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Research

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

February 9, 2017

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

IconPursuing Partnerships

Associate Vice President for Research Paul Lowe writes about the benefits of industry collaboration and what you need to know before you build a relationship with a company. 
Working with Industry

Industry collaborations are an important component of the diversified K-State RSCAD funding portfolio and are paramount as we pursue 2025 goals. Some quick facts:

  • Sponsored project funding from for-profit industry sources constituted 7.15% of the overall funding received for K-State’s sponsored project RSCAD initiatives in fiscal year 2016. 
  • The number of industry-sponsored project awards have increased by 93% in the last five years.
  • K-State has increased its number of Master Research Agreements with strategic corporate sponsors from 7 to 35 in the last five years.
  • Vice President for Research Peter Dorhout has identified corporate collaborations as one aspect of K-State’s funding portfolio with excellent growth potential.
Why Work with Industry?

Industry-funded research drives innovation and economic development. Industry-university collaboration is vital to the global economy because it ensures our nation’s ability to compete in the global innovation ecosystem and establishes K-State as a partner in this pursuit. Partnerships pay dividends both by training students and by reframing faculty approaches to entrepreneurship.

Industry depends upon research universities to develop a talent pipeline of students who are prepared to make meaningful contributions to the company’s innovation objectives. Working on industry-funded RSCAD activities helps students gain valuable insight and training and become marketable as candidates for employment. As these students develop their careers, they can become champions within their organizations for directing resources to K-State for continued collaborations.

Bringing industry research needs to K-State also allows our faculty to broaden their research perspectives and pursue research goals outside the traditional federal agency funding model. Working on industry-funded research helps faculty members gain valuable insight into the business contexts and applications of their work, which leads to a more entrepreneurial approach to plotting a plan of research that not only solves problems or fills a knowledge gap, but also identifies how to contribute to economic growth and the innovation ecosystem.

What Do I Need to Know?

Cultural differences in how industry and universities operate can be substantial, and we must work hard to bridge those differences. K-State has consistently overcome differences through fostering open dialogue, educating potential industry collaborators, and building consensus that allows both organizations to meet their objectives. 

1. Timelines: Faculty should be aware that industry operates in a different time frame than the academic calendar, so project timelines need to be realistic. We need to be transparent about anticipated obstacles to timely completion of a project.

2. Negotiations: The Office of PreAward Services can help identify underlying issues and address them during contract negotiations. For example, K-State operates as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit institution of higher education, so certain IRS revenue procedures dictate that K-State conduct business in fulfillment of that public purpose. As a result, PreAward Services negotiators pay close attention to contract clauses related to publication, data ownership, intellectual property, and confidentiality and ensure that these provisions are consistent with K-State’s tripartite public mission, but yet are also responsive to industry needs. They also make sure that contract clauses comply with all public policy mandates and State of Kansas laws and regulations, including insurance, liability, and open records concerns. 

3. Progress updates: Our experience has shown that industry collaborators require more frequent progress updates than traditional federal agency sponsors. Corporate sponsors tend to manage their externally funded research portfolio and report progress to their decision-makers in a way that demonstrates a return on investment, so active communication is crucial to reinforce the value proposition that K-State researchers can provide. 

4. Budgets: Most industry sponsors are not well versed in governmental accounting practices and may be confused by budget documents that present K-State’s cost of performance in the form of a federal government agency budget format. PreAward Services has development an industry budget development tool that converts standard budget formats to an industry-friendly format.

Being aware of these industry information needs goes a long way in nurturing successful relationships with industry partners.

Where Can I Find Help?

K-State has been a member of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership and has actively participated in this organization since 2006. UIDP is a project-oriented organization whose industry and university members identify relevant issues and opportunities to develop new approaches to working together. We have capitalized on our UIDP membership by developing many resources to help transition our way of thinking from the traditional agency-funded grant mode to a more industry-centric mode of project engagement, thus positioning K-State to be more responsive, or “industry-friendly,” a term granted to universities that position themselves for productive collaborations and strategic partnerships with industry. 

