April 15, 2020
Funding Connection

The Department of Defense’s  Newton Award for Transformative Ideas during the COVID-19 Pandemic   will be presented to a single investigator or team of up to two investigators that develops a “transformative idea” to resolve challenges, advance frontiers, and set new paradigms in areas of immense potential benefit to DoD and the nation at large. 

The  National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s  University Leadership Initiative   provides the opportunity for university teams to exercise technical and organizational leadership in proposing unique technical challenges in aeronautics, defining multi-disciplinary solutions, establishing peer review mechanisms, and applying innovative teaming strategies to strengthen the research impact. 

Reminder about limited research operations
and safety
Limited aspects of the research enterprise at K-State are continuing both remotely and on-site. Anyone working on a project should consider the health and safety of themselves, their families, friends, and coworkers as the top priorities during this pandemic. Public Health office recommendations for working should be followed. As a reminder to everyone, we provided a list of FAQs to help faculty, staff, and students with links below. If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of your project or your current working conditions, please notify your supervisor, PI, or department head.


From the desk of the VPR
I recently finished re-reading John M. Barry’s 2004 book, “The Great Influenza.” I first read it some time ago when the context was much different. It is an amazing history of medical science and practice in the U.S. set against the backdrop of WWI and the understanding, or lack thereof, of how viruses emerge and behave. It was also set against the manner in which people behaved. 

If you have a low tolerance for science history books, this one may not be for you, but it is replete with examples of how pandemics impact those who suffer — those who live and those who do not. Some of the most significant aspects of this book, however, focus on how the world recovered through discovery.

At first, influenza (H1N1) was thought to be a bacterium that was present in nearly every morbidly ill patient, most of whom suffered from pneumonia. Large groups of research teams developed and tested new methods for treatment and vaccination — the modern pneumonia vaccine is derived directly from those early studies. Oswald Avery, who started his own investigations at the Rockefeller Institute on influenza and bacteriology, recognized decades later that DNA carried genetic, hereditary information that would become one of the most interesting biological revelations of the 20th century. Inspired by the disease, he changed our understanding of life.

Other early medical science pioneers in the fight against influenza discovered the keys to many other viral diseases, including poliomyelitis, avian influenza, and swine fever, and they would discover, by following a somewhat misguided theory about influenza bacteria, the keys to antibiotics. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 started a fire within science and public health that changed how we understand nature and the human and animal conditions.

From such a horror as the global influenza pandemic at the beginning of the 20th century came revelations about medicine and science as never before. Research efforts that emerged during the decades that followed made startling discoveries out of the misery. 

Coming out of our current pandemic, K-State researchers — faculty, staff, and students — are positioned perhaps like nowhere else to respond to the new challenges and questions await: from addressing questions like, “how does a virus emerge and transform and how does it become so resilient,” to “how can we exercise our humanity to overcome it and the physical, social, economic, and behavioral collateral damage that it inflicted?” 

This current “normal” will end. Let’s be ready, and remain K-State Strong.

Be well,
Events and announcements
Uniting the life sciences community to combat COVID-19
Join BioNexus via Zoom on Friday, April 17 at 1:00 p.m.

BioNexus KC is virtually convening the life sciences and healthcare community to discuss current conditions on the front lines, highlight new and exciting initiatives that could impact our response and what our community can do to help in the fight against COVID-19.

By fostering collaboration during this time of crisis, BioNexus KC will help the KC region embrace innovation and develop a response to COVID-19 that is unique and effective.

Registration is free, but required in order to receive a link for the event.
Wednesday, April 22
10-11 a.m. CST

The research community has shifted into high gear to develop solutions to the COVID-19 epidemic. What are the priorities for the industry, and how can universities better partner to enable solutions?
The situation is changing rapidly, so UIDP is offering this live webinar topic a second time in April with a new panel in an effort to broaden the knowledge base. UIDP members who attended the April 8 webinar on this topic should also register to attend this event.
UIDP members and non-members are invited to join us to learn how our industry members, in diverse sectors, are evaluating and reframing their current approaches to academic collaborations.

The webinar is free to everyone at K-State since K-State is a UIDP member, but registration is required.
Global Food Systems Microbiome Workshop
The Global Food System Initiative is hosting an interactive virtual workshop on microbiome research at K-State.

2-4:15 p.m.
April 30, 2020
Via Zoom

This workshop is an opportunity for faculty and students to learn about and discuss the broadly defined area of the microbiome. Interesting things are happening at K-State in areas such as methods development, water, soil and animal research, all relating to the microbiome. Attendees will learn more about what is happening in this area of study and find out where continued discussion might be beneficial. 

