so intimate as “just coffee and conversations” … and no PowerPoint.

It was clear from the interactions and questions that, while appreciative of the 155-year-old relationship with K-State, folks in town don’t quite understand the role K-State plays in advancing our region, our communities, Kansas families, and our students. They were concerned that we were losing touch with students because we were focusing on research.  I hope that I left them with a renewed sense of connection to our campus and the role that research plays in education.

We exist to educate — that’s our land-grant mission . Educating students requires vibrant faculty members who are themselves being educated through their scholarly work.  Research in all its forms ensures that our faculty are at the forefront of their disciplines, and that our students are getting the very best experiences taught by the very best people. Research enables students to connect with a discipline, too.

K-State educates through the Research & Extension programs throughout the state. Whether through the offices that serve all 105 counties, our experimental stations, or here on our campuses, K-State faculty, staff, and students are advancing new knowledge through research and taking that knowledge out to fellow Kansans and their businesses large and small through personal engagement.

The university advances industry, large and small, through our research collaborations, workforce development, and technology transfer, which are also part of our mission — to advance the prosperity of Kansas families by creating new knowledge. This is a critical part of our research story that we must share with the public, particularly about the added value that fundamental and applied research provide. We shared that story with business representatives at the Research Showcase in Olathe last week who had the chance to interact with more than 80 faculty, staff, and students from our campuses. I had the pleasure of presenting our inaugural Excellence in Innovation and Economic Engagement Award to the  Wheat Genetics Resource Center I/UCRC , which has developed a broad portfolio of industry partnerships.
Now that the summer is upon us, Science on Tap and the Science Communication Initiative are on “vacation" until the fall semester, but come back ready to connect with some of their opportunities to engage the public in conversations about the value of research, the value of a K-State degree, and the value that the university adds to Kansas and the region. When the opportunity arises, I hope you will please take a moment to visit with members of our communities to share what you do at K-State. I know you’re passionate about what you do; please help the public understand your passion.

Have a safe summer!

– Peter
Events and announcements
  • Research Weekly will take a break next week. We'll resume publication of a slimmer summertime version of the newsletter on June 13. If you have topics you would like us to address this summer or fall, please let us know by emailing

  • If you attended the K-State Research Showcase on May 16, please be sure to tell us what you thought of the event by filling out a brief survey.

  • Register now for “Diagnostics of Endemic & Emerging Diseases: Beyond the Status Quo,” a workshop June 11–13 at the K-State Alumni Center. The workshop is offered by the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) and the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and aims to promote discussions and collaborations on novel diagnostic tests for endemic, zoonotic, and foreign animal diseases, including scientific and regulatory challenges. Find more information

  • The EPA Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge invites registrations. $100,000 in prizes will go to up to two teams that demonstrate how nutrient sensor information can be translated into actions to address a nutrient problem. Email or call 202-564-1108 to ensure that you’re included in information and resource sharing.

  • The Research Administrators Council is hosting a webinar, “Diving Into Contracting,” on June 20 from 1:00 to 2:30 in the Union Wildcat Chamber. The webinar is from the National Council of University Research Administrators. The event is open to all interested in learning more about contracting. 

  • The Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute will hold a One Health Research Symposium on One Health Applications of CRISPR/cas9 on August 19-20 at the Kansas City Convention Center. Find more information.

  • The next NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration will be October 17–19 in San Francisco. Registration is open. Find more information.
Concept paper opportunity
The Office of the Vice President for Research invites collaborative project teams to submit a concept paper for vetting by our consultants, McAllister & Quinn. Papers are due for internal review on June 29.

  • Concept papers must identify a specific opportunity of interest and have a budget of >$1 million.

  • Concepts for centers are of particular interest. Some programs to consider:
  • National Institutes of Health Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Science & Technology Centers (STC)
  • NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERC)
  • Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) Program
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP)

Teams will receive feedback from M&Q, and those with promising concepts can receive further guidance on additional potential funding sources and opportunities. High-priority concepts/teams will be selected to work directly with M&Q to prepare a full proposal.

Find more information and a concept paper template in the Funding Connection . Click the "General" category to find the opportunity quickly.
Agency news and trending topics
Read about restorations of funding reductions, the Next Generation Researcher Initiative Policy, salary limits, and other adjustments.
The Air Force and the National Science Foundation are boosting cooperation on mutual scientific research in support of national security. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and National Science Foundation Director France Cordova signed a letter of intent … initiating a strategic partnership that focuses on four areas: space and geosciences, advanced materials sciences, information and data science, and the development of the scientific workforce.

Comments are due July 13.

President Donald Trump announced today that he will nominate a senior official at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) technology commercialization program, and a former member of the White House staff under President Barack Obama, to lead the department’s $6 billion Office of Science. The office is the nation’s leading funder of the physical sciences, and supports a fleet of facilities used extensively by academic and commercial researchers.

Opinions about which research contributions deserve authorship credit on a scholarly paper vary markedly across scientific disciplines — and even within the same field, a survey of thousands of researchers reveals. More than two-thirds of respondents said they would grant authorship to someone who interpreted data or drafted the manuscript. But nearly half would almost never or only sometimes grant authorship to people who secured their funding.

During an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus like the one underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), research necessarily takes a back seat to proven containment strategies, including isolation of infected people, identification and testing of their contacts, and safe burial of the dead. But the DRC has approved one vaccine trial, and a second study piggy backed on it to assess immune response to the vaccine, in the hope that the “experimental” intervention might help curb the outbreak and offer some insights for the future.

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