September 5, 2018
Funding Connection

ORD Opportunities: Internal grant programs
The fall 2018  call for our internal small grant programs , Faculty Development Awards and University Small Research Grants, appears in this week’s Funding Connection. 

Faculty members with the rank of assistant professor and above may request support from these programs for their scholarly activities and professional development. To be eligible, faculty members must have at least some percentage of their appointment devoted to research. 

The  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 for funding of travel to meet with program officers from potential external sponsors. The  USRG program  provides "seed" grants to support early research, scholarly activity, and other creative efforts.

Applications are due October 1 for travel/projects occurring before July 1, 2019. 

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 stories to share about their impact, we would love to hear them!


— Beth Montelone, senior associate vice president for research
Events and announcements

  • The 2019 National Postdoctoral Association Meetings Committee is seeking proposals for 75-minute concurrent sessions and poster presentations to be included in the 2019 Annual Conference April 12-14, 2019 in Orlando. Find more information.

  • June 2018 awards are posted on our Awards and Reports page. A full report for fiscal year 2018 will be available soon.

  • Mark your calendar for upcoming training events from the Office of Research Development
  • A session on the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is September 11, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 207. Take an in-depth look at the requirements, plus hear from faculty who have served on review panels and awardees who will talk about their experience. Please register.
  • Hear about Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, opportunities September 13, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Union 206. This session will give a general overview of the agency and its six technical offices, provide information about the Young Faculty Award, provide examples of current solicitations, and more. Please register.
  • Identifying Graduate Fellowship Opportunities on September 27 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 207 will discuss key opportunities from a range of agencies, including fellowships in the humanities and social sciences. Please register.

  • A Biosecurity Research Institute Research Fellows Lecture will be delivered by Professor Friedemann Weber of Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, on September 6, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., in 1004 Pat Roberts Hall. Weber will present “Induction and Suppression of the Interferon Response by Segmented Negative-Strand RNA Viruses.” Find more BRI news and events.
Meet new research compliance staff members
The University Research Compliance Office welcomes Megan Trapp and Greg Peterson.

Megan is our new Institutional Animal Care and Use Comm ittee, or IACUC, Research Compliance Coordinator. Megan received a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and industry with an equine certificate from Kansas State University. She has worked at the Rabies Laboratory and the Biosecurity Research Institute. Megan is eager to create an open educational partnership with investigators and their teams and to start a post-approval monitoring program.

Greg serves as the Institutional Biosafety Committee, or IBC, Compliance Program Manager. Greg holds a PhD in pathobiology from the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the University of Kansas, and the Biosecurity Research Institute. He is planning to enhance K-State's culture of biosafety by further developing the network of biosafety practitioners operating in the sciences.
Agency news and trending topics
A fire at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro has destroyed one of the country’s most important scientific collections. No one was injured in the fire, which broke out after the museum had closed on Sunday evening. But the blaze ravaged its massive archives and collections, numbering around 20 million items by some estimates. The museum had no sprinkler system, and limited water was available from fire hydrants when firefighters arrived.

The genome editor CRISPR has morphed over the past 6 years from an obscure bacterial immune mechanism into the  r ock star tool of biology , allowing researchers to alter DNA with greater precision and ease than ever before. But the most popular version of CRISPR is simply too big, which complicates reaching some targets—and limits the ability of this powerful technology to create new therapies. Now, researchers have devised a way to put CRISPR on a diet and still retain its core functions.

While humanists at many colleges are still doing what people in their fields have long done — independent research and publication of single-author monographs — other universities have taken the risk of doing more expansive projects. Michigan stands out in that regard. It reported spending more than $23.5 million on humanities research and development in the 2016 fiscal year ( see accompanying table ), with more than half of that devoted to the research portion of salaries for tenure-stream faculty members in the humanities.

Research funders from France, the United Kingdom,  the Netherlands and eight other European nations have  unveiled a radical open-access initiative  that could change the face of science publishing in two years — and which has instantly provoked protest from publishers.

There are plenty of lawmakers who know next to nothing about technology. Senator Mark Warner isn't one of them. Long before the Virginia Democrat was sworn into the Senate in 2009, Warner built a career in the venture capital and telecom industries. That background has served the senator well since news broke that Facebook, Google, and Twitter all  enabled foreign influence campaigns during the 2016 election . Warner, who acts as vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has driven much of the conversation around what to do with these giants' unimaginable and unchecked power.

Many early-career researchers are drawn to the intersection of science and policy .... But it can be hard to know where to start .... And there can be career penalties for junior scientists. Policy-based work can be time-consuming and hard to fund, and helping to shape a law or management plan might not look as good on a tenure application as do high-profile publications. All scientists must also cope with the political realities of helping to translate scientific evidence — replete with uncertainties — into clear-cut laws and regulations. Because of this, many say, science can underpin good policy, but rarely defines it.
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