September 19, 2018
Funding Connection

  • The National Endowment for the Humanities Collaborative Research Grants support groups of two or more scholars engaging in significant and sustained research in the humanities and encourage interdisciplinary work, both within the humanities and beyond. 
  • The National Science Foundation Smart and Connected Health program seeks to accelerate the development and integration of innovative computer and information science and engineering approaches to support the transformation of health and medicine.
  • Read more of this week's featured opportunities
From the desk of the VPR
Earlier this week, our office reported in K-State Today that K-State has witnessed a third straight year in extramural funding growth and a record-setting year for total grants and funding awarded.  Almost $162 million in grants were funded from nearly $540 million requested. That takes a tremendous amount of work.

Faculty, together with students and staff, need to craft their ideas into very concise and well-documented arguments focused on agency or industry needs. The rule sets are complex and convoluted, and the peer review is brutal, especially for federal agencies whose funding has been essentially flat the past few “continuing resolution” cycles. Nevertheless, we experienced incredible growth in NSF and NIH funding last year. Congratulations to all our K-State researchers for their successes!

K-State also saw increases in industry-funded projects — the number of new projects grew by almost 300 — and expanded the number of executed Master Research Agreements, which have been held up as a "best-in class" collaborative contracting approach by strategic corporate sponsors. This honor reflects best practices recognized by the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, or UIDP. The UIDP is a project-oriented organization that grew out of the National Academies, where members identify issues impacting university-industry relations and opportunities to develop new approaches to partnership and collaboration. Our associate vice president for research, Paul Lowe, and president and CEO of the K-State Research Foundation, Chris Brandt, spent last week at the semi-annual UIDP meeting and workshops sharing our successful approaches. K-State is a long-standing member of the UIDP. As an employee of the university, you are encouraged to register with UIDP so you can access UIDP resources. 

Industries, local and global, are paying attention to the great things we are doing at K-State.  Our faculty, students, and staff shattered last year’s record number of invention disclosures by more than 25%, and our licensing revenues fell just short of $3 million last year.

These are amazing accomplishments in the face of reduced state and federal funding for research. The OVPR team is committed to providing grant writing, patenting, and working with industry workshops as well as compliance training to enhance your chances of a successful grant proposal or renewal. Stay tuned and stay safe!

Events and announcements
  • The Kansas Science Communication Initiative invites interested students, graduate students, faculty, and staff to attend a meeting and social on September 20 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at JP's Sports Grill at Jardine. Light refreshments will be provided — and don't miss the surprise announcement!

  • Thank a research administrator: September 25 is National Research Administrator Day. Make plans to celebrate those who support the Kansas State University research enterprise. If you are a research administrator looking for support and information, join the K-State Research Administrators Council.

  • National Science Foundation Resources
  • NSF encourages all reviewers to watch an orientation video, "The Art and Science of Reviewing Proposals." Access the video in FastLane or watch it directly. A link at the end of the video lists additional resources, helpful hints, and a feedback survey.
  • NSF is holding its next Electronic Research Administration Forum on September 26 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Topics will include proposal preparation and submission functionality for collaborative proposals, the new award notice, and more. Find more information and register.

  • Identifying Graduate Fellowship Opportunities on September 27 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in Union 207 will discuss key funding opportunities from a range of agencies, including fellowships in the humanities and social sciences. Please register.

  • The National Science Foundation Fall 2018 Grants Conference is November 8-9 in New Orleans. The events are designed to provide new faculty, researchers, and administrators with key insights into a range of issues, including proposal preparation and merit review basics, award management topics, and more. Find more information and register.
NSF 2026 Idea Machine
The National Science Foundation 2026 Idea Machine is a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science can engineering.

Participants can earn prizes and receive public recognition. Each final winning entry will receive a cash prize of $26,000, and its authors will be invited to a recognition event in the Washington, D.C. area.

Entrants are invited to submit "Big Ideas" for future investment by October 26.
Agency news and trending topics
Congress has approved a $2 billion raise, to $39.1 billion, for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in a 2019 spending bill  approved by House of Representatives and Senate negotiators. As expected, the 5% boost matches  the Senate’s proposed spending level  and surpasses  a $1.25 billion increase in a draft bill  passed by the House. President Donald Trump’s  administration had requested $34.8 billion  for the fiscal year that begins 1 October. This is the fourth year in a row that NIH has received a substantial increase, after more than a decade of flat budgets.

The U.S. Congress today sent President Donald Trump a 2019 spending bill that boosts funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) basic research efforts—and rejects  deep cuts to the department’s applied research programs that the White House had proposed . If Trump signs the bill into law—as many observers expect—DOE’s Office of Science would get a 5.2% spending boost, to $6.585 billion, in fiscal year 2019, which begins 1 October. In contrast, the Trump administration had proposed slashing the Office of Science budget by 13.9% to $5.39 billion.

Although the number of meta-analyses has exploded, many don’t bring clarity—whether it’s on the effect of “positive parenting,” the relation between antidepressants and suicide, or the health benefits of organic produce. One reason is that, although the basic rules of the meta-analysis are simple, researchers must make many choices along the way, allowing conscious or unconscious biases to creep in. In the case of media violence, for instance, the groups dealt in different ways with the problem that many studies aren’t published, and they applied different quality criteria in choosing the studies to be included.

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has awarded its three annual prizes, regarded as the United States’s most prestigious biomedical research awards, to four researchers in fields including genetics and anesthetic drug development. The Laskers often precede a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Since the awards were founded in 1945, 87 Lasker laureates have later gotten the call from Stockholm.

Ever wondered why so many people don't read instruction manuals, or how many calories are in the human body? Or whether stabbing a voodoo doll representing your horrible boss with pins could help reduce workplace tension? The winners of this year's Ig Nobel Prizes have got you covered. Established in 1991, the Ig Nobels are a good-natured parody of the Nobel Prizes, honoring "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think." The prizes have always been perceived as a celebration of scientific silliness, an impression strengthened by the unapologetically campy awards ceremony. 
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