The Office of the Vice President for Research maintains a staff of trained individuals who can assist with building industry collaborations. Individuals within PreAward Services collaborate closely with the Kansas State University Research Foundation, the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, and the KSU Foundation when finalizing industry partnerships. They especially aim to protect K-State intellectual property and ensure industry sponsors are well positioned to market K-State innovations.

Training related to the nuances of industry partnering are important components of becoming an “industry-friendly” research university. We have several options.

  • Working With Industry Boot Camp: Recordings and materials from this previously offered special training event can bring new faculty up to speed or offer a refresher course.
  • Working With Industry Workshops Menu: Individual workshops drill down on specific topics and can be customized for departments or other groups.
  • Research Showcase: Units reporting to the Vice President for Research and other collaborating offices have provided this outreach opportunity for the last two years. This year’s event targets Greater KC industry and will be held at K-State Olathe on May 17.
Ready to Collaborate? 

Whether you are a seasoned pro or contemplating engaging with industry sponsorship for the first time, several people are ready to help. 

  • Paul Lowe, PreAward Services, 2-6804 or plowe@ksu.edu: Engagement strategy, processes, contracting, “how-to” questions, face-to-face partnering sessions, budgeting strategies
  • Chris Brandt, Kansas State University Research Foundation, 2-572 or brandtcd@ksu.edu: Protection of intellectual assets (including patents and copyrights), patent disclosure process
  • Ken Williams, Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, 2-3906 or ken@ksu.edu: Licensing of intellectual assets, business startup
  • Rebecca Robinson, Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, 2-3955 or spexarth@ksu.edu: Economic development, industry attraction, collocation
  • Mitzi Richards, Kansas State University Foundation, 2-7507 or mitzir@found.ksu.edu: Corporate philanthropy and relations

Look for more from this team in the coming weeks!

— Paul

Announcements and Events icon

Announcements and Events

Don't miss training opportunities, resources, or other events or news for K-State researchers.

Participate in the Innovation and Economic Prosperity survey and open forum, find upcoming workshops and training sessions, and register for the Research Showcase.
Innovation and Economic Prosperity Designation

Thanks to all who attended the first open forum or who have filled out the IEP survey to help K-State join an elite group of institutions. The 15-minute survey is open through February 13, and a second open forum is slated for Monday, March 6 at the K-State Innovation Center at 2005 Research Park Circle from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. RSVP to the forum or email Kiley Moody at kmoody@ksu.edu for more information. Find out more about the program.

Workshops and Training

Info Sessions, training opportunities, and workshops are listed on our events calendar. 
Upcoming events:

  • FDA and USRG internal grant program info session: TODAY at 3:00 and February 20 at 3:30, Union 207
  • Grant writing workshop for grad students, postdocs, and junior faculty: February 16 and 17
  • Research communication workshop: March 7
  • NSF CAREER workshop: April 19
  • Broader Impacts info session and exhibition: May 10
2017 Research Showcase

K-State RSCAD is hitting the road this spring! Register by March 1 to join the team headed to K-State Olathe on May 17.

  • Represent K-State to Greater KC companies
  • Meet many possible collaborators in a short time
  • Establish new funding streams
  • Find out more about what your colleagues are doing

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RSCAD Results

ORSP awards Faculty Development Awards and University Small Research Grants each semester. Find out how K-State faculty used the funds to jump-start their projects. 

Maureen Gorman receives $401,526 National Science Foundation grant to study mechanisms of iron transport in insects. 

Iron is both essential and potentially toxic to animal life. Physiological processes that provide the right amount of iron at the right time are partially understood in humans and other mammals, but these processes have not been discovered for insects and other invertebrate animals. The National Science Foundation has awarded Maureen Gorman, research associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, $401,526 to study mechanisms of iron transport in insects.

