NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Office of Research Update

Recent Awards

Congratulations to the following faculty members for their recent awards:

  • Amin Alipour (Computer Science) was awarded $880,084 from SRI International: “TrojAI: Detecting Trojans in Deep Neural Program Synthesizers.”
  • Melissa Zastrow (Chemistry) was awarded $813,751 from NSF: “CAREER: Elucidating the Roles of Extracellular Metal Ions in Gut Microbiota Interactions.”
  • Andrew Renshaw (Physics) was awarded $630,456 from Princeton University/NSF: “DARKSIDE: Mid-Scale.”
  • James Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $400,000 from TCEQ: “Monitoring Related to Ozone Formation in and Ozone and Particulate Matter Transport into the Houston Region and the Dallas-Fort Worth Region.”
  • Yunsoo Choi (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $123,510 from Coordinating Research Council: “The Impacts of Fleet Electrification on Local Air Quality, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Human Health in the Most Populated Cities within the U.S.”
  • Shiv Halasyamani (Chemistry) was awarded $40,000 from Azimuth Corporation: “Crystal Growth of Functional Materials.”
  • Liming Li (Physics) was awarded $35,000 from Jet Propulsion Laboratory: “Future Planetary Missions with the Cobra Instrument.”
  • Shuhab Khan (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $2,000 from Midwestern State University: “Mapping Strategic Minerals in New Mexico by Hyperspectral Imaging.”

General Reminders

Looking for new funding opportunities? Check out the NSM Office of Research’s Funding Opportunities webpage. Here you will find a curated list of funding opportunities specific to the interests of NSM faculty. The list is updated twice a month, so check back often.

Preparing your next proposal? Please review our proposal submission timetable. We routinely have multiple grants due at or near the same time, so it is imperative that everything is in order well ahead of the deadline. This also gives us time to properly check for errors.

Upcoming NSF submissions? For those of you who submit or plan to submit proposals to NSF, please create an account with SciENcv. You will use SciENcv to create your biosketch and current and pending support documents. There are links to YouTube videos on the SciENcv website that will explain how to use the service.

Let us create your budgets! Many of you like to fill in the UH budget worksheet yourself, but we end up transferring that information to the most current version and looking up everyone’s salary and benefits information anyway. It is simpler to just send us an outline of what you would like in the budget, and let us create it for you. A great way to do this is to make a draft of your budget justification. We can use that to create the budget.

Please check out the NSM Office of Research website for useful links and information.

– The NSM Research Team

What’s New?

Recent Changes from NSF and Research.gov

NSF decommissioned the proposal submission functions in Fastlane as of January 30, 2023. Going forward, NSF accepts proposals only through Research.gov and Grants.gov.

In an effort to meet the disclosure requirements, NSF updated the PDF templates on biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support documents again. As of January 30, 2023, Research.gov and Grants.gov only accept the latest biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support formats. Research.gov and Grants.gov will generate an error message if a proposer or grantee attempts to upload a prior version of either document. These revised PDF templates include a Certification section where the investigator certifies the information provided is current, accurate, and complete.

These PDF templates are set to be phased out later this year. Starting October 23, 2023, use of SciENcv to prepare biographical sketch and current and pending support documents will become mandatory for NSF applications and reports.

A webinar from the NSF Policy Office is available here for you to better understand the policy context of this requirement and see a demonstration on SciENcv.

If you have not started your profile on SciENcv, it is time! Details can be found in the section below: Time to Start Using SciENcv

Refresher: NIH Rules for Hyperlinks in Grant Applications

NIH does not allow hyperlinks outside of biosketches and publication list attachments.

  • Do include hyperlinks when explicitly requested in the application guide, funding opportunity, or NIH Guide notice instructions.
  • Do use hyperlinks in relevant citations and publications included in biosketches and publication list attachments.
  • Don’t use hyperlinks anywhere else in your application, or the application will be administratively withdrawn.
  • No hyperlinks are allowed in the Data Management and Sharing Plan.

Here are some policy statements for your reference:

NSF Issues Updates to Proposal & Award Guide

An important update from the National Science Foundation issued on October 26 outlines several significant changes to the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide. The new guide is revised to replace FastLane with Research.gov as the platform for proposal submissions. It also provides new stipulations for proposers around Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research training and the certification of Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus and Off-Site Research, as well updates to the formatting for Biographical Sketches and Current and Pending Support. Read the full “Dear Colleague” letter.

The new PAPPG (NSF 23-1), effective for proposals submitted or due on or after January 30, 2023, is available online now.

Implementation Updates for the New NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

The new NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy (see Implementation Updates) went into effect on January 25, 2023. The central tenets of the DMS Policy are: 1) that investigators and institutions prospectively plan for how they will manage and appropriately share data by developing a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMS Plan), and 2) that they follow through with this DMS Plan. To aid researchers in establishing robust DMS Plans, NIH released an optional DMS Plan format page that walks investigators through the Elements of a DMS Plan. A preview version of this format page is available now as a reference. If your DMS Plan will incur costs, they must be listed in the budget and described in the budget justification.

