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:

  • Jacob Daane (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $593,028 from NSF: “ANT LIA: Collaborative Research: Evolutionary Patterns and Mechanisms of Trait Diversification in the Antarctic Notothenioid Radiation.”
  • Steven Baldelli (Chemistry) was awarded $454,547 from NSF: “Chemical Imaging of Metal Surfaces at the Solid-Liquid Interface: Effects of Grain Structure on Electrocatalytic Reactions.”
  • Ioannis Kakadiaris (Computer Science) was awarded $300,872 from Baylor College of Medicine: “AICORE-KIDS: Artificial Intelligence COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Kids.”
  • Robert Comito (Chemistry) was awarded $300,000 from The Welch Foundation: “Complex Amine Synthesis by Catalytic Imine Photochemistry.”
  • Melissa Zastrow (Chemistry) was awarded $300,000 from The Welch Foundation: “Uncovering Metal Homeostasis Mechanisms of Lactobacillaceae Bacteria in the Gut Microbiota.”
  • Daniel Cherdack (Physics) was awarded $135,000 from U.S. Department of Energy: “Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce for High Energy Physics (RENEW-HEP).”
  • James Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $57,070 from North Central Texas Council of Governments: “NCTCOG NOX Monitoring 2023.”
  • Amy Sater (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $18,600 from NSF: “Conference: 19th International Xenopus Conference.”

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?

NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences Inviting Supplemental Requests to Active Awards for High School Student Research Assistantships Funding

The NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) inviting supplemental requests to active MPS awards for High School Student Research Assistantships (MPS-High) Funding to Broaden Participation in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

The goal of this DCL is to foster students’ interests in the pursuit of studies in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences; and to broaden participation of students who are in groups that have been traditionally underrepresented and under-served in STEM fields.

This is a paid research assistantship and active MPS awardees may request support for up to two students, with $6,000 max per student.

For specific details about the DCL and how to apply, visit the DCL announcement page (NSF 22-041).

Spring 2023 NSF Virtual Grants Conference, Recordings Available Online

National Science Foundation (NSF) held the Spring 2023 NSF Virtual Grants Conference during the week of June 5-8, 2023.

Please visit nsfpolicyoutreach.com for the most up-to-date information and to view recordings of sessions from this and previous conferences. You may also view other Virtual Grants Conference recordings on NSF’s YouTube channel.

NSF: Proposing Fieldwork Now Requires a Plan for Safe and Inclusive Working Environments

NSF is requiring advanced planning and attention to maintaining an inclusive environment working to ensure that fieldwork is safe and successful for all participants. To this end, an institutional certification is now required to confirm that the institution has in place a plan to ensure safe and inclusive working environments for off-campus activities.

Furthermore, proposals to the BIO and GEO directorates that include off-campus or off-site work must include a two-page plan for ensuring the work environment is safe and inclusive for all participants. The plan must include a description of where the work will take place, challenges in that location for personnel and challenges to team dynamics, and pre-fieldwork approaches to manage these challenges. These plans will be submitted as supplemental documents and reviewed as part of the Broader Impacts merit review criterion.

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 (other) 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:

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.

Research Administration Forum

The Division of Research recently announced its new monthly learning series for research administrators at UH, the Research Administration Forum. Register here to attend the first event on June 22. Topics include:

  • “Reviewing and Approving Expenditures on Research Awards” with David Schultz, Assistant Vice President, Sponsored Research Administration
  • “The What and Why of Reconciliation” with Cris Milligan, Assistant Vice President, Research Administration
  • “Transmittals: Things You Need to Know for a Smooth Transition” with David Schultz, Assistant Vice President, Sponsored Research Administration
  • “Hiring Postdocs in Taleo” with LaTasha Stoker, Sr. HR Business Partner, Human Resources Department
  • “What Should be in the Offer Letter for Staff Hired on Contracts and Grants?” with Cris Milligan, Assistant Vice President, Research Administration

Gulf Coast Consortium News

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

GCC Job Board

Looking for a postdoc or research position at a GCC member institution? The GCC Job Board currently lists several positions. The Job Board is where graduating Ph.D. students and postdocs from GCC institutions can post their resumes and search for jobs at GCC institutions.

To place a resume on the Job Board, register as a Job Seeker and enter the requested information. To place a job opening, register as a GCC Recruiter and enter the requested information. Anyone not from a GCC institution can register through Public Access and view job openings and resumes but cannot place anything on the Job Board.

Upcoming Events

Logo Design Contest 33rd Annual Keck Center Research Conference, Due Aug. 3

The theme for the 33rd Annual Keck Center Research Conference is “RNA Biology: New Frontiers in RNA Biology and Therapeutics.” The deadline for design submissions is Thursday, August 3, 2023. There is a $250 prize for the winning logo.

Designs should be in full color, and all graphics should be in the highest resolution possible, as the logo will be used in all promotional materials. Consideration should be given to the reproducibility of the design: clear, clean designs are the best for reproduction. Submissions must be accompanied by a detailed legend which credits all individuals who contributed to the design and describes the important components of the design.

Email logo contest submissions to Elizabeth Lawrence at el53@rice.edu. In the case of large files, please provide a link to an FTP server or other alternate file transfer protocol.

Save the Date: GCC Research Mentor Training Workshop for Postdocs and PhD Research Staff, Aug. 4

This 