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Research

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

June 8, 2017

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

IconFrom the Desk of the VPR and Governmental Relations

Peter Dorhout and Sue Peterson write about the federal budget process and how K-State is working to address concerns about research funding.

 

 

Proposed federal funding budgeted for basic research in 2018 appears to be in jeopardy according to the budget released just before Memorial Day.

The president’s request for reductions include cuts to Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Agriculture. Conversely, basic research in science at NASA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Department of Defense are targeted to realize slight increases. Agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are targeted for significant reductions despite enjoying slight funding increases in the 2017 budget.

Kansas State has enjoyed steady growth in research expenditures for a number of years, and it continues to be recognized as a global leader in many areas, so hearing that federal funding may be reduced has our community of scholars concerned. Supporting excellence in what we do is critical to fulfilling our land-grant mission, educating students and emerging scholars, and serving as an engaging resource for promoting economic development. All of that depends upon a diversity of funding sources.

We have been broadening and diversifying our research support through building corporate partnerships, engaging private foundations, and connecting with alumni and friends who share in our perspectives on funding research and scholarly endeavors. We have also been advocating for growth, not reductions, in funding that supports fundamental and applied research with our federal delegation. Many professional societies and other organizations are doing likewise.  

So what can you do? First, we need information from you so we can formulate the right messages about how changes will affect K-State. Communicating the impact of the budget proposals is crucial. Please email the Office of Governmental Relations at kstategr@k-state.edu with information about how the budget recommendations will affect your office, area, or unit so we can provide updates to our members. Let us know what you are hearing from your professional associations and societies as well as stakeholder groups. We will be assembling a list of what’s important to K-State and will advocate strongly for our state, our institution, and our research enterprise.

Second, familiarize yourself with the excellent information gathered by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The federal budget process is long, but it is ramping up in earnest. Thank you for taking time to communicate with us. We remain optimistic about making continued progress in disseminating and reinforcing our messages, and we will continue to keep you informed.

— Peter and Sue

Announcements and Events icon

Announcements and Events

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

Note important USDA funding opportunity modifications, register for the free 2017 Indian Country Conference, and find information about an upcoming One Health Innovations Symposium and other training options from NIH and NEH. 
USDA Modifications

Three application packages for USDA funding opportunities have been modified. If you downloaded application packages from any of these opportunities from www.grants.gov before May 22, 2017, you MUST download and use the new application package to avoid generating an error message that prevents successful submission. The affected opportunities are as follows:

  1. Opportunity Title: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative- Foundational Program; Funding Opportunity Number: USDA-NIFA-AFRI-006351
  2. Opportunity Title: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative- Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate Challenge Area; Funding Opportunity Number: USDA-NIFA-AFRI-006351
  3. Opportunity Title: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative- Water for Food Production Systems Challenge Area; Funding Opportunity Number: USDA-NIFA-AFRI-006304

Please contact PreAward Services at 532-6804 if you have questions.

2017 Indian Country Conference

"Protecting and Empowering Family," a free conference, invites registration by June 14. The conference will be held June 20-21 at the University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park, Kansas. Find more information and register.

2017 One Health Innovations Symposium: Preventing the Next Pandemic

In partnership with the Schools of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri and Kansas State University, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute will present a two-day symposium August 27 and 28. The symposium is focused on translational and comparative aspects of human and animal medicine. The event is designed for physicians, veterinarians, and scientists interested in research and clinical studies and is timed to coincide with the Central Veterinary Conference in Kansas City. Read more and register.

NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration

Learn more about the NIH process and hear the latest policies directly from more than 65 NIH and HHS experts October 25-27 in Baltimore, Maryland. The early bird seminar rate is available through June 9. Read more.

NEH Object Lessons Workshops

How can scholars and nonfiction authors write for broader audiences while maintaining intellectual rigor and developing their academic profiles? In 2017-2018, Object Lessons will host four NEH Institutes. These workshops will offer guidance and strategies for answering this question, especially in light of trends in the humanities toward open access publishing; evolving expectations for tenure and promotion; and the emergence of new publishing opportunities such as e-books, digital media projects, and online venues that cater to blended audiences across academia and general readerships. Four separate two-day workshops are planned; applications are due June 30, 2017.

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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. 

Kate Digby presents work in Toronto, explores biomedical applications of performance technique.

 

 

Kate Digby, assistant professor of dance, traveled to Toronto, Canada last month to perform “Simurgh Study 1” at The Brink. The performance of the work in progress was part of a collaborative interdisciplinary project called PACIS, or Performance, Art, and Cyber-Interoceptive Systems. PACIS collaborators are working to develop art that uses human-computer interfaces to enhance intimacy of the performance. 

The group found that performers such as actors or dancers who are able to systematically recreate emotion through physiological awareness forge better connections with audience members. PACIS measured the physiological impact of the technique on audience members using biosensors to chart galvanic skin response, a chemical reaction in the body related to emotional arousal. Performers who had the most experience in sensing their own autonomic nervous system processes while performing — known as the Batdorf Technique — had more of an impact on the audience than those who do not use the approach, even when the content of their performance seemed outwardly less emotional. 

“People who had the most experience in the Batdorf Technique had the most measured impact on the audience members even though we weren’t doing as much. I was laying on the floor breathing, while Erika Batdorf stood and slowly moved her arms towards and away from the audience members. Other, younger, actors had emotionally and physically intense Greek monologues that required them to move quickly about the space and even scream in agony, but the bioinformative measurements showed more impact on the audience from the artists who were most aware of their internal processes,” Digby said.   

