September 29, 2021
Fertile Ground
Greetings from the Office of the Vice President for Research. I hope that your fall semester is off to a great start. My first two months as VPR have been full of listening and learning. I’ve been hearing from many across the university and throughout our community and state. From this important listening and learning, I’ve been piecing together three important things:

  1. My own understanding of what makes Kansas State University so special.
  2. An appreciation for our history and heritage as Kansas’ land grant university.
  3. The beginnings of an ambitious, compelling and exciting plan forward for research, innovation and economic development at K-State.

This week we are releasing a report that summarizes our research activity for the last year — one that saw new records for awards and research funding received. We also launched our Kansas Board of Regents Pillar 3/ K-State Economic Prosperity website, which will be updated regularly with plans and achievements (as well as metrics and milestones), to keep those inside and outside the university informed on our progress.

As I continue to reach out to your colleges, departments, labs and offices, I hope you will continue to reach out to our office to let us know how we can best serve your needs. As I said in my first Fertile Ground message, our office is committed to your success as faculty members engaged in research, scholarship and creative works. We will continue to seek ways to lower barriers, reduce burdens and create efficiencies — all of which are aimed at enabling your greatest success.

We are also working hard to identify opportunities to support large, transdisciplinary, multi-college research activities at K-State, in particular, those that directly align with our institutional priorities around:

  1. Bio and agro-defense and security.
  2. Digital, precision and next-gen agriculture.
  3. Global food systems.

Properly envisioned and articulated, these three meta-areas can be inclusive of nearly every part of the university.

In the coming weeks, I will be convening groups of faculty and other members of our academic community to begin articulating a Cyber Land Grant vision for K-State. The time is right — both on our campus and nationally as higher ed emerges from the pandemic and public research universities think about their critical roles in the decades ahead — and I hope many of you will join me in this effort.

My best wishes for the unfolding fall semester. Stay healthy, stay well and stay in touch.
David V. Rosowsky, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
David Rosowsky
URCO Updates: Semiannual Inspections
Fall 2021 IACUC semiannual inspections are scheduled for October 1-15.

The K-State Semiannual Inspections page on the IACUC website has guidance including:

  • Documents to prepare.
  • Signs to post.
  • Common deficiencies.
  • The checklist generated by the National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, which the K-State IACUC uses as a reference checklist.

The K-State Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or IACUC, performs routine semiannual inspections of research and teaching animal facilities consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Welfare Regulations and Public Health Services Policy.

For questions about the K-State IACUC semiannual inspections, contact Megan Trapp in the University Research Compliance Office at or 532-3233.
Events and announcements
Identifying Graduate Fellowship Opportunities Information Session
3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 7
via zoom

The K-State Graduate School, the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships and the Office of Research Development are hosting an Information Session on Identifying Graduate Fellowship Opportunities. This session will provide an overview of key graduate fellowship opportunities from funders such as NSF, NIH, DoD, DoE, Hertz Foundation, and the American Association of University Women. Opportunities in the Humanities and Social Sciences will also be specifically addressed. The session will conclude with a brief tutorial on how to search for fellowships on your own.
U-I Partnerships in the Social Sciences
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
October 14, 2021

The University of Maryland, College Park, in collaboration with UIDP and with support from the National Science Foundation, MITRE, and the Consortium of Social Science Associations, will host a two-part workshop, convening a diverse group of experts and leaders from academia, industry, and government to consider how academic-corporate partnerships can advance social, behavioral, and organizational science research to positively impact science and society. Part one of the workshop will be a virtual workshop on October 14, 2021, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., and part two will be an in-person workshop at the University of Maryland, College Park, on April 20-21, 2022.

With the rapid growth of social networks over the last two decades and the corresponding availability of big data, the behavioral and social sciences have become increasingly important to the development and growth of organizations’ capacity to understand and address global challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of social science research during societal crises. Social, behavioral, and organizational science can help institutions address societal needs, and these contributions can be magnified through collaborations between academia and industry.

