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Research

Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News

October 27, 2016

The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities, and academic trends.

Announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research

Notes from the Desk of the VPR

The Science article that is cited below reminded me that communicating complex research to the general public is an important challenge for faculty, postdocs, and students at all levels — not just so that we can promote our own research, but so we can help educate the public about what exciting things are happening here at K-State in your disciplines.

Communicating our research to the public doesn’t need to be at the level of a U.S. president; in fact, one could argue that it’s just as important to be able to describe it to the voters as to politicians. As a faulty member, I asked my graduate students (and undergraduate thesis students) to write a chapter that described their research for their grandmother. Recognizing that some grandmothers are chemists, my “Grandma’s Chapter” assignment was really designed to get students to think differently and communicate effectively about complex, sometimes esoteric, topics.

As I travel outside the university environment, I’m frequently asked, “why does K-State do research, and why is it important?” Last week, I attended “Science on Tap,” a community-focused, informal research event for students, faculty, and the general public. It was sponsored by the Sunset Zoo, as part of their Behind the Science initiative, organized by faculty in our Division of Biology, and cosponsored by our Center for Engagement and Community Development. Other opportunities to share our research with the public include the Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) and the workshop on communicating your research that was organized by the Graduate Student Council earlier this month. Today, I will be speaking at the noon Rotary about K-State research.
Whether describing your research to the POTUS, local legislators, your neighbors, or Grandma, improving your skills at communicating complex subjects to the general public will be invaluable regardless the path of your career. Look for more of these and similar events throughout the year and come out and help the public learn and appreciate your research.
— Peter
First Tuesday

VPR Dorhout will address the First Tuesday gathering for campus leadership on November 1. He is looking forward to discussing the OVPR strategic refresh and the research challenges ahead. 

Congratulations to KSU-IC and KBED

A K-State program brought home the University Economic Development Association Award of Excellence for Innovation for an event series that brings K-State faculty and staff together for interdisciplinary collaboration and  economic development. Read more.

Tell Your Story

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is seeking science, engineering, and mathematics students for its Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow Program. Fellows are placed at media organizations for 10 weeks in the summer, and they learn to polish their communication skills while writing about complex scientific issues for the public. Read about the program and about one writer’s experience.

Don't Miss These Events!
  • Diversity Research Forum: November 3, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Union Ballroom
  • Finding Success with USDA Grant Programs: November 3, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Alumni Center Purple Pride Room (please register)
  • NSF CAREER Information Session: November 8, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Alumni Center Purple Pride Room (please register)
  • SCOPUS Training Session: November 16, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Hale Library Hemisphere Room (please register)

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail research@k-state.edu or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 4: EPSCoR Research Fellows (RII Track-4) provides opportunities for non-tenured faculty to further develop their individual research potential through extended collaborative visits to our nation’s premier private, governmental, or academic research centers. These awards cover up to six months of salary support plus travel and living expenses and support for one additional trainee level researcher (graduate student or postdoc). Proposals must present exciting, vibrant fellowship ideas that have potential to transform the PI’s individual career trajectory and more broadly impact his/her research field, institution, and jurisdiction. Proposals may focus on any area of science or engineering that NSF supports. This is a limited submission with notifications of interest (title and 3-4 sentences on what you want to do and where you want to go) are due to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs via orsplimitedsubs@ksu.edu by 5 pm November 16.

K-State in the News

Physicists Use Lasers to Capture First Snapshots of Rapid Chemical Bonds

10/24/16 The Science Explorer
Lasers have successfully recorded a chemical reaction that happens as fast as a quadrillionth of a second, which could help scientists understand and control chemical reactions. The idea for using a laser to record a few femtoseconds of a molecule's extremely fast vibrations as it breaks apart came from Kansas State University physicists. Chii-Dong Lin, university distinguished professor of physics, and Anh-Thu Le, research associate professor in James R. Macdonald Laboratory, are part of an international collaborative project published in the Oct. 21 issue of Science. "If you want to see something that happens very, very fast, you need a tool that can measure a very, very tiny time period," Lin said. "The only light available in femtosecond measurements is a laser."

K-State, USAID Feed the Future help Cambodia Ag Research Center

10/25/16 Usagnet
Kansas State University has received a $2.5 million award from the U.S. Agency for International Development to boost agricultural innovation and growth in Cambodia, a country where 80 percent of the population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. USAID's Cambodia mission made the award through the university's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, which was funded by USAID in 2014 to improve global food security by developing technologies that help farmers produce more food and nutrition on the same land base while protecting natural resources. Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor of agronomy and the lab's director, said the award will be used to establish the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition at the Royal University of Agriculture, known as RUA, in Phnom Penh.

