December 8, 2016

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

December 8, 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

I happened to be in Washington, DC earlier this week as two major pieces of legislation to support research were making their way through Congress. Senate Bill 3084 (the reauthorization of America COMPETES), which was introduced to the Senate this past summer, has finally made it to the Legislative calendar for consideration. The bill reaffirms the intellectual merit and broader impacts criteria for National Science Foundation proposal evaluations and supports the current peer review process. Read more about this below in Trending Topics.

A second piece of legislation moving though Congress made it through the Senate on December 7. H.R. 6, known as the 21st Century Cures Act, will infuse new funding into medical research including the "cancer moonshot”, mental health treatments, and opioid abuse, to name just a few. Read more from the Association of Pubic & Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Over the next few months, our office, in collaboration with leadership across campus, will be launching a self study of our economic development activities as part of the APLU program designation of Innovation & Economic Prosperity Universities (IEP). We will be communicating with you more about this project that we hope will lead to an IEP designation by APLU and enable K-State to be eligible for awards and recognition. Read more about the process and our timeline.

— Peter

Congrats to Internal Grant Awardees

Read a list of Faculty Development Award and University Small Research Grant awardees. We look forward to hearing more about your presentations and projects in the coming months! Read more about these programs.

Human Research Standards

The 2017 edition of the International Compilation of Human Research Standards is now available. The compilation features listings of more than 1,000 laws, regulations, and guidelines on human subject protections in 126 countries as well as standards issued by a number of international and regional organizations.

Holiday Hours

  • The Office of the Vice President for Research, PreAward Services, and Biotechnology Core Laboratory will be closed during the holiday break, December 26–January 2. If you have a proposal submission deadline during this period and are unable to finalize the required materials to submit on or before December 23, contact PreAward Services at 532-6804 or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 532-6195 prior to December 20. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will be closed from December 21–January 2.
  • The Biosecurity Research Institute, Comparative Medicine Group, Electronics Design Laboratory, Kansas State University Research Foundation, National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, and University Research Compliance Office will remain open but may have limited staff during the holiday break.

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 or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: NSF’s Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program supports research that uses historical, philosophical, and social scientific methods to investigate the intellectual, material, and social facets of the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical (STEM) disciplines. It encompasses a broad spectrum of STS topics including interdisciplinary studies of ethics, equity, governance, and policy issues that are closely related to STEM disciplines, including medical science. Specifically, STS research explores how socio-cultural values are embedded in science and technology, and how issues of governance and equity co-evolve with the development and use of scientific knowledge and technological artifacts.

K-State in the News

Scientists Have Long Feared This ‘Feedback’ to the Climate System. Now They Say It’s Happening

11/30/16 Washington Post
A recent study found that in the past decade or more, plant growth had indeed been sequestering more carbon dioxide — but as the lead author told the Post, “It’s good news for now. We can’t expect it to continue.” “The authors correctly point out the lack of information from tropical ecosystems, in fact the southern hemisphere is not represented. Thus we need more data,” said Charles Rice, a soil microbiology professor at Kansas State University who pointed out several limitations in the paper. But Rice nonetheless concluded that “the high latitudes are particularly vulnerable and a large source of CO2 back to the atmosphere. This highlights the need to do early action.”

Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge Grows to Reach More Students Through Kansas Masonic Support

12/5/16 Yahoo! Finance
The Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge launched about four years ago and was a way for Kansas State University's Center for Advancement of Entrepreneurship to reach throughout the state to affect the business environment. Teams of students compete in a high school or college division to pitch their business ideas and top winners in each category receive dollars to move their ideas forward. For Chad Jackson, center director, the program's growth has been nothing less than exciting. Initially just a competition for K-State students, a small local contest between students at Emporia State University and K-State led to growing the competition to include Fort Hays State University. Soon, the challenge to think creatively about business spread to all Board of Regents universities and some high schools. "We partnered with an economic development agency called Network Kansas, and we grew it statewide," Jackson said.

Kansas State to Help Farmers Weather Ag Economy Downturn

12/3/16 Houston Chronicle
Kansas farmers who are facing some hard decisions due to another down year for farm income and a pessimistic outlook for 2017 are getting help from agricultural experts at Kansas State University. The school will hold a series of eight workshops across the state starting next week called the "Top 10 Considerations to Navigate a Struggling Farm Economy" as a way to help producers handle the downturn. Farm operating loans for the past growing season typically come due Jan. 1, and agricultural experts say many growers can't make the payments. "In some respects, the goal of this conference is to help producers avoid bankruptcy, to make adjustments in their operations while they still can," Kansas State Department of Agriculture Economics head Allen Featherstone said.

Feathered Fathers and Mothers Have Diverse Parenting Arrangements

12/1/16 EurekAlert!
Birds of a feather flock together but they schedule parenting duties differently, according to a Kansas State University researcher. Brett Sandercock, professor in the Division of Biology, and Eunbi Kwon, Kansas State University alumna and postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech University, are part of an international team of ornithologists who have published "Unexpected diversity in socially synchronized rhythms of shorebirds" in the Dec. 1 issue of Nature. According to the research, mated pairs of wild shorebirds have established diverse schedules for parental care of the nest.

Study: Recipe Instructions Can Improve Consumer Food Safety Habits

12/5/16 Food Safety Magazine
Researchers at Kansas State University (KSU) have discovered that recipes with handwashing reminders and meat thermometer instructions do have positive impacts on consumer food safety. For example, KSU scientists found that only 25 percent of people used a meat thermometer when cooking at home. However, when the recipe included specific thermometer reminders, that number jumped to 85 percent. The results were similar for handwashing. Fewer than half of people washed their hands when cooking, but 70 to 80 percent did so when the recipe reminded them to. "This is such an easy thing to do. Just add the information to the recipe and people follow it," says Edgar Chambers, co-director of KSU’s Sensory Analysis Center and distinguished professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health.

