October 13, 2016

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

October 13, 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 VPR

The week began with Conversations about Colonialism and Education, hosted by the Staley School of Leadership Studies and organized by the Indigenous Alliance. Keynote speakers’ presentations may be found here if you were not able to attend and would like to learn more about the research presented and the discussions that followed. Speakers presented diverse perspectives about their research and how cultural contexts enrich the conversations around topics such as the environment and education.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking
we used when we created them.”

— A. Einstein

That was a powerful quote shared by Prof. Dan Wildcat (Dean of Natural & Social Sciences, Haskell Indian Nations University) and speaks to my passion for engaging in research with interdisciplinary and cross-cultural teams of collaborators. It also speaks to my view that to be a Top 50 Public Research University. We need to not focus on our resource challenges but on how we can grow the research capacity through partnerships with industry or government, private foundation or private citizen, and by leveraging the talents and facilities that we do have to further our mission.

I spent one lunch hour with the staff of Human Capital Services and shared some of our recent research outcomes and opportunities with them and asked them to help us attract and retain our researchers. Cathy Dawes, KMAN radio, interviewed me on Wednesday about research, which was an engaging discussion about how our scholarship and discovery affects not only our students and our disciplines but how it also affects the people of Kansas and the world. It was just as exciting to share my personal experiences with undergraduate research, both as a student and a mentor, during my SPARK Week coffee chat with undergraduates, “Can Curiosity Save the World?” I think it can — but I’m curious to find out.

— Peter

Join the Research Administrators' Council

All K-State professionals working in research administration at the department, college, or central administration levels in preaward or postaward capacities are invited to join the newly formed Research Administrators Council to exchange ideas. A kickoff meeting and lunch will be held October 18. Find the details and register to join the group and/or attend the lunch.

Beyond Bullets and Bombs

Discuss opportunities to work with the Department of Defense and learn how to align your interest area, expertise, and research focus with the needs of DoD organizations at a training session on October 20 at 3:30 in the Alumni Center Purple Pride Room. Find more information about this session and others on our events calendar.

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

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

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The goals of NSF’s Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) solicitation are to enhance the understanding, design, and operation of interdependent critical infrastructure systems and processes that provide essential goods and services despite disruptions and failures from any cause, natural, technological or malicious, and to provide opportunities to innovate in independent critical infrastructure services (ICIs) to enrich society with new goods and services. The diversity of types of infrastructures and the central role played by information and human behavior require a multi-disciplinary approach to studying, designing, and controlling their performance under different operating conditions. Successful proposals in all categories are expected to broadly integrate across the engineering, social, behavioral and economic sciences, and computing, information, and computational science, enabling a new interdisciplinary paradigm in infrastructure services research to develop new representations and theoretical frameworks for predictive capability, system design, and control.

K-State in the News

Hurricane Matthew Prep: Grab These Key Financial Documents in an Evacuation

10/6/16 MSN.com
Priority in an evacuation should be given to your own safety, said certified financial planner Ann Coulson, an assistant professor at Kansas State University's Institute of Personal Financial Planning. While it can help to bring along harder-to-replace documents (such as birth certificates) or ones that can help in the aftermath of a storm (such as your insurance policy), tracking those down shouldn't delay evacuating, she warned. "A lot depends on time," she said. "Their lives should come first." ... Based on recommended lists from the Red Cross, the Insurance Information Institute and ASPCA, here's some of the documentation that would be good to bring with you, if possible, in an evacuation ...

Tiny House Villages Are About to Be the Next Big Housing Trend, According to Researchers

10/9/16 Cosmopolitan
Tiny house villages could soon be big—really big. According to researchers at Kansas State University, tiny house villages are environmentally friendly, they promote a sense of community, they encourage healthy lifestyles and habits, and they’re a safe and affordable housing option for the masses. Forall of these reasons, the experts are hoping that tiny house villages will spread across the country in the near future, according to The Wichita Eagle. Tiny homes, designated as abodes that clock in under 1,000 square feet, don’t make up much of the real estate market right now. As of 2015, only one percent of home buyers wanted to live in a so-called tiny home, according to the National Association of Realtors—but the Kansas State researchers think this may soon change. "We think [living in a tiny village] does a few things for one’s health," Julia Irwin, a researcher at the university, explained, "including creating a better sense of community, satisfying people’s basic needs for relationships, offering affordable housing options, and encouraging physical activity through community gardens and walking to urban establishments."