Vaccine Breakthrough Could Help Tackle Foot-rot in Sheep

10/22/16 Farmers Weekly
Antibiotics-free control of a bacterium responsible for calf diphtheria and liver and foot abscesses in sheep and cattle could be around the corner, researchers say. A $1.5m (£1.23m) Kansas State University (KSU) project has patented a method to vaccinate cattle against Fuscobaterium necrophorum infection, which causes liver abscesses. A vaccine against the bacterium in cattle is currently undergoing testing, according to the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

USDA Awards More Than $14.5 Million to Support Plant Health and Resilience Research

10/22/16 Southeast Green
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to support research into plant health, production and resilience. These grants were made through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The grants were awarded through AFRI's Plant Health and Production and Plant Products (PHPPP) area, which supports basic and applied research in the following areas: understanding plant-associated microorganisms and plant-microbe interactions; controlling weedy and invasive plants; and plant-associated insects and nematodes.
Understanding Plant-Associated Microorganisms and Plant-Microbe Interactions: Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan., $500,000

State Leads Project to Advance Animal Health on Organic Farms

10/18/16 Minnesota Ag Connection
The University of Minnesota (U of MN) has been awarded a three-year, $1.4 million project to advance animal health on organic farms from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI). Researchers involved are from the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine, with partners from the University of Colorado, Kansas State University, and The Ohio State Veterinary College. The collaborative effort will assess innovative preventive and curative approaches for mastitis, lameness, reproductive disorders, calf health, and fly management under field conditions on organic dairies across the Nation. Alternative therapies and prevention strategies for common cattle diseases in an organic dairy herds will be evaluated on several large organic dairy farms in Colorado, as well as at the U of MN West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris, Minn.

From Our Peers

Groundbreaking Adhesive Tape Will Repel Any Liquid You Can Think of

10/21/16 Yahoo! News
How well do you know your superomniphobic materials? If you’re like most people, the possible answers are “not very well” and “I think I missed the class where they taught us what a superomniphobic material is.” “A superomniphobic material is a material that is extremely repellent to virtually any liquid,” Arun Kota, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado State University, explained to Digital Trends. “That could be an acid or base, an organic liquid or an aqueous liquid, a food-grade liquid, a solvent, whatever you can think of. Whatever you choose, chances are that the surface can repel it. Think about the kind of Teflon nonstick frying pans we use at home, but multiplied by around one thousand times. That’s how nonstick we’re talking!”

Humans Eating Wild Mammals Into Extinction

10/19/16 Yahoo! News
More than 300 wild mammal species in Asia, Africa and Latin America are being driven to extinction by humanity's voracious appetite for bushmeat, according to a world-first assessment released Wednesday. The species at risk range from rats to rhinoceros, and include docile, ant-eating pangolins as well as flesh-ripping big cats. “These species will continue to decline unless there is major global action to save them," Bill Ripple, a professor at Oregon State University and lead author of the study, told AFP.

OSU to Break Ground on New Undergraduate Lab Building

10/20/16 SFGate
Oklahoma State University will break ground on a new laboratory building that's funded in part by an anonymous donation of $1 million. The university says the gift and a matching $1 million contribution from the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology will allow them to begin work for the new engineering and technology lab for undergraduate students. OSU says enrollment in engineering programs has doubled at the university in the past decade and the funding allows for the development of modern laboratories that provide hands-on education at the school. The building will house 14 undergraduate research labs, a lecture hall and student-project space

Boosting Levels of Known Antioxidant May Help Resist Age-Related Decline

10/24/16 Science Daily
Researchers at Oregon State University have found that a specific detoxification compound, glutathione, helps resist the toxic stresses of everyday life — but its levels decline with age and this sets the stage for a wide range of age-related health problems. A new study, published in the journal Redox Biology, also highlighted a compound — N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC — that is already used in high doses in medical detoxification emergencies. But the researchers said that at much lower levels NAC might help maintain glutathione levels and prevent the routine metabolic declines associated with aging.

