October 11, 2017
Funding Connection

From the desk of the VPR
K-State Family,

Our Research Connections event coming up on November 7 is designed to enable the campus community — students, faculty, and staff — to connect across disciplines, identify potential partners for research, and explore who may share common interests or needs. This will be a complement to our annual Research Showcase in the spring, which has become more outward facing to industry partners.  Please mark your calendar and plan to participate.

I want to share a few words about food in this newsletter.  K-State, the first operational land-grant university in the U.S., has had a long tradition of supporting education, research, and partnerships around food production and food safety. We have one of the top agriculture colleges in the nation, we have many faculty and students engaged in top programs in nutrition, health, and well-being, and we are home to four Feed the Future research programs and the Kansas Global Food Systems initiative. Kansas has an economy that is heavily dependent upon the food harvest, and we are proud of that heritage.

The seasons are changing, and we are beginning to see celebrations of the food harvest. Historically, we Kansans celebrated by coming together and sharing our stories and our successes, looking for partnerships for the coming year, and hoping for a bountiful harvest in the future. This type of celebration and recognition goes back many millennia and is something that all people around the world celebrate in one form or another and at different times of the year depending on the harvest season — the Ashanti Yam Festival, the Harvest Moon Festival, Mehregan, Ladakh, Oktoberfest, Onam, Sokkut, and Thanksgiving, to name a few in the fall.

In the wake of a difficult week for campus, punctuated by despicable acts of vandalism against our campus community, I hope you will take time to reflect on the harvest season and learn about how the world celebrates its bounty of food in which we are so fortunate to partake — plus take a moment to consider those who often go without. If you know students who are in need of food, please direct them to Student Life and the Cat’s Cupboard . That’s the Wildcat way!

— Peter
Events and announcements

  • The Kansas Science Communication Initiative will meet October 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 in Union 206. Check out the list of events for Science Communication Week, November 6-11.

  • Research Connections, an event designed to offer researchers a venue in which they can explore interdisciplinary collaborations, find resources, and promote their work, will be November 7 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Alumni Center Banquet Room. Read more and register.

See K-State research in fall 2017 Seek
The fall 2017 issue of Seek, the flagship research magazine of Kansas State University, arrived on campus last week. Take a look at the feature articles on the Seek website or download a PDF version of the entire magazine or individual articles — perfect for sharing on social media — from New Prairie Press.

Here's what you'll find:

  • A letter from Vice President for Research Peter Dorhout extolling K-State engagement and the contributions in talent, place, and innovation that led to a recent award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities;
  • A behind-the scenes look at K-State collections and how they are used in research;
  • How Feed the Future labs are helping meet the challenge of feeding the growing world population;
  • How unmanned aerial systems are helping researchers obtain crucial data;
  • How K-State Research and Extension uses 21st-century communications methods to deliver education for all according to our land-grant mission;
  • Why a K-State artist takes large paper into the freshly burned Konza Prairie;
  • Why 2016 and 2017 were bin-busters for K-State plant breeders; and
  • How K-State adds value to Kansas through economic engagement and efforts like Project 17 in southeast Kansas.

Please help us demonstrate our institution's impact in our state, region, and world by sharing the magazine widely.
Agency news and trending topics
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced Fiscal Year 2018 funding for research and extension activities to enhance productivity, safety, and innovation in the specialty crop industry. Funding is made through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. The  Specialty Crop Research Initiative  invites pre-applications to solve critical U.S. specialty crop issues, priorities, or problems through integrated research and extension activities that use systems-based, trans-disciplinary approaches. 

Preparedness in the face of major disease outbreaks can save thousands of lives: Rapid deployment of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines may even stop the disease from potentially exploding into a pandemic. A new article by Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues examines the multifaceted nature of effective preparedness and the particular role that biomedical research plays.

The only physicist in Congress has introduced a bill ( H.R. 3763 ) that could rekindle a debate over how to deal with geographic disparities in the allocation of federal research funding. Last month, Representative Bill Foster (D–IL) proposed changing the formula that the National Science Foundation (NSF) uses for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). It’s the flagship program for a half-billion-dollar-a-year federal effort to help states and U.S. territories whose scientists receive relatively little federal support.

President Trump’s rise to power prompted numerous think pieces from political scientists about the virtues (or lack thereof) of political neutrality in the classroom. But beyond questions about teaching and personal opinion, political scientists are also asking how they should study political science today. Namely, they’re asking whether the discipline’s traditional structure — semi-siloed subfields including American politics, comparative politics (everyone else), political theory and international relations -- works in the age of Trump.
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