Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News
April 13, 2017
The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities, and academic trends.
Mastering Master Agreements
Associate Vice President for Research Paul Lowe writes about K-State's success in negotiating master agreements with industry.
The K-State Research Showcase will be here soon. More than 70 faculty members or groups have registered exhibits for the May 17 event at K-State Olathe. This is just one example of K-State’s 2025 efforts to increase its collaboration with industry. PreAward Services is ready to help faculty collaborate with industry partners—both the new ones they meet in May or the ones they already have or are currently contemplating—and one way we do that is through master agreements. These agreements can help universities and companies strengthen and broaden their relationship across a partnership continuum, with the goal of establishing long-term strategic relationships and to speed up the time it takes to implement projects by eliminating the need to renegotiate terms each time partners work together.
Sometimes the culture gap between the university and industry can seem insurmountable. A lack of understanding on how to bridge this gap can delay negotiations, but K-State takes a holistic and collaborative approach to engaging with corporate partners and negotiating agreements. We have seen increasing success:
- K-State realized a 47% increase in the number of corporate sponsored RSCAD transactions from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016.
- Executed master research and service agreements have increased from a total of 7 to more than 40 in the past five years.
- Numerous industry collaborators have said they were expecting much longer deliberations than what they experienced and have commented on the “industry-friendliness” of K-State’s contracting process.
Our industry-friendliness has grown from K-State’s increased emphasis placed on corporate partnerships as a part of 2025; our active participation in the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership; and a more coordinated effort between PreAward Services, the K-State Research Foundation, the K-State Institute for Commercialization and the K-State Foundation, all of which have adopted a view toward proactively managing and coordinating corporate relationships across the multiple possible entry points in a partnership continuum.
When we start to work with a company, we identify upfront the company’s needs and the form of partnership it is seeking. Many times, a company desires multiple forms of engagement, and the various offices tasked with industry engagement work together to facilitate engagement with the potential corporate partner. For example, recently a company was seeking a collaborative relationship with K-State and wanted not only to fund research projects, but also to seek technical expertise from faculty and centers across campus to perform services based on company’s existing technologies. This company also desired to develop a location in proximity to K-State and was interested in existing K-State patented technologies. These discussions involved many of the previously mentioned offices, along with the engagement of the City of Manhattan, further demonstrating the breadth and diversity of K-State’s RSCAD activities, its correlating economic development impact, and the reputation of K-State as being positioned to collaborate with industry from a more strategic perspective.
When these discussions begin, the next step is ensuring that everyone agrees on the project space that a proposed collaboration will reside in, that expectations are clearly communicated, and that reasonable timelines and budgets are established. Our team helps faculty members adjust thought processes and mindsets from those they may adopt when interacting with a federal funding agency, for example, so that we can bridge what may seem to be disparate missions and expectations within the university-industry interface. Differences may exist in the areas of performance completion expectations that require reconciliation between a corporate partner’s timeline when compared to an institution’s academic calendar. Differences between standard governmental budgeting procedures and how corporate partners understand cost estimates require us to consider how cost projections can be presented in a more “industry-friendly” format. K-State’s record in the last five years indicates that this approach is appreciated and indicative of a collaborative partnering mindset.
Finally, our negotiators work hard to identify the appropriate contracting vehicle that will provide the appropriate legal framework for the collaboration. K-State has developed many industry-friendly, collaborative contracting templates, a few of which are posted in the Faculty Resources section of the Vice President for Research website. Our robust collection of agreement templates provides the requisite language that supports collaborative engagement and expedites the drafting of the final agreement for all parties, while also passing the litmus test associated with the many public policy and regulatory requirements that govern K-State as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt institution of higher education.
Our team is happy to engage with you and facilitate your work with industry. To get started, contact PreAward Services at 2-6804 or email me at email@example.com. We’ll also be attending the Research Showcase. Don’t hesitate to bring your prospective partners to our table for an in-person introduction.
— Paul Lowe
Announcements and Events
Don't miss training opportunities, resources, and other events or news for K-State researchers.
K-REx Helps Faculty House Interim Research Products
The National Institutes of Health released a notice in March encouraging investigators to use interim research products such as preprints to “speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work.”
The K-State Research Exchange, or K-Rex, can help investigators accomplish that goal. K-REx showcases a variety of content created by K-State research, scholarly, and creative activities and discovery efforts and is globally accessible by anyone with Internet access. According to Ryan Otto, digital scholarship librarian at K-State Libraries, Federal funding bodies such as the NIH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other funding sources are pushing hard for public access both to help reviewers see preliminary work associated with funding proposals and to speed the flow of information for efforts such as the Cancer Moonshot. K-REx provides the infrastructure that is necessary to share preprints and other interim research products.
“Peer review may take a few months to a year, and quick dissemination of initial work is what NIH is really looking for,” Otto said.
- Submissions should allow lead time of at least one week.
- Displaying interim research products in K-REx does not preclude display or publication in other venues.
- The NIH notice contains instructions for citing interim research products in applications, proposals, and reports.
Contact K-REx via the Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship at 532-7444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building a Budget Workshop for Research Administrators
The Research Administrators Council is offering two opportunities to view the National Council of University Research Administrators "Building a Budget" virtual workshop. The sessions are:
- 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Thursday, April 20 in Union 207
- 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 8 at Unger Complex Ste. 600 conference room, 2323 Anderson Ave.
