May 11, 2015
Professional development helps researchers make a wish
Dear K-State faculty and staff,
You've probably heard the old joke about a professor and two postdocs escaping the lab for lunch and finding a magic lamp. When they rub it, the genie says each can make one wish. The two postdocs immediately wish to be transported to exotic locations to relax on beaches and enjoy sun, sand, and fruity beverages. The professor, the last to wish, thinks for a bit, then says, "I wish for my postdocs to be back in the lab after lunch."
The joke hits home as we wind down another busy semester. This year, we began to tackle some serious, not-so-pleasant issues, including policy and finance cleanup. In response to your concerns, we added personnel to meet the rapidly growing needs of the RSCAD engine. We also worked to recognize that, like the postdocs from the joke, everyone needs a break now and then. We can't whisk everyone away to a beach, but we can offer opportunities to pause and think about how our work fits into the larger picture of K-State research, how we can best communicate what we do, and how we can reach out to potential partners and funding agencies. To that end, we encouraged you to step away from your desks, labs, and projects and make time for professional development. Here's a brief rundown of some of the outstanding opportunities we offered in the 2014-15 academic year.
• September: Grant Writing 101 gave lessons in the fundamentals of grant writing to 80 participants. We also partnered with the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships and the Graduate School to provide graduate students and undergraduates a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) informational panel populated by past GRFP reviewers.
• October: A Broad Agency Announcement information session gave 25 participants insight into this tool government agencies use to solicit research proposals focused on basic and applied research.
• November: A workshop gave 35 attendees overview and advice for developing submissions for the National Science's Foundation's prestigious CAREER awards in support of exemplary junior faculty.
• December: A live webinar, "Winning NIH Grants: Swimming with the Sharks," was presented by Dr. Rosemarie Hunziker, program director of tissue engineering/regenerative medicine and biomaterials at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health. Eighty participants registered and appreciated the opportunity to ask questions.
• January: One-hour training sessions on SCOPUS, the largest abstract citation database of peer-reviewed literature, were held in cooperation with the K-State Libraries, with approximately 30 participants per session.
• January through April: Working with Industry Boot Camp was held in a series of seven sessions, each with 35-50 faculty and staff participating. Sessions addressed enhancing industry engagement and partnerships to replace public support and reach K-State 2025 goals. This training was offered in partnership with the Office of Corporate Engagement, the K-State Institute for Commercialization, and the Kansas State University Foundation. Recorded sessions are available here.
• April: A National Science Foundation workshop, "Science: Becoming the Messenger," was held with 120-130 attending the first-day sessions to hear advice on effective messaging (use that messaging triangle!) and presentations (avoid death by PowerPoint!) as well as social media and video basics. Participants on the second day practiced media interviews and presentations and had everything from slides to gestures to verbal habits critiqued. These 17 hardy souls dealt with hostile questions from the "media"; they lived to tell the tale and they are better communicators as a result.
• May: A Fulbright information session gave campus scholars advice on how to navigate this excellent program, and the K-State Research Facilities and Resources Showcase on May 13 will boast more than 50 exhibitors to help inform researchers where they can find the collaborators and materials they need to continue doing brilliant work.
• Funding Basics, How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal, and National Science Foundation Basics: Our staff offered these trainings upon request for graduate-level courses or other groups with limited experience who were looking to improve National Science Foundation submissions.
If you don't find a magic lamp that whisks you away to a beach in the Bahamas or the sands of Hawaii, we hope to have you join us for future sessions. We look forward to continuing to help you, our researchers, build the skills you need to be successful in your fields and to communicate K-State's potential and successes to funding agencies and the public. Please let us know how you've applied what you've learned or if you'd like training in a particular topic during the next academic year at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for an introductory overview of sponsored research overhead fund expenditures to appear in K-State Today in July.
Best wishes for a productive summer and a magic lamp,