Please take a moment to visit NIH’s website on Writing a Data Management & Sharing Plan. There you can find instructions, advice, and sample DMS plans.

Keeping up with “Other Support” and “Current & Pending Support”

Information on an investigators’ other active and pending support is usually required as part of the application for research funding “to ensure no scientific, budgetary, or commitment overlap.” Due to the wide variety of sources that are available for investigators to fund their research, completing this document and maintaining an up-to-date record have become a complicated task that requires a lot more attention than before.

The key to doing this right is to make it a habit to update your own records. Every time a proposal is submitted or any financial or in-kind support is received, update your record when it is fresh on your mind. Unfortunately, we do not have a perfect system to provide a holistic view with only a few mouse clicks. Realistically, no one knows the funding and resources available to you better than you. That makes you the best person to keep track of them.

There are also plenty of resources available to you when you need help tracking them. Your Department Business Office can provide a report of your current accounts. NSM Office of Research can provide a list of proposals in which you are the Principal Investigator. More importantly, we are available to discuss and help you sort out any unconventional resources you may have for your research.

Both NIH and NSF have recently made changes to enhance their requirements on this document (see links below). All the additional information they now require indicates their seriousness to make this process right. And, nothing says more about NIH’s intention than the requirement of the investigator’s signature on the “Other Support” form to ensure its completeness and truthfulness.

Other Support Helpful Links

Time to Start Using SciENcv

SciENcv is short for Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae. It is an online utility system where researchers can go to generate Biosketches and Current & Pending Support (CPS) documents for grant applications.

The system provides a single place where all your professional history, credentials, products, and achievements can be stored and managed in an organized way. Once your profile is established, with a few clicks, it generates customized documents that meet the sponsor requirements in seconds.

SciENcv has actually been around for several years for researchers applying to NIH funding opportunities. However, NIH has yet to make it a policy to require applicants to submit documents generated by SciENcv. Therefore, most applicants still use the Word templates to prepare biosketches and CPS documents. Recently, NSF started requiring its applicants to use SciENcv-generated biosketches and CPS documents.

With NSF leading the way, it is to be expected that other federal agencies will follow soon. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has already adopted NSF standards on biosketches and CPS in their FY 2022 Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistance Program (DE-FOA-0002562, science.osti.gov/grants/FOAs/Open). Moreover, the recent NSF CPS requirement changes made this document almost identical to the NIH Other Support document, which is another significant indicator that NSF and NIH are working together to make SciENcv the standard of the future.

It does take a little time to set up your SciENcv profile. If you have been consistently maintaining your eRA Commons account or ORCiD account, setting up your SciENcv profile is quite easy as it will automatically import your information from your other existing accounts. With a little bit of effort every now and then, you will be able to keep your SciENcv profile up to date and generate documents for your proposals with just a few clicks.

The documents generated by SciENcv will carry the same information you can put on Word templates. They are completely customizable. The difference is that you do not have to worry about any formatting requirements. The system will take care of all of that and provide you with a finished and well-illustrated product. It is a huge timesaver for you and your administrators. Not to mention, the alternative is to fill out PDF templates from NSF which are unattractive and clunky to use.

It is time to take advantage of what SciENcv has to offer and be an early adopter of this timesaving utility. Gear up your profile when it is convenient for you. Then, when you are preparing your next submission, you can spend more time polishing your project description instead of formatting your biosketch.

Hanover Research

Hanover Grants Calendar: Early Career, STEM Research, and Minority-Serving Institutions

As part of efforts to monitor the funding landscape and facilitate strategic planning, Hanover produces bimonthly Grants Calendars centered on certain funding interests. These calendars review upcoming grant opportunities focused on Early Career Research, STEM Research and Minority-Serving Institutions, covering a range of grantmakers. Short-term targets with set deadlines are included alongside longer-term opportunities projected to occur across the next year and beyond.

University of Houston

UH Libraries Can Help You with Research Data Management

UH Libraries offers a range of support for Research Data Management, archiving, and sharing:

  1. Guidance on data management planning for grant proposals or any research project.
  2. Assistance for sustained compliance with funder and university policies.
  3. Workshops and consultations for graduate students on collaborative work practices and strategies for handling data throughout research.
  4. An institutional data repository for archiving and sharing data and related content at no cost for up to 10 GB per project.

For more information about data management see: UH Libraries Data Management Resources.

Upcoming Meetings, Workshops and Webinar Series

IDDD Roundtable Workshop: AI Strategies to Advance Drug Development, April 13

This virtual workshop will feature presenters: Jonathan Gallion, Mercury Data Sciences, and Bharath Ramsundar, Deep Forest Sciences.

Date/Time: Thu, April 13, 3:30-5:00 pm Central

NSF Workshop: Building Bridges to Use-Inspired Research and Science-Informed Practices, Virtual Microlabs, April 14 and May 12

The Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) at the National Science Foundation have jointly funded a workshop that aims to build new connections among key BioSci communities to successfully conduct ‘Use-inspired Research.’