Clemson Students Name Novel Legionella Strain: Clemsonensis

10/20/16 Phys.org
The Clemson family has gained a new namesake: Legionella clemsonensis, a novel strain of the Legionella bacteria, the most common cause of waterborne bacterial outbreaks in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the honor of naming L. clemsonensis to students in a collaborative research group called CU and the CDC, which includes students from Clemson's Creative Inquiry (CI) program for undergraduate students and officials in the CDC Legionella lab. The newly named strain of Legionella was part of a batch of 68 strains the CDC sent to Clemson students to analyze. "While we knew they were Legionella, they didn't match up to anything in the current database of bacterial species. It's like knowing their last name but not their first names," said Tamara McNealy, an associate professor of biological sciences who forged the collaboration with Claressa Lucas, director of the CDC Legionella lab, to characterize unknown Legionella strains.

RSCAD Trending Topics

AOL Co-Founder Steve Case on the Rise of Second Cities

In recent years a critical shift has started to take hold: The ubiquity of cloud services is lowering barriers to entry for technology startups. Public policy changes including the JOBS Act, which legalized securities-based crowdfunding for startups, are making it easier for entrepreneurs to start companies no matter where they are. Since startups account for nearly all of the U.S. economy’s net new jobs, these changes will nurture more startup ecosystems across the country, with young entrepreneurs ditching Manhattan, N.Y., for Manhattan, Kan. A city’s likelihood to rise—or fall—will come down to whether its leaders embrace the three P’s: people, purpose and partnerships.

To Save Money, NSF Requires University Cost-Sharing for Rotators

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has decided that universities should pay 10% of the salaries of faculty members working temporarily at the agency. NSF hopes the new policy will demonstrate its commitment to saving taxpayer dollars without alienating the academic community that it relies upon to stay on the cutting edge of basic science. But the changes, which also curb travel and eliminate subsidies for lost consulting opportunities, could make it more difficult for the agency to attract talented academic help.

Science Lessons for the Next President

George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election after promising to be a "compassionate conservative" who would cut taxes, promote education, and boost the economy. His presidency, however, soon became dominated by the 2001 terrorist attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But history will note that two science-focused events bracketed the 9/11 attacks. A month earlier, Bush wrestled with whether to allow federal funding for research involving stem cells taken from human embryos. And just a week after the attacks, someone mailed anthrax-filled letters to media outlets and politicians, killing five people and prompting the White House to launch a massive effort to improve bioterror defenses.

Report: Misconduct at A&M Campus Led to Animal Mistreatment

Infighting and poor oversight, including an instance of "profound neglect," contributed to the mistreatment of animals at a Texas A&M University campus, according to federal and university reports.

The Polling Crisis: How to tell What People Really Think

As the US presidential election approaches, pollsters are scrambling to improve their methods and avoid another embarrassing mistake. Their job is getting harder. Until as recently as ten years ago, polling organizations were able to tap into public opinion simply by calling people at home. But large segments of the population in developed countries have given up their landlines for mobile phones. That is making them more difficult for pollsters to reach because people will often not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers.

Doubts About Data: 2016 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

It has been another tumultuous year in educational technology. The past 12 months have seen new ways to deliver education and course materials, newstart-ups promising to revolutionize teaching and research, and new questionsabout the role of technology in and outside the classroom. In the midst of those new developments, old concerns remain. Faculty members are still worried that online education can’t deliver outcomes equivalent to face-to-face instruction. They are split on whether investments in ed-tech have improved student outcomes. And they overwhelmingly believe textbooks and academic journals are becoming too expensive. The findings also show faculty members are creating new opportunities with technology.

Revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide is Available

The PAPPG has been modified in its entirety, to remove all references to the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and Award & Administration Guide (AAG).  The document will now be referred to solely as the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide.  The document will be sequentially numbered from Chapter I-XII and all references throughout have been modified to reflect this change. Given the number of important revisions, the community is strongly encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided at the beginning of the PAPPG. The new PAPPG will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017.  In addition to the significant change mentioned above, other revisions include:

  • Addition of new sections on Special Processing Instructions and Types of Proposals, including two new types, RAISE and GOALI;      
  • Additional instructions for proposers on completion of the Collaborators and Other Affiliations information;
  • Supplemental guidance on submission of proposals by organizations impacted by a natural or anthropogenic disaster;
  • Implementation of 45 CFR 690.118 for applications and proposals lacking definite plans for involvement of human subjects;
  • Update on the type of information that NSF may request from proposers with regard to Federal environmental statutes;
  • Supplemental information regarding treatment of NSF awards with canceled appropriations; and
  • Numerous other changes and clarifications throughout the document.

Webinars to brief the community on the new PAPPG will be held on November 7thand January 19th at 1 PM EST.  Registration is required on the outreach events website.