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Office of the Vice President for Research
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Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News

June 22, 2017

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

IconORSP Opportunities

Beth Montelone writes about a new approach to helping K-State faculty compete for CAREER awards.



The National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program, or NSF CAREER, is the agency’s most prestigious award for early career faculty. These five-year awards with a minimum budget of $400,000 in total costs are expected to provide recipients with a “firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.” They are offered by all NSF directorates with mid-July deadlines and are open only to untenured, but tenure-track, faculty members.

Because CAREER awards are multi-year, large awards, as might be expected, they are very competitive. CAREER proposals also differ from standard proposals in that they must include a plan for the individual’s career development and goals and must articulate how the proposed activities in both the research and education arenas will further those goals. It is important to show how work proposed will address the integration of the research into the educational activities and vice versa.

ORSP has for several years collaborated with the College of Engineering and other units to provide guidance to faculty members preparing CAREER proposals. This year, as an experiment, we developed the concept of a CAREER group writing clinic. Fifteen individuals from 11 departments signed up for the clinic. Activities included a series of steps: 1) answering a set of questions designed to facilitate writing the introduction to the proposal; 2) modifying answers to the questions and drafting the introduction; 3) revising the introduction on the basis of feedback from facilitators and peers; 4) drafting a budget; and 5) drafting the 15-page narrative. The 15 participants were broken into three peer groups on the basis of disciplinary area; groups were facilitated by ORSP staff and Drs. Brad Kramer (department head, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering), Ronaldo Maghirang (associate dean for research, College of Engineering), and Zongzhu Lin (professor, mathematics).

The clinic is still in progress. We expect about half the original participants to submit CAREER proposals this summer. Others have been advised to try for other opportunities first and submit in a future year. We await the results of this experiment and hope that it has been a valuable exercise for all participants and leads to increased success for K-State faculty members in this challenging and high-profile competition.

— Beth Montelone

Announcements and Events icon

Announcements and Events

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

NSF is moving, U.S. Cuba policy is changing, and FBI—USDA-APHIS will offer a free joint investigations course at K-State in early August. 


NSF Move and Downtime

The National Science Foundation is moving its Data Center IT servers to the Foundation’s new headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT through July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT, to prepare for NSF staff relocation in August 2017. The NSF website, FastLane, and Research.gov will be unavailable from Friday, June 30 at 8:00 PM EDT until Tuesday, July 4 at 6:00 PM EDT. During this outage period, there will be no access to these websites, proposals cannot be submitted in FastLane, and project reports and cash requests cannot be submitted in Research.gov. However, previously saved information and uploaded documents in FastLane and Research.gov, including in-process proposals and reports, will be accessible after the Data Center move. This move has been scheduled around a holiday weekend to minimize the systems downtime and reduce the impact on the research community and NSF staff. Find more information.

Changes to U.S. Cuba Policy

The University Research Compliance Office is keeping a close eye on changes to U.S. Cuba Policy and the impact on travel to Cuba. Read an update on the right side of the International Travel page of the URCO website. URCO will provide further updates as information becomes available.

Free Joint Investigations Course

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD)-Biological Countermeasures Unit (BCU) and the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) have launched a new curriculum to teach the basics of animal and plant diseases and joint investigations. K-State will host the free Animal/Plant Health Joint Criminal-Epidemiological Investigations Course August 8-9, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Union. Registration is required. Find more information and register.


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. 

Andrew Orr presents work on French responses to the Turkish War of Independence at World Congress of the International Commission of Military History.



Andrew Orr, assistant professor of history, presented “France and the ‘Victorious Turks:’ French responses to Mustafa Kemal and the Turkish War of Independence, 1919-1923” at the World Congress of the International Commission of Military History in Plovdiv, Bulgaria last fall. His paper will be published in the peer-reviewed conference proceedings, “Regional Wars, Global Impacts.”

Orr’s work draws on French military, diplomatic, and press accounts to explore how French officials struggled to understand the Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal and trace how their misunderstanding of him shaped French policy during the Turkish War of Independence. The paper studied the formation of the modern Syrian-Turkish border, a region which has been at the center of the Syrian Civil War since 2011.

Orr, who teaches in the interdisciplinary Security Studies program at K-State, plans to develop the paper into a scholarly monograph. Travel to the conference helped Orr obtain valuable feedback and allowed him to market K-State Security Studies.

“The conference helped me refine my second book project by taking advantage of international expertise while I am still at a formative stage in the process,” Orr said.

Orr met with officers from Senegal, Ghana, and Bulgaria while at the conference and has entertained multiple inquiries about the Security Studies program since those meetings. 

“The History and Security Studies programs have been expanding their international footprints for the last several years, and it is vital that K-State professors appear on the international stage if we are going to attract foreign students to Manhattan” he said.

Orr’s travel was supported by the department of history and a Faculty Development Award from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in spring of 2016.


Funding Highlights

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

Note this week's announcements of 10 standing NSF programs in engineering.



The Funding Connection includes announcements for 10 standing National Science Foundation (NSF) Programs in engineering: Operations Engineering (OE); Engineering and Systems Design (ESD); Dynamics, Control and Systems Diagnostics (DCSD); Computer and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E); Biomechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB); Dynamics, Control and Systems Diagnostics(DCSD); Engineering for Natural Hazards (ENH); Materials Engineering and Processing (MEP); Mechanics of Materials and Structures (MOMS); and Nanomanufacturing (NM). All are due on September 15, 2017.