The workshop will consist of a series of events: two free virtual Pre-Workshop MicroLabs (for an unlimited number of participants) and an In-Person Workshop (for 120 selected participants representing diverse groups and organizations). These events are being facilitated by KnowInnovation, a company that specializes in working with science groups to accelerate scientific innovation and achieve actionable outcomes. Events are designed to be highly interactive, discussion- and solution-based.

Participants will co-develop structures and processes that can guide how diverse organizations support and value use-inspired science, and will explore current and future opportunities within NSF with the potential to create use-inspired tracks within the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Office of Integrative Activities. The vision for this workshop is to support researchers across career stages who want to take advantage of new funding and partnership opportunities within and associated with the new Technology, Innovation, and Partnership Directorate at NSF.

Virtual MicroLabs

The MicroLabs are interactive, virtual events using a video-conferencing platform. The goal of the virtual microlab sessions is to identify common needs, benefits, and challenges of academic, private, and government organizations that seek to contribute to advancing science, engineering, and education in the future. During the microlabs, you will develop ideas in collaboration with fellow participants who represent: 1) a continuum of basic to applied research experience and interest; 2) practitioners from across government and private organizations; and 3) diverse ‘users’ of scientific discoveries, innovative technology, and a versatile workforce.

Microlab Dates

Fri, April 14, Noon to 2 p.m. MST (1–3 pm Central)
Fri, May 12, Noon to 2 p.m. MST (1–3 pm Central)
Microlab Registration - There is no registration fee to attend the virtual MicroLabs.

Information on Microlabs and In-Person June Conference

What’s New in the First Truly Complete Sequence of a Human Genome? April 25

Adam Phillippy, Ph.D., Senior Investigator at National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, led the team that finished the last remaining regions of the human genome. For this work, he was named by TIME magazine as one of 2022’s most influential people. Dr. Phillippy will provide an overview of what we have learned from new regions of the genome and highlight ongoing studies that are generating many more reference genomes from a diverse collection of humans and non-human primates. These new references are unlocking the last uncovered regions of the genome to functional and evolutionary studies for the first time. Co-sponsored by the Gulf Coast Consortium, Ken Kennedy Institute, and Rice University Computer Science.

Date/Time: Tue, April 25, Talk: 4:00 pm; Reception: 5:00
Location: BioScience Research Collaborative Auditorium, 6500 Main Street, Houston

Jr. Faculty Extravaganza, April 28

Open to all assistant professors and junior faculty. Do not miss this opportunity to learn about research and training programs, seed grants, equipment/cores, and other resources that are available across Gulf Coast Consortium institutions. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet new colleagues and potential collaborators. Lunch will be provided, and a drawing will take place for several door prizes.

Date/Time: Fri, April 28 , 11:45 am–2 pm Central
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative Event Hall, 6500 Main Street, Houston

Research Mentor Training Workshop for Faculty, May 12

This interactive, in-person, evidence-based workshop, facilitated by Bob Tillman, will cover topics such as maintaining effective communication, aligning expectations, fostering independence, addressing equity and inclusion, and cultivating self-efficacy. Faculty at all levels are invited to participate.

Date/Time: Fri, May 12, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Lunch provided.
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative Event Hall, 6500 Main Street, Houston

Rigor and Reproducibility Workshop, May 17

First place winner of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2017 Innovations in Research and Research Education Award, this exciting workshop brings together highly acclaimed experts in rigor and reproducibility in research topics including data analysis, experimental design, resource sharing, publication and reporting, and more. With speakers and facilitators from all of the Gulf Coast Consortium institutions, this interactive workshop has proven to be very effective as well as a lot of fun.

Date/Time: Wed, May 17, 9:15 am–3:15pm
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative, Room 1003, 6500 Main Street,. Houston
In-person attendance only

Gulf Coast Consortium News

UH is a member of the Gulf Coast Consortia (GCC), one of the largest inter-institutional cooperatives in the world.

UT Health 3D Printing Core

The Nano 3D Printing Service Center provides state-of-the-art 3D printing services with fast turnaround times. They provide 3D-printed models of human and laboratory animal organs, novel surgical tools, and custom-made laboratory supplies, in prototype or final production models. They have both traditional FDM (Fortus 450mc) thermoplastic as well as multi-color, resin-based, high-resolution Stratasys J750 (14 micron) 3D printers with large print beds. A wide range of materials with varying mechanical properties is available. STL files, SolidWorks, or medical imaging files can be used to produce the 3D models. For more information, visit the UT Health 3D Printing Core website or contact Aleksey Domozhirov, Aleksey.Y.Domozhirov@uth.tmc.edu.

Looking for a Particular Piece of Equipment?

Did you know that the GCC has a Shared Equipment and Resource Committee composed of the Directors/Leaders in equipment inventory and acquisition from each of the GCC institutions? If you are looking for a particular piece of equipment, please email Suzanne Tomlinson (smtomlin@rice.edu), and the committee members will work together to try to locate it and introduce you to the PI who owns/administers it. View GCC Shared Core Facilities