Gorman conducted a pilot study funded by a University Small Research Grant from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in fall 2015 to gather preliminary data. She purified three proteins and sent them to a facility that makes antibodies, which she then used for immunoblots. The reagents and data demonstrated the feasibility of her proposed NSF project, which is tentatively slated to start on February 1, 2017.

A potential long-term outcome of Gorman’s research is better understanding and management of both beneficial and destructive insects.

“Insects are essential to the world’s food supply because of their role in pollination and biological control of pests, but they also transmit diseases and cause significant economic losses due to damage to crops and other products,” Gorman said.

“Improvements in insect management strategies rely on new information about insect physiology,” she said.

The project will also provide resources for undergraduate research opportunities.

The department of biochemistry and molecular biophysics is in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

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Funding Highlights

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs.

Opportunities for European art and architecture, art conservation, and art history are this week's highlight. 

The Kress Foundation has three programs with upcoming deadlines on April 1.

  • The History of Art Grants Program supports scholarly projects that will enhance the understanding and appreciation of European art and architecture;
  • The Conservation Grants Program supports the professional practice of art conservation, including conservation research, scholarly publications, international conferences and symposia; and
  • The Digital Resources Grants Program supports efforts to integrate new technologies into the practice of art history and the creation of important online resources in art history, including both textual and visual resources.

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Agency News and Trending Topics

Keep abreast of funding agency updates and trending RSCAD topics that are in the news. 

Curricular changes to help humanities PhDs, NIH and NSF news, seeking solutions to human-caused earthquakes, and more.
Opening Doors for the Ph.D.

Colleges make curricular changes to get doctoral students in the humanities better prepared for careers outside academe.

NIH to Expand Critical Catalog for Genomics Research

The National Institutes of Health plans to expand its Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project, a genomics resource used by many scientists to study human health and disease. Funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH, the ENCODE Project is generating a catalog of all the genes and regulatory elements — the parts of the genome that control whether genes are active or not — in humans and select model organisms. With four years of additional support, NHGRI builds on a long-standing commitment to developing freely available genomics resources for use by the scientific community.

Research Commitment Index: A New Tool for Describing Grant Support

On this blog we previously discussed ways to measure the value returned from research funding. The “PQRST” approach (for Productivity, Quality, Reproducibility, Sharing, and Translation) starts with productivity, which the authors define as using measures such as the proportion of published scientific work resulting from a research project, and highly cited works within a research field.

Reminder of New Policies Now – Or Soon To Be – In Effect

A number of NIH policies became effective in January. Here’s a brief recap.

National Science Foundation Reports

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
Survey of State Government Research and Development: FYs 2014 and 2015

Deadly New Wheat Disease Threatens Europe’s Crops

An infection that struck wheat crops in Sicily last year is a new and unusually devastating strain of fungus, researchers say — and its spores may spread to infect this year’s harvests in Europe, the world’s largest wheat-producing region.

Under Pressure, Scientists Seek Solutions to Human-Caused Earthquakes

In today's economic reality, whether wastewater injection should continue is off the table. Researchers at Stanford University have turned instead to the question of where the injections should occur. So far they have mapped the natural geologic stresses throughout Oklahoma and Texas—the states with the largest populations at risk from human-induced quakes—and have discovered that only a fraction of faults hold the potential to slip in the presence of moderate pressure increases.

Science and the US Supreme Court: The Cases to Watch in 2017

Nature looks at the science-related cases that are already on the court's agenda this year, and others that are likely to advance to the highest court in the land.

  • Biological drugs
  • Patents for genes
  • Water-pollution limits
  • Endangered species
  • Climate-change rules
March for Science

The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Research Spotlight

Waithaka Mwangi, an associate professor in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, talks about his work and "mind-blowing" collaborations on bovine anitbodies and their reported capability to neutralize HIV.

Seek

Read Seek, K-State's research magazine