Agency News and Trending Topics

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

DOE announces investment in rare earth element research, the Venice Time Machine applies machine learning to history, Indian research labs face financial crisis, and more.


Adverse Events at Research Facilities: Letter to the Editor from the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare

In their oversight of animal welfare in biomedical research, OLAW has encountered events that endanger the health and well-being of research animals. In this paper, we share OLAW’s experience to encourage institutions to proactively plan appropriate measures to avoid or mitigate adverse advents. OLAW defines adverse events as those unexpected incidents that lead to harm, or endanger the well-being of animals and humans at a research facility. This article also provides information to help institutions maintain optimal care for their research animal population during adverse events while complying with the federal regulations and guidelines.

Agricultural Research: Perspectives on Past and Future Successes for the 2018 Farm Bill

Access video of last week’s hearing and submit input for consideration in the upcoming Farm Bill.

DOE Announces $6.9 Million for Research on Rare Earth Elements from Coal and Coal Byproducts

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy today announced it is investing $6.9 million in rare earth element (REE) research through two funding opportunities.  DOE announced today that three projects have been selected to receive approximately $3 million for research aimed at producing salable rare earth elements (REEs) from domestic coal and coal by-products. In addition, DOE has announced the availability of an additional $3.95 million for projects in three new topic areas to accelerate separation and extraction processes for REEs.

NIH’s Next Generation Researchers Initiative

At the Advisory Committee to the Director meeting last week, NIH Principal Deputy Director Dr. Larry Tabak presented a new NIH initiative to strengthen the biomedical workforce. This presentation followed extensive discussions with stakeholders both here through this blog, at stakeholder meetings, and at NIH advisory council meetings over the last month. We heard unequivocal endorsements for supporting early-career and mid-career researchers given the hypercompetitive funding environment — a challenge we have addressed many times in our blog posts. However, many voiced concerns about our taking a formulaic approach to capping grant funding and called on us to be more direct in enabling greater support for the next generation of biomedical researchers. For this reason, we have shifted our approach to a focused initiative to support early- and mid-career investigators. As described in a June 8 NIH Director’s statement, and in recognition of the call for such action in the 21st Century Cures Act, we are naming this effort the Next Generation Researchers Initiative

The ‘Time Machine’ Reconstructing Ancient Venice’s Social Networks

History hangs heavy at the Frari, and computer scientist Frédéric Kaplan likes it that way. He has an ambition to capture well over 1,000 years of records in dynamic digital form, encompassing the glorious era of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. The project, which he calls the Venice Time Machine, will scan documents including maps, monographs, manuscripts and sheet music. It promises not only to open up reams of hidden history to scholars, but also to enable the researchers to search and cross-reference the information, thanks to advances in machine-learning technologies. If it succeeds, it will pave the way for an even more ambitious project to link similar time machines in Europe’s historic centres of culture and commerce, revealing in unprecedented detail how social networks, trade and knowledge have developed over centuries across the continent. It would serve as a Google and Facebook for generations long past, says Kaplan, who directs the Digital Humanities Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).

The Crisis in Flint Isn’t Over. It’s Everywhere.

To obsessed water engineer Marc Edwards, the lead crisis in Flint is just the beginning of an epidemic.

New Concerns Raised Over Value of Genome-Wide Disease Studies

Compare the genomes of enough people with and without a disease, and genetic variants linked to the malady should pop out. So runs the philosophy behind genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which researchers have used for over a decade to find genetic ties to diseases such as schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis. But a provocative analysis now calls the future of that strategy into question — and raises doubts about whether funders should pour more money into these experiments.

Indian Research Labs Face Financial Crisis

India’s 38 premier scientific laboratories are in a budgetary pinch. A jump in expenditures on salaries, pensions, and perks for government employees, recommended by an advisory commission, is leaving little money for new research in the budget of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), based in New Delhi, which oversees the labs and their 4600 scientists. The increase in personnel expenses comes on top of a 2015 call by the government for CSIR to raise 30% to 50% of its total budget itself by commercializing its technologies.

China’s Quantum Satellite Clears Major Hurdle on Way to Ultrasecure Communications

Just months into its mission, the world’s first quantum-communications satellite has achieved one of its most ambitious goals. Researchers report in Science that, by beaming photons between the satellite and two distant ground stations, they have shown that particles can remain in a linked quantum state at a record-breaking distance of more than 1,200 kilometres. That phenomenon, known as quantum entanglement, could be used as the basis of a future secure quantum-communications network.

Bloomberg Commits $15 Million to UN Climate Change Framework

In response to President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $15 million commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretariat. The commitment is aimed at filling a significant funding gap resulting from the U.S. withdrawal from the pact as well as mitigating the steep budget cuts the president has proposed for a range of federally funded international programs, including climate initiatives.

Scholars Talk Writing

Way back in 2010, Michael C. Munger, a political scientist at Duke University, wrote a terrifically helpful essay called "10 Tips on How to Write Less Badly." Those tips are still plenty useful, and things haven’t gotten much better on the scholarly writing front. See also:How to Avoid a Post-Scholar America

Research Spotlight

Raymond "Bob" Rowland, Kansas State University professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has created a way to protect swine offspring from the devastating PRRS virus during reproduction.

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