March 24, 2016

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

March 24, 2016

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

Announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research

Notes from the Desk of the iVPR

March Madness has taken on an entirely new meaning in our office. Although Spring Break marks a turning point in the semester for most of us — a chance to catch our breath before the final push of the semester and get caught up on all that has collected in the in-box — it has been a bit crazy around here.

Our office organized events that bookended the break. The first was a campus-wide networking event for faculty and staff interested in developing teams to respond to a USDA-NIFA program on childhood obesity prevention. Five interdisciplinary teams of researchers self-assembled around emerging areas of need, and many new faculty collaborations were spawned. We also sponsored the visit of a program officer from the National Endowment for the Humanities who led a workshop on proposal writing for more than 40 faculty and graduate students.

At the other end of the break, the Office of Corporate Engagement, together with members of the OVPR, KSU-IC, and KSURF, held the second annual Research Showcase focused on university-industry partnerships. About 50 corporate representatives registered for the event held in the Union Ballroom, and more than 70 faculty, staff, and student "vendors" showcased their talents and research expertise this past Tuesday afternoon. Potential corporate partners also had the opportunity to visit the KSU Foundation building, tour the facilities, and mingle with faculty and staff.

In case you think it's "all work and no fun" in the office, I had the opportunity to spend part of the break week with 16,000 chemists at our biannual national meeting, where I presented an invited talk in one of the Presidential symposia and taught a course on strategic planning in the leadership program for the Society. Chemistry is fun!

— Peter

White House Water Summit

On Tuesday, March 22, the U.S. White House hosted a national Water Summit. The event attended by hundreds included participation by Interim Associate Vice President for Research Mary Rezac. The summit produced the longest list of commitments ever associated with a White House event. Included in the list are important opportunities for new government funding relating to water quality and quantity. Also announced was the Federal Action Plan of the National Drought Resilience Partnership. Again, there are important potential opportunities for K-State researchers within this plan. Take a look.

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The National Science Foundation (NSF) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program supports research on the ecological, evolutionary, and socio-ecological principles and processes that influence the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. The central theme of submitted projects must be quantitative or computational understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics.

K-State in the News

Elsevier Publishes New Edition of Authoritative Reference Work Encyclopedia of Food Grains

Dr. Jon Faubion is the Charles Singleton Professor of Baking and Cereal Science in the Department of Grain Science, Kansas State University. He is a senior editor of Cereal Chemistry, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Cereal Chemists International, and an executive editor of Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Sustainable Rice Farming Is Empowering Cambodian Women

3/17/16 Yahoo!
The $1 million project will work directly with 250 women farmers and will run until September 2019. It’s funded by the Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University, which currently funds similar projects in in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Burkina Faso focused on using a farming practice called sustainable intensification, or SI, to address the food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers.

USAID Population Based Survey Shows Significant Reductions in Poverty and Hunger in Northern Ghana

3/17/16 Bloomberg
ACCRA, Ghana — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) presented results from its 2015 Population Based Survey during a data dissemination event in Accra, Ghana, on March 17, 2016. The survey, which is a follow-up to a survey conducted in 2012, tracks poverty and nutrition data for more than 7,000 households in 59 districts of northern Ghana. It was conducted in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service, the University Of Cape Coast, and the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University in the United States.

Forecasting a Decline in Farm Income in 2016

3/21/16 Houston Chronicle
Farm income, assets, and equity are all expected to decline nearly three percent in 2016, while farm debt is forecasted to rise about two percent. But these numbers may not tell the whole story. AAEA members Ani Katchova (The Ohio State University) and Allen Featherstone (Kansas State University), along with Jeffrey Hopkins (USDA’s Economic Research Service), met with Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

Researchers Develop Coatings to Reduce Ham Mites

3/08/16 Science Daily
A Kansas State University entomologist has helped develop new methods to keep mites away from dry-cured hams while also meeting international requirements to protect the ozone layer.

From Our Peers

Scientists Believe They've Found a 'Pregnant' T-Rex

Scientists examining the femur of a 68 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex say they've confirmed that the creature was a mother-to-be. That would be a major find in the field of paleontology, where researchers are rarely able to determine a dinosaurs's sex. The team from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences published its findings Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Being a Loud Eater May Be Good For You

Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) and Colorado State University (CSU) found the sound your food makes while you’re eating could influence how much of it you actually eat. This is known as the “crunch effect.”

Studies Find More Social Insects Have Weaker Immune Response, Highlights Role of Hygiene

3/09/16 Bloomberg
Research from North Carolina State University finds that among eusocial insects — like ants, bees and termites — the more individuals there are in a typical species colony, the weaker the species' immune response. The finding strongly suggests that hygiene behaviors, and not just immune systems, play a key role in keeping eusocial insects healthy.

Scientists Have Developed a Flexible, Stretchable 'Invisible Cloak' That Hides Objects From Radar

3/15/16 Yahoo! Finance
You might not be able to attend Hogwarts, but technology is bringing us closer to magic every day. Thanks to new research from Iowa State University, we may soon be able to take the notion of invisibility cloaks out of the realm of fiction and into our reality. Engineers from the midwest university have developed an innovative “flexible, stretchable, and tunable ‘meta-skin’ that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar.” Thanks to this material’s ability to manipulate electromagnetic waves, it’s able to “reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies.”

Antitrust Laws May Hinder Socially-Responsible Business Collaboration

3/11/16 Science Daily
Both the public and many businesses are worried about natural resource limitations and the threat of climate change. Current anti-trust laws don't fit with today's global concerns, said Inara Scott, an attorney and assistant professor in the College of Business at Oregon State University.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Lying to Get Grants

Academics routinely lie and exaggerate when telling funding agencies what impact their research will have, a series of candid interviews with scholars in Britain and Australia has suggested. Their dismissive comments about the “charade” of impact statements brings to light what appears to be an open secret in academe — that academics simply do not take such projections seriously. A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities — one in Britain and one inAustralia — who had experience writing pathways to impact (PIS) statements, as they are called in the U.K., and who, in some cases, had also reviewed such statements. It was normal to sensationalize and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found.

Say Again? NSF Massages Grant Titles With Eye on Critics in Congress

Embarrassed by a relative handful of research grants that legislators have mocked in part because of their titles, the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, Virginia, promised Congress in 2014 that it would do a better job of describing the projects it funds. Since then, NSF program officers have been paying more attention to the titles that researchers submit with their grant proposals. And that additional scrutiny is paying off.

2016 Digital Humanities Training Opportunities

The Subtle Ways Gender Gaps Persist in Science

When it comes to science, women and men remain unequal. And while stories about overt harassment dominate the news, a host of researchers are teasing out the subtle reasons for why inequalities exist.

Is Scientific Publishing About to Be Disrupted? ASAPbio, Briefly Explained

A group of biologists gathered last month outside Washington, D.C., for a conference that could help spur change in how the discipline publishes its work. United under the name ASAPbio, attendees discussed how they might upend the traditional publishing structure in the interest of speeding up scientific discovery and making scholarship more publicly accessible. The New York Times published an article about ASAPbio on Tuesday, effectively lending it more visibility. Here’s what you need to know.

The Subfield That Is Changing the Landscape of Literary Studies

A burgeoning subfield of literary studies that focuses on human beings’ impact on the environment is changing the curricula of English departments across the country. Climate fiction — cli-fi, for short — often depicts a grim future of a changed world, portraying how humanity must deal with years of environmental neglect. The genre, which has seen a fourfold increase in published books in the past six years, according to data collected by, is giving professors and students a bevy of books outside of environmental studies to anchor discussions of climate change and its consequences.