Federal Budget and Budget Policies
In case you missed it: VPR Peter Dorhout and Director of Government Relations Sue Peterson wrote about federal budget issues in Monday’s K-State Today.
BRI Research Fellows Lecture
Arturo Casadevall, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will deliver “Insights into the Origin of Virulence from Model Organisms” at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 21 at the Biosecurity Research Institute lecture hall. Casadevall is a globally known expert in humoral immunity, molecular biology, virulence, and cryptococcosis. His lab focuses on how microbes cause disease and how the human immune system defends itself. The goal of his research is to protect people from harm caused by new pathogens and resistant organisms and by compromised immune systems resulting from HIV, cancer therapy treatment, and other causes. All are welcome to attend.
Workshops and Training
Info sessions, training opportunities, and workshops are listed on our events calendar. Upcoming events:
- NSF CAREER workshop: April 19
- NSF EAGER webinar from Principal Investigator’s Association: May 3
- Broader Impacts info session and exhibition: May 10
The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs.
The Department of Defense's Fiscal Year 2018 Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) provides support for scientists and engineers demonstrating exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research who have received recent Ph.D. or equivalent degrees. The program objective is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering; enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators; and increase opportunities for the young investigator to recognize the Air Force mission and related challenges in science and engineering.
Agency News and Trending Topics
Keep abreast of funding agency updates and trending RSCAD topics that are in the news.
NSF is implementing a new pilot that will: 1) standardize collaborator and other affiliation information across the Foundation; and 2) ensure that such information is submitted in a searchable format. NSF’s Proposal and Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 17-1) requires principal investigators (PIs), co-PIs, and other senior project personnel identified on proposals to NSF to no longer include collaborator and other affiliation information in their biosketches, but rather to individually upload this information as a Single Copy Document that is seen only by NSF staff. (See PAPPG Chapter II.C.1.e) This pilot is consistent with these PAPPG requirements. Note: The new Collaborators and Other Affiliations pilot will only be for FastLane proposal submissions.
The system goes back decades, reflecting what universities have long considered a central bargain: Their scientists perform research the government considers necessary in return for the government paying the incidental expenses. But the U.S. secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, threatened last week to overturn that deal, telling Congress that the government could stop paying those costs without suffering any loss in university research output.
Three weeks ago, nearly 2,000 energy innovators, investors, and policymakers gathered at the eighth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit to discuss cutting-edge energy technologies and the future of energy innovation. During the three-day program, attendees from across the U.S. and 25 other countries heard from industry and government leaders, networked at focused receptions and panel discussions, and saw first-hand more than 280 technologies featured in ARPA-E’s Technology Showcase.
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has released a report, "America's Languages: Investing in Language Learning for the 21st Century." It grew from a bipartisan group in Congress to undertake a new study of the nation's language education needs. The report offers concrete recommendations to improve access to as many languages as possible, for people of every age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.
Given these challenges, we propose an alternative and more dynamic model wherein foundations and universities cooperate at much earlier stages in the research process, working together to identify emerging problems that are of significance to both. In a co-creative process, foundations are able to fund projects, and researchers are able to deliver their findings on the basis of a jointly identified problem. Foundations would serve as reservoirs of knowledge, not just sources of money, as both foundations and universities act to shape research agendas.
For professors the stakes are high when it comes to summer productivity. It’s during these months that tenure-track faculty, especially, need to keenly focus on doing the research and producing the scholarship that are the coins of the realm for tenure and promotion. And at a time when professors are under increasing scrutiny for what they accomplish, all faculty have an additional incentive to have something to show for their "time off.” While professors know that summer time is critical to their careers, they’re often unsure about how to avoid common pitfalls of the three-month period, time-management experts say. At the core of setting the stage for summer productivity is coming up with a plan that includes realistic goals and then sticking to it.
Citation data could soon emerge from behind their paywalls. The Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) aims to allow anyone to access science papers’ reference lists and to build analytical services on top of those raw data. The venture, started last year by the Wikimedia Foundation in San Francisco, California and five other partners, announced at its official launch on 6 April that 29 organizations, including some of the world’s largest scientific publishers, have now agreed to openly release citation data.
Tourists visiting the town of Klosterneuburg in eastern Austria often head for the 12th century monastery or the nearby memorial to author Franz Kafka. Virologists and evolutionary biologists, however, may one day pay homage to the town's sewage treatment plant, which has yielded a genome that appears to be from the most cell-like viruses yet. These oddities challenge the controversial hypothesis that so-called giant viruses are descendants of a vanished group of cellular organisms—a fourth domain of life. Instead, the study argues, these outsized viruses have more pedestrian origins.
Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that an experimental treatment cured 100 percent of guinea pigs and rhesus monkeys in late stages of infection with lethal levels of Marburg and Ravn viruses, relatives of the Ebola virus. Although the Marburg and Ravn viruses are less familiar than Ebola virus, both can resemble Ebola in symptoms and outcomes in people, and both lack preventive and therapeutic countermeasures.
OF THE MANY great things promised by Crispr gene editing technology, the ability to eliminate disease by modifying organisms might just top the list. But doing that requires perfecting something called a gene drive. Think of gene drives as a means of supercharging evolution to, say, give an entire population of mosquitoes a gene that kills the Zika virus. The trouble is, organisms develop resistance to gene drives, much like they eventually outwit pesticides and antibiotics.
Our hope is that universities will see the current climate as a call to marshal our best arguments and our most effective allies, in business and in public life, to make the strongest possible case for public investment in research.