From Our Peers

#ReignTheSwamp: Scientists Defend Swamps Against Trump

12/5/16 Motherboard
David Steen, Assistant Research Professor of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation at Auburn University, turned the #DrainTheSwamp hashtag from a Trump supporters' rallying cry into a chance to fill our feeds with the most adorably mud-covered creatures the swamp has to offer. “Show me your swamp monsters,” he tweeted last week with the hashtag #ReignTheSwamp, and ... Wetland Ecology Twitter deliver[ed].

Parental Alienation’: What It Means and Why It Matters

12/4/16 Houston Chronicle; by Jennifer Harman, Colorado State University
Parental alienation — defined as when one parent’s relationship with his or her child is harmed by the other parent — can have devastating consequences. Many legal professionals and psychologists have known about parental alienation for decades. But for political and personal reasons, there are others who deny that such a thing exists.

Want Creative Employees? Look for Curiosity

12/1/16 Business News Daily
According to a study recently published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, people with a strong "diversive" curiosity trait excel at creative problem-solving. "Diversive" means curiosity associated with interest in exploring unfamiliar topics and learning new things. Jay Hardy, the study's lead author and an assistant professor at Oregon State University, said the research provides further evidence that testing for curiosity traits could significantly benefit employers, especially those looking to fill complex jobs.

Restaurants Not Good at Explaining Risks of Undercooked Meat to Customers

12/1/16 Science Daily
A recent study finds restaurants don't do an effective job of communicating with customers when it comes to addressing risks associated with eating undercooked meat — specifically hamburgers. Inaccurate information provided by servers often contradicts science-based information customers need to make informed food safety decisions. "We wanted to know how well restaurant servers and menus communicated with customers about these risks, specifically in the context of beef hamburgers," says Ben Chapman, co-author of a study on the work and an associate professor at North Carolina State University whose research program is aimed at improving food safety.

Many Women with Chronic Ills Don’t Use Online Tools

Chronically ill women who don't use the internet may struggle with worse health, a new study finds. "A significantly larger proportion of non-internet users reported needing help learning what to do to manage their health conditions and needing help learning how to care for their health conditions," said researcher Carolyn Mendez-Luck. She's an assistant professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at Oregon State University.

RSCAD Trending Topics

160 Global Groups Call for Moratorium on New Genetic Extinction Technology at UN Convention

This week, international conservation and environmental leaders are calling on governments at the 2016 UN Convention on Biodiversity to establish a moratorium on the controversial genetic extinction technology called gene drives. Gene drives, developed through new gene-editing techniques, are designed to force a particular genetically engineered trait to spread through an entire wild population — potentially changing entire species or even causing deliberate extinctions. The statement urges governments to put in place an urgent, global moratorium on the development and release of the new technology, which poses serious and potentially irreversible threats to biodiversity, as well as national sovereignty, peace, and food security.

NSF Application Guide

The NSF Application Guide has been updated to align with changes to NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). The guide will be effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 30, 2017. If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact the Policy Office on (703) 292-8243 or by e-mail to For technical questions relating to, please contact directly at 1-800-518-4726

How Well Do Americans Understand the Science of GMOs and Organic Foods?

Americans think about their food decisions now more than ever before. These have even made it to the federal government; just this year, President Barack Obama signed a law requiring that food labels display whether or not a product uses genetically modified ingredients. Today, the Pew Research Center released a report surveying 1480 adults representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia from May 10 to June 6 of this year on their food opinions. The results were generally unsurprising.

Research Universities Hope Trump’s Infrastructure Plans Could Be a Boon to High-Speed Communications

When Donald Trump promises to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, he mostly means highways, bridges, and airports. Might he also mean better high-speed internet for research universities? The incoming administration hasn’t yet made its plans clear, but there’s at least some hope in the research community. And a leading candidate for assistance could be Internet2, a dedicated high-speed, high-volume link serving scientists at more than 300 universities.

Congress is Poised to Back NSF’s Approach to Research

Congress has reached a truce — and possibly a lasting settlement — in the fiercely partisan 3-year war between Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the scientific community over how the National Science Foundation (NSF) should operate. The terms of the agreement, between House and Senate negotiators, may seem like minor changes. But the compromise, which the Senate could adopt as early as this week, resolves differences over how NSF should conduct peer review and manage research in ways that the agency thinks it can live with.

Four New Names Officially Added to the Periodic Table of Elements

It’s official. Chemistry’s highest gatekeepers have accepted the newly proposed names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118. Please welcome to the periodic table: Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson.

KCALSI Research Grant Program Continues to Deliver Significant Value to Regional Scientists

From 2007-2014, KCALSI grant programming has managed 58 grants totaling $2,900,106 million, which enabled area researchers to successfully compete for $26,504,157 million in additional funding — representing a 9:1 return on investment.

The Completion Agenda, Part 5: Your Publishing Plan

In this series on completing the dissertation I have been exploring the ins and outs of that uber-document. So far we have covered finishing a submittable draft, defending the document successfully, making revisions after the defense, and using your dissertation to advance your job hunt. Now we turn to our final topic: publishing.

Protecting America's Waters Story Map

Since 2009, EPA — in partnership with states, cities, utilities, NGOs, and businesses — has made giant strides to advance clean water protection. Explore the story map to see where EPA worked to protect waters near you and read about the progress created through historic regulations, new programs, technology advances, and community support that move the country toward cleaner and more reliable water.