NSF Webinar Re: Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation Solicitation
Noon-1:30 p.m.
October 15, 2021

NSF will be hosting a webinar for the Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation Solicitation on Friday, October 15, from noon-1:30 p.m. You will need to register to join the webinar. 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Revisions in the new CSSI solicitation include: 

  • The Program Description has been updated to introduce a new project class on “Transition to Sustainability.” 
  • The description of the “Framework Implementations” class has been revised to encourage proposals for sharable and reusable multi-disciplinary cyberinfrastructure.
  • A new “CI Professional Mentoring and/or Professional Development Plan” requirement has been introduced.
  • Proposals may now include requests for high-throughput computing resources through the Partnership to Advance Throughput Computing project supported by NSF.
  • The Programmatic Areas of Interest section has been revised to reflect the most recent programmatic priority areas for the collaborating NSF directorates and divisions with respect to the CSSI solicitation. 
  • The proposals submitted in response to this solicitation must be prepared and submitted via or via, and may not be prepared or submitted via FastLane.
Feel free to contact one of the CSSI program directors listed in the solicitation, in advance of the webinar, if you have questions specific to your proposal.
Research Connections
3-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 26

Everyone engaged in research, scholarly, and creative activity and discovery at K-State are invited to attend and exhibit at this internal event.

  • Explore interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Find resources.
  • Promote your work.

Exhibitors will have a table and display space for posters, banners, signs, handouts and some limited equipment or other items. Exhibitors must register no later than Tuesday, Oct. 12. Attendees can register through Monday, Oct. 25.

EPSCoR Track 2
This a notice for groups to start thinking about the next NSF EPSCoR Track 2 submission round. These proposals are typically due in late January with an LOI due in mid-December. This is also a limited submission program with internal notification likely due to K-State’s Office of Research Development near the end of October when NSF anticipates the new Request for Proposals will come out.

The National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Track 2 builds inter-jurisdictional collaborative teams of EPSCoR investigators in scientific focus areas consistent with NSF priorities. Projects are investigator-driven and must include researchers from at least two EPSCoR eligible states with complementary expertise and resources necessary to address challenges, which neither party could address as well or rapidly independently. There is a good chance the focus area for this next round will be “Advancing research towards Industries of the Future to ensure economic growth for EPSCoR jurisdictions” because NSF typically keeps an EPSCoR Track 2 focus area for two years and last year was the first year for this focus area. However, looking at last year’s RFA will be helpful because this program has a strong emphasis on developing a diverse, well-prepared, STEM-enabled workforce necessary to sustain research competitiveness and requires a workforce development plan as part of the submission.

Keep checking the Research Weekly events section for further updates on this program and the internal notification and preproposal due dates.
K-State research in the news
Agency news and trending topics
In the publish-or-perish world of academia, it’s often believed that only one kind of publication matters: the peer-reviewed journal article. Academic papers play an outsize role in determining faculty appointments, tenure decisions and the respect of colleagues in one’s field.

Scientists have found three viruses in bats in Laos that are more similar to SARS-CoV-2 than any known viruses. Researchers say that parts of their genetic code bolster claims that the virus behind COVID-19 has a natural origin — but their discovery also raises fears that there are numerous coronaviruses with the potential to infect people.

On Aug. 5, 2011, the Juno spacecraft blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral and started its 5-year journey to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. The spacecraft carried a mass of scientific equipment designed to determine parameters like the planet’s composition and the amount of water present, as well as map out its gravity field. Juno also carried some unusual passengers: three tiny Lego figures. They represented the Roman sky and thunder god Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei, the scientist who studied Jupiter’s four largest moons in 1610.

Between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago, people squished through the mud along a lakeshore in what is now New Mexico, alone and in small groups, leaving behind their footprints. Or at least that’s the conclusion of a new paper that Oregon State University, Corvallis, archaeologist Loren Davis calls “potentially groundbreaking.” If the dates are right, the discovery would be the strongest evidence yet that people reached the Americas during the middle of the last ice age, thousands of years earlier than many archaeologists thought.

More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, much about how the human body responds to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains unclear. Some people have a severe or fatal reaction to infection, while others show no obvious symptoms. Some people bounce back quickly. Others experience so-called “long COVID,” symptoms that persist long past recovery from the initial stages of illness.
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