How the Zika Virus Could Make Its Way North

10/6/16 Newsweek
Laboratory tests show that a cold-tolerant mosquito known as Culex quinquefasciatus can be infected with Zika virus in the laboratory. If confirmed in the field, it would be a troubling development, suggesting the virus would be more difficult to control, and might be able to spread far north of Florida and the Caribbean. However, several labs have found contradictory results. Stephen Higgs, a co-author of the Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases study and a researcher at Kansas State University, says he cannot explain why different researchers are finding contradictory results. He speculated that it could be due to differences between the populations of mosquitoes used, or the strains of the virus, or different lab techniques. Although Higgs’s group came up with contrasting data, he says the findings presented at the meeting can’t be overlooked. It “would be irresponsible to ignore that Culex may be involved” in the spread of Zika, he says, adding that more research is urgently needed.

Financial Literacy Should Being At An Early Age, Expert Says

10/6/16 Muskogee Pheonix
Oklahoma ranks among the 10 worst states when it comes to financial literacy and credit scores. That finding was included as part of a recent study published by WalletHub, a personal finance website launched in August 2013, designed to distinguish the most financially literate states from the least. Oklahoma ranked 41st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The study focused on "three key dimensions" that included scores derived from WalletHub's WalletLiteracy Survey, planning and daily habits, and knowledge and education. Researchers "first compiled 12 relevant metrics," which were assigned corresponding weights, calculated and combined with literacy survey responses. Financial literacy is a topic that is getting more attention from academia. Cliff A. Robb, an associate professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University's School of Family Studies and Human Services, said there is a need for policy-makers "to understand the potential benefits and limitations of well-executed financial education policies and ... programs."

K-State Documentary Focuses on Social Justice in Education

10/4/16 Topeka Capital-Journal
Be brave. Be authentic. That was the message heard by future educators at Kansas State University this week as they watched the documentary “A Walk in My Shoes: Social Justice in Education” in K-State’s Forum Hall. “The only way to do that is to be vulnerable,” said Amanda Morales, diversity coordinator for the K-State College of Education. “If you do that, your students will work so much harder for you.” “Each classroom is diverse, so give your students what they need,” added Eli Schoeman, a Geary County USD 475 elementary teacher. “Having inequity in the classroom can be detrimental for the rest of their lives.”

Leadership Expert Says Political Skills Important to Leader Satisfaction

10/5/16 e! Science News/Phys.org
Leaders skilled at influencing others may be happier at work, according to a Kansas State University researcher. Andrew Wefald, associate professor in the Staley School of Leadership Studies, says political skill—the ability to build connections, foster trust and influence other people—is a fundamental quality of a transformational leader and being good at it can increase job satisfaction and engagement. "Most people think of political skills as manipulative and negative but, basically, it is building connections with other people," Wefald said. "In a positive sense, politically skilled people foster supportive and trusting environments to benefit organizations and are going to be more transformational leaders, which will lead to higher job satisfaction."

From Our Peers

New Animal Research Explores Red Raspberries In Supporting Healthy Weight and Motor Function

10/6/16 Yahoo! Finance
An animal study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University found that when added to a high-fat, high-sucrose diet, raspberry products and raspberry phytochemicals were found to significantly decrease weight gain associated with a high-fat, high calorie diet. Raspberry juice and raspberry puree concentrates were provided at 10% of total energy (the equivalent of 200 calories in a 2,000 calorie diet), and a combination of ellagic acid and raspberry ketone were provided at 0.2% weight/weight.

By Hugging Coast While Over Water, Matthew Stays Stronger

10/7/16 US News & World Report
In its record-long week as a major hurricane, Matthew has threaded the needle with its track, staying over warm waters that provide fuel and avoiding land that could starve it. That's been a bit of good news for Florida, but if does actually hit land farther up the coast — and that's still a big question mark — that region would pay the price for Florida's good luck. At more than a week of major hurricane strength, with sustained winds over 110 mph, Matthew beat the old record of six days for storms after Sept. 25, according Phil Klotzbach, meteorology professor at Colorado State University. Klotzbach uses this date — after start of fall — because atmospheric and water conditions are quite different in the later part of hurricane season, making it harder for storms to stay strong

Researchers Create Microfibers That Support Cell Growth

10/6/16 Breitbart
Microfibers designed by Iowa State University scientists may help medical professionals reconnect nerves and regenerate damaged tissues. The microfibers were designed as a scaffold to support the growth of neural stem cells, for potential use in U.S. Navy research into traumatic brain injury. Iowa State assistant professor Nastaran Hashemi says the microfibers have versatile medical applications. “Neural stem cells on our polymer fibers could survive, differentiate and grow,” Hashemi said in a press release. “These new fibrous platforms could also be used for cell alignment which is important in applications such as guiding nerve cell growth, engineered neurobiological systems and regenerating blood vessels, tendons and muscle tissue.”

