November 8, 2017
Funding Connection

KSURF sets new record
The Kansas State University Research Foundation received a record number of 73 invention disclosures in fiscal year 2017. This record number topped the last two years' totals of 67 and 63 innovations, respectively, to continue a streak of three straight record years. A total of 126 K-Staters disclosed new innovations, with nearly 50% participating in the invention disclosure process for the first time. 

The technology transfer office also signed a total of 88 commercial agreements in fiscal year 2017. This year’s agreements include a master license, 10 exclusive licenses, 14 non-exclusive licenses, and 6 exclusive options to license K-State technologies. These agreements helped bring in $2.67 million in licensing revenues. In addition, intellectual property-related deals were responsible for bringing in more than $2 million in sponsored research. The success of intellectual property-related licensing and sponsored research demonstrates the relevance of K-State research to industry and how it can benefit the public.

The record number of invention disclosures and new inventors reflects increasing faculty participation. KSURF and the K-State Institute for Commercialization continue to work with the Office of the Vice President for Research to make participating even easier. Check out our new website , which provides information about the disclosure and commercialization process and makes it easy to submit your next innovation.
Please reach out to KSURF with questions about new innovations, sponsored research, and industry interest in your discoveries. Visit our website or contact us at 785-532-5720 or to learn more about our services. 

— Chris Brandt, president and CEO, Kansas State University Research Foundation
Events and announcements

  • Which early career funding opportunity is right for you? Join an Early Career Opportunities Information Session on November 14 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 206 to find out. Hear an overview of young faculty career programs from different agencies and hear a panel of faculty members who have received awards talk about their experiences. Find more information and register.

  • The Fulbright Scholar Program offers nearly 500 teaching, research, or combination awards in more than 125 countries. Hear an overview plus a panel of K-State Fulbright Scholar awardees on November 28 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 206. Find more information and register.
Foundation funding tips
Our weekly Funding Connection lists opportunities from many sources. Private foundations are an excellent source of research funding, but faculty members are more familiar with the proposal and award processes at federal agencies. If you’re interested in pursuing funds from the W.M. Keck Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or others ( find a list on our website), you need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Foundations have specific missions. If your proposal is not consistent with the foundation’s priorities, it will not be funded. The Keck Foundation, for example, funds high-risk, high-reward projects in the medical and technical sciences that no one else wants to fund, so a proposal requesting funding for equipment or run-of-the-mill research projects will not succeed. Do not submit unsolicited proposals or proposals outside desired topic areas, and be sure to look at what the foundation has previously funded.

  • Foundations vary in how they solicit and receive proposals. After you know the foundation’s mission, the next key is knowing how it wants to be approached. The process may begin with a conversation or submission of a brief white paper. When foundations like what they hear, they may ask for a longer proposal. As with any proposal, be sure to read the solicitation, instructions, and other information closely to make sure you are following preferred submission methods. Some foundations require submission by the institution, whereas others require submission by the investigator or the KSU Foundation.

  • Foundations may not fund items such as graduate research assistant tuition or Facilities and Administrative Costs. Be sure to discuss budget construction with your college’s associate dean for research or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs if you encounter prohibitions that you don’t know how to address. In some cases, a foundation may decide to fund a project and determine the budget before you write a final proposal.

  • Foundations often don’t provide reviews if they decline your proposal.

If you’re interested in pursuing funding opportunities with private foundations, you can find those opportunities in the Funding Connection, in PIVOT, or in the Philanthropy News Digest. The Grant Advisor Plus also provides good information on foundation funding in the arts and humanities. Contact Mary Lou Marino in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at or 532-6195 if you need information about using these resources. 
Agency news and trending topics
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has withdrawn a plan to overhaul how it regulates biotechnology products such as genetically engineered (GE) crops. The proposed rules , released in January as part of a broader update to federal biotech regulations, would have formally exempted some modern gene-edited plants from regulation, but industry and academic groups worried it would also add more onerous requirements for safety assessments early in the development of such products.

US Representative Lamar Smith, the controversial chairman of the US House of Representatives’ science committee, will retire when his term expires late next year. Smith, a Texas Republican, has repeatedly questioned the science behind climate change, sought to pare back the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) research portfolio and has launched dozens of probes into alleged wrongdoing by individual scientists and US government science agencies. Since taking the helm in 2013, the politician has transformed the science panel from a relatively deliberative group into an investigative weapon.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill wild mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika,  Nature’s news team has learned. On 3 November, the agency told  biotechnology start-up MosquitoMate that it could release the bacterium  Wolbachia pipientis into the environment as a tool against the Asian tiger mosquito ( Aedes albopictus). Lab-reared mosquitoes will deliver the bacterium to wild mosquito populations.

This month, bags of sliced apples will hit grocery-store shelves in the midwestern United States for the first time. Shoppers who purchase the apples can leave the slices out for snacking, because of a feat of genetic engineering that prevents their flesh from browning when exposed to air. The ‘Arctic apple’ is one of the first foods to be given a trait intended to please consumers rather than farmers, and it joins a small number of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be sold as a whole product, not an ingredient.

Publication output in peer-reviewed science and engineering (S&E) journals, books, and conference proceedings serves as an indicator of scientific research activity. New data show that S&E publication output has continued to grow, reaching 2.3 million globally in 2014, with the United States and China being the two largest producers in 2014 (19% and 17% of the world total). When counted together the European Union countries produced more S&E publications than the United States or China. Globally, S&E publications output grew at an average annual rate of 6% between 2004 and 2014, the most recent 10 years for which data are available. The growth rate varied substantially across world regions. For example, in Iran, China, and India, growth rates were 22%, 14%, and 14%, respectively, compared with 3% in the United States.

In the United States, public funding for science has not kept up with inflation over the past decade. The proposed 2018 budget from the White House recommends funding cuts for the NIH and the National Science Foundation of more than 10% each. Appropriations may ultimately be more generous, but no one is expecting Congress to repair a decade's loss of purchasing power. Meanwhile, private-sector investment has become a bigger piece of the research-funding pie — increasing from 46% in 1994 to 58% in 2012 for biomedical research. Tech companies, in particular, have been ploughing more funds into research, and moving into areas such as health and life sciences that have typically been the domain of the NIH, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

What caused the Civil War? Historians thumbing through state declarations of secession, statements in newspapers, and other primary sources have largely come to one conclusion: Slavery played the central role in sparking a war that killed more than 600,000 people. The answer is clear. The documents prove it. So why do people always ask historians like Eric Foner such a basic, and settled, question?
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