Digby said the recent performance helped PACIS make continued progress on the artistic content of “Simurgh” as they seek further funding. Digby also created a piece titled “A Mysterious Forest” for SpringDance earlier this year that will contribute to the larger project. 

“We used a devised theatre process — meaning actors contribute creatively to the piece through directed improvisations— to create a first draft of the theatrical content with actual bodies moving in space in relation to each other. Prior to this performance, we have been working conceptually on the development of the artistic work,” Digby said. 

Biomedical scientists and engineers are interested in the efforts of PACIS because of the push to advance wearable medical devices as sensors. Recent neuroscience has found that emotions are stored in our bodies physically, and drawing on involuntary processes and invoking mirror neurons in audiences have applications in therapies or treatments for a variety of conditions. 

Digby and PACIS are exploring further performance collaborations in Toronto and Santa Barbara, California, and have received invitations to present their research in London and at Oxford University this summer. Digby’s travel was supported by the Dance Program of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a Faculty Development Award from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in fall 2016.

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Funding Highlights

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

A multidisciplinary program from the Department of Defense includes opportunities for engineering and physical sciences as well as biological and social sciences.

 

The Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative Program supports basic research in science and engineering at U.S. institutions of higher education. The program is focused on multidisciplinary research efforts where more than one traditional discipline interacts to provide rapid advances in scientific areas of interest to the DoD. Twenty-five topics of interest are listed by armed forces branch; most are in the engineering and physical sciences, but some are in the biological and social sciences.

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Agency News and Trending Topics

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

Read updates from NSF, NIH, the US Economic Development Administration, the Kansas Health Foundation, and more. 
Court Strikes Down FAA's Drone Registration Rule

Your new drone has one fewer hoop to jump through on its way from its box to its first flight, thanks to a court decision on Friday that invalidates the requirement for non-commercial drone pilots to register their craft with the Federal Aviation Administration.

NIH is Firm on Plan to Limit First-Person Grant Awards

Despite facing protests, the National Institutes of Health promised Wednesday to move ahead with a plan to impose a general limit of three major grants per researcher, persuaded by data linking quantity to declining effectiveness. "We are determined to take some action now that we have this data," the NIH’s director, Francis S. Collins, told a House appropriations subcommittee. "When you’ve seen that data," he added after the hearing, "you can’t just walk away and say, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’" Dr. Collins was referring to statistics compiled in recent months by Michael S. Lauer, the top NIH official in charge of external grant awards, showing that researcher productivity as measured by journal citations tends to decline once a scientist holds at least three major NIH grants. See also: Testimony on the Transformative Power of Biomedical Research

NSF News: Proposal & Award Policy Newsletter (PDF) and Headquarters Move

Find information about a new template for New Collaborator and Other Affiliations, revised Research Terms and Conditions, the NSF Electronic Research Administration Forum, and more. Also note the NSF headquarters move to Alexandria, Virginia.

Digital Gap Between Rural and Nonrural America Persists

Rural Americans have made large gains in adopting digital technology in recent years, but they remain less likely than nonrural adults to have home broadband, smartphones and other devices. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of rural Americans say they have a broadband internet connection at home, up from about a third (35%) in 2007, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2016. Rural Americans are now 10 percentage points less likely than Americans overall to have home broadband; in 2007, there was a 16-point gap between rural Americans (35%) and all U.S. adults (51%) on this question.

US Economic Development Administration Success Story: KCSourceLink

Our University Centers are making a real difference in providing the support businesses and communities need for success. One example is the University of Missouri Kansas City’s KCSourceLink University Center program, which connects a network of over 240 entrepreneurs and small businesses in the 18-county Kansas City region to find the right business resources to start, scale or accelerate.

Chief of Naval Research Issues Challenge for Innovation and the Future Force

The Chief of Naval Research (CNR) has issued a historic call for innovative ideas to support the Navy and Marine Corps of the future. Leap-ahead technologies and cutting-edge concepts are the focus of the new CNR Concept Challenge, with finalists to be announced at the Naval Future Force S&T Expo, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., July 20-21. The Expo is co-sponsored by the American Society of Naval Engineers.

KHF Invests Nearly $5 Million for Healthier Kansas Communities

The Kansas Health Foundation is pleased to announce 18 communities will be receiving more than $4.7 million in funding through its Healthy Communities Initiative: Improving Health Equity in Kansas. Each community will receive $75,000 a year for 3 ½ years (or, $262,500 per community) to strengthen community coalitions and address social and economic issues that impact health.The health equity focus requires communities to identify a priority population group that may be experiencing negative health outcomes, and create solutions for a healthier community.

7 Things Doctors Are Buzzing About at the Biggest Cancer Research Meeting

With 38,000 oncologists converging on the sprawling McCormick Place for the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the halls in the convention center are as crowded as Manhattan sidewalks at Christmastime. Watch out or you'll get run over as attendees rush to the next meeting of the minds. The conference, which opened Friday and wraps up Tuesday, features hundreds of sessions and poster presentations ranging from the highly technical (“Predictive biomarkers of ipilimumab toxicity in metastatic melanoma”) to tips for everyday practice (“Patient communication: Balancing hope versus reality"). While most of the topics are as serious as, well, cancer, there are some lighter moments. Here's a look at a few things that have been getting play.

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