March 7, 2018
Funding Connection

BRI update
In the midst of a full slate of research projects, the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) is participating in a pilot effort to develop secure systems. The BRI and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) are participating as pilot sites for the Multi-Laboratory International Collaboration Environment (MICE).

The project, funded by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, connects the BRI and VDL to three other pilot sites —the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, and the Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Amarillo. 

The purpose of the collaboration environment is to provide a cyber-secure system for communications between high-containment research facilities and veterinary diagnostic laboratories.  After the pilot, the vision is to extend these capabilities to additional domestic high-containment research facilities and veterinary diagnostic laboratories and then add international collaborators. The system was installed and tested at the BRI and the VDL in recent weeks. The BRI information technology team collaborating with the Texas Center for Applied Technology at Texas A&M University on installation and testing of the system includes Will Baldwin, Kat Diedrich, and Jason Nelson.

We look forward to sharing the results of this work and to helping build systems that contribute to biodefense.

—Stephen Higgs, BRI director
Events and announcements
  • Faculty and staff are invited to join an ongoing webinar series on creating win-win university-industry relationships. Webinars are scheduled for 12:00 noon March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18, and May 2. Recordings of webinars will be available for a limited time. Find details and links to recorded sessions (access requires a K-State eid and password).

  • K-State Libraries will offer a Software Carpentry Workshop 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. March 20-21. The aim is to help researchers get their work done with less time and pain by teaching introductory research computing skills. This hands-on workshop will cover entry level concepts and tools, including basic program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Find the details and register; space is limited.

  • Register for the 30th annual K-State Conference on Applied Statistics in Agriculture by March 30 to save up to $100. The conference is May 6-8 in Manhattan. Find more information.

  • We recently notified campus of a USDA records disposal freeze with a Research Weekly alert. Please note that the freeze does not apply to NIFA-funded awards. The Council on Governmental Relations is working to find the source of the freeze and its likely duration. We will share more information as it becomes available.
CAREER workshop and writing clinic
The National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is the agency's most prestigious award in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholar in the STEM disciplines. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is offering two opportunities for those interested in competing for CAREER awards.

  • A CAREER workshop will begin with presentations on the requirements for submission, review criteria, submission protocols, and evaluation resources, then participants will hear from a panel of experienced CAREER proposal reviewers. This "nuts and bolts" workshop is 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. March 28 in Union 207. Register for the workshop.

  • Workshop participants are eligible to participate in a CAREER proposal writing clinic. The first step in the clinic begins during the workshop on March 28, where the panel of reviewers will lead groups in discussion of a series of prewriting questions. After that discussion and an orientation, clinic participants will work on draft introductions and other components of the proposal with our development experts. Proposal components will be due in April, May, and June.

The writing clinic provides a crucial opportunity to receive feedback on your proposal. To join the clinic, register for the CAREER workshop and email to indicate your intent to participate with CAREER Writing Clinic in the subject line. Pre-writing questions will be provided, and your answers will be due at the March 28 workshop.

If you have questions, please contact Mary Lou Marino at or 785-532-6195.
Agency news and trending topics
The National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, hopes that its new policy on sexual harassment will spur universities to deal more aggressively with the pervasive problem. But the additional reporting requirements,  which will be officially published Monday in the Federal Register , are far from a definitive statement about how NSF plans to deal with this complex and sensitive subject.

NIH will establish a new database of 10,000 human genomes and exomes, the 1-2 percent of the genome that contains protein-coding genes. Once the database is established, NIH and Inova researchers will predict conditions that specific genes or gene variants might produce and test those predictions by re-examining individuals who donated their DNA sequence information to the database. 

Thirteen years after building a state-of-the-art lab for the world’s most dangerous germs, the nation’s top public health agency is asking for more than $400 million to build a new one.Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the current lab building in Atlanta is quickly wearing down, and cannot be upgraded without shutting down the facility for years. The lab investigates deadly and exotic germs like Ebola, smallpox and dangerous new forms of flu.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to shut down a grant-making center that supports leading-edge research on human exposure to pollution and its effects. Under the proposed consolidation, the grants, contracts and administrative functions of the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) — a component of EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) — would be combined with two other offices focused on administering grants.

Authorship on papers is one of the major currencies of the scientific enterprise. Nevertheless, the contributions of different authors to a given paper have remained relatively opaque. Contributions are generally inferred from the order of authors, and implications of position on the authorship list vary between different investigators and scientific fields. A year ago, a group of editors and publishers across a wide range of disciplines met to discuss how to provide a more systemic solution to make author contributions more transparent. … Their recommendations have been released.

NASA’s troubled James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is heading for more choppy water, says a  report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office  (GAO) released yesterday. Problems in testing the orbiting telescope’s components and integrating them together means further launch delays are likely, GAO found. And the slips could mean the project will breach the $8 billion cost ceiling imposed by Congress in 2011. The JWST is a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, but with a mirror more than three times as wide and focusing on slightly longer, infrared wavelengths. It is expected to revolutionize our knowledge of the early universe, planets around other stars, and much else in between.
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