GE Opens New Oil & Gas R&D Center in Oklahoma

10/5/16 Business Wire
At the Center opening, GE unveiled a prototype drone, nicknamed “Raven,” engineered to detect emissions precisely and cost-effectively, to help customers reduce environmental impact and improve operational efficiency in the Oil & Gas industry. Southwestern Energy Company successfully piloted the technology to detect emissions from oilfield equipment at well sites in Arkansas in July. … GE’s new Oil & Gas Technology Center has established several programs and partnerships with industry and academia, including Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma and has R&D agreements in place with many of the leading operators in North America.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Syrian Seed Bank Gets New Home Away From War

A major seed bank in Aleppo, Syria, holds genes that might help researchers breed crops to survive climate change. But the conflict tearing the country apart has rendered the bank largely inaccessible for the past four years. Now an effort to duplicate its seed collection at more-accessible locations is ramping up. … ICARDA’s collection, previously held entirely at the bank in Aleppo, is especially valuable because it aims to collect seeds from the world’s dry regions. That includes the Fertile Crescent, which spans parts of North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus and west Asia, and is thought of as the birthplace of modern agriculture. The collection contains many wild relatives of modern crops such as wheat, barley, lentils and grass pea. The centre provides researchers and breeders with an average of about 20,000 samples each year, says Amri, with most material going to the United States, to institutions in the nation’s breadbasket such as Kansas State University and North Dakota State University. Many wild varieties from arid regions have traits that may help crops to meet the challenges posed by climate change, including resistance to drought, heat and pests, and adaptations to salinity.

Florida’s Feud Over Zika-Fighting GMO Mosquitoes

On a Tuesday morning in September, under a sweltering tropical sun on the island of Grand Cayman, 140,000 mosquitoes flit around in four large coolers in the back of a gray Toyota minivan. Behind the wheel is Renaud Lacroix, a Ph.D. in biology and medical entomology who works for the British biotechnology company Oxitec. A colleague, Isavella Evangelou, crouches behind him in a tight space next to the coolers. The minivan is idling on the side of a dirt road in West Bay, a quiet neighborhood where iguanas and roosters dart in and out of the yards of small homes painted in Caribbean pastels. The time has come for the mosquitoes to fulfill the purpose for which they were genetically engineered: a kamikaze mission to eliminate their own species.

New EPA Web Portal Helps Communities Prepare for Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched a new online portal that will provide local leaders in the nation’s 40,000 communities with information and tools to increase resilience to climate change. Using a self-guided format, the Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X) provides users with information tailored specifically to their needs, based on where they live and the particular issues of concern to them.
See also: Water news from EPA

Why Isn’t There a Common App for Grant Proposals?

In the waning days of summer I did what thousands of other academics do (besides bemoan what I did not get done in July and August). I wrote grant proposals. To escape the tedium of it (Just how many times do I have to fill in a box about where I received my Ph.D.?), I began to mull a larger philosophical question: Why isn’t there a common application for grants in the humanities and social sciences?

Theory of How We Seal a Deal Wins Economics Nobel

The 2016 Nobel Prize for economics has been awarded to key figures in the development of contract theory. Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Bengt Holmström of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Cambridge, Massachusetts, share the prize for conceptual work that explains the logic of CEO bonuses, privatization of government services, and many other kinds of contracts. “They are both giants of the field,” says Bernard Salanié, an economist at Columbia University.

Update the Nobel Prizes

Science’s reach has relentlessly expanded to include ever more facets of our world, and it has become increasingly important to our lives. But the world’s most important scientific honor society has largely ignored that evolution. As a result, the Nobel Prizes, which will be announced this week, are reserved for an ever-shrinking fraction of the scientific community and are receding from the interests of society at large. It’s high time for an update.

NASA: FY 16 Grant Recipients to Announce the Capability to Upload Peer-Reviewed Articles into PubMed Central

In response to a 2013 request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, directing science-funding agencies to develop plans to increase access to the results of federally-funded research. NASA has partnered with HHS to allow NASA-funded authors and co-authors to deposit copies of their peer-reviewed articles from scientific journal publications and associated data into the PubMed Central (PMC) publication repository. Though not required under the current NASA award, we want to make this opportunity available to you to deposit any papers supported by NASA awards that were published or accepted for publication on or after Oct. 1, 2015.
Starting in Oct. 2016 you should contact nasa-openaccess@mail.nasa.gov for instructions on depositing the manuscripts into PubMed Central.

NIH Updates