Register to attend this workshop by noon, April 30, 2020.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Research Brown Bag Discussions
Across the nation, faculty are grappling with how to maintain research productivity during a time of a public health crisis. Federal funding agencies and private sector supporters are trying to understand how to make progress as well. We have been providing updates from funders as they come in, but this is still a complex environment to understand. Our Brown Bag virtual lunch series will focus on responding to changes and guidance about how to secure funding into the future.

All brownbags will be held from noon-1:30 p.m. on the following dates via Zoom .
  • Monday, May 11 – Topic: TBA

Registration is now required . Please register to attend by 10 a.m. on Monday, May 11.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Please reach out to comply@k-state.edu with any questions.
This Notice describes the NCI’s policy on the minimum level of effort that will be a part of the funding consideration for NCI-funded grants.

Please note that this Notice rescinds and replaces similar information that was previously published (on March 3, 2020) in  NOT-CA-20-033 , "Notice on Policy Regarding Minimum Level of Effort for NCI-Funded Awards".

Therefore, effective immediately, on publication of this Notice (NOT-CA-20-047), the previous Notice (NOT-CA-20-033) is rescinded and is no longer valid!

In addition to previously established policies for specific grant mechanisms that have been described in funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), Principal Investigators (PIs), including Project Leaders on multi-project grants, will be required to commit a minimum level of effort to be eligible for NCI funding through R01, U01, P01, and R21 grant mechanisms. Effective immediately, competing applications that do not meet the minimum criteria will not be considered for funding unless the level of effort is raised to comply with the policy. In addition, a request to reduce the PI’s level of effort in subsequent years of funding will not be approved if the proposed level of effort falls below the minimum level. The minimum effort policy described in this notice will not apply when the grant is in a no-cost extension.

Requisite levels of effort for grant mechanisms not listed in this table are stipulated in the FOA. Grant mechanisms without levels of effort listed in the table or stipulated in the FOA do not have a minimum requirement, e.g. R03, R15, etc.

New Funding Guidelines for May 21 Deadline

Because of the effects of COVID-19 on all facets of American life, the Russell Sage Foundation is changing its immediate priorities for letters of inquiry for the May 21, 2020, deadline.

AFOSR Virtual Office Hour
AFOSR recently a hosted a Virtual Office Hour - a Q&A session - on Twitter to answer questions about communicating with AFOSR, funding opportunities, and our grant process. We'd like to share the information with you. Please click the button below to view the event thread. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your Program Officer (PO) or send an email to Calvin Scott at  afosr.baa@us.af.mil .

Join us for our next Twitter chat on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 12 p.m.
NIH continues to add new resources to its  COVID-19: Information for NIH Applicants and Recipients of NIH Funding webpage . Here is a summary of what’s new since the last Nexus:
USDA APHIS NBAF Scientist Training Program
Apply now for admission to the program for the fall 2020 semester. Applications are due to K-State by 5 p.m. May 18, 2020.

The purpose of the USDA APHIS NBAF Scientist Training Program, or NSTP, is to build the necessary technical and subject matter expertise to support the 
Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) at the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, KS. In addition to serving as an international reference laboratory for foot and mouth disease virus and a national reference laboratory for other foreign animal diseases such as classical swine fever and African swine fever viruses, FADDL’s mission will expand to include emerging and zoonotic diseases, including BSL-4 pathogens. 

NSTP fellows will receive the following for a maximum of five years.
  • Full tuition and supplementary support to complete an MS, PhD, or DVM/PhD program in target laboratory-based fields of study such as microbiology, virology, molecular biology, diagnostics, and bioinformatics;
  • A stipend ($50,000 annually for PhD or DVM/PhD students; $35,000 annually for MS students) and health benefits (Kansas Board of Regents GRA health insurance plan);
  • Materials and supplies ($20,000 annually);
  • Travel support ($5,000 annually); and
  • Publication costs ($1,000 annually).

K-State RSCAD in the news
Agency news and trending topics
A new study has begun recruiting at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to determine how many adults in the United States without a confirmed history of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have antibodies to the virus.  nih.gov

Faith Goenner, University of Minnesota, and Cynthia Sanchez, Stanford University discuss what it takes to remain alert and effective in their latest podcast. ncura.edu

M-20-20 Repurposing Existing Federal Financial Assistance Programs and Awards to Support the Emergency Response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) whitehouse.gov

Scientists will share information from New York City locations with epidemiologists modeling coronavirus spread. nsf.gov

Tired even though you don’t leave the house?
Don’t underestimate the stress of lockdown: Fatigue can have non-physical causes. Anxiety and even the monotony of sheltering in place can tire us out. theconversation.com

If pandemic lockdowns have people feeling a bit like lab rats stuck in cages, in some ways that’s exactly what they are. sciencemag.org

Biomedical engineers studying how mucus affects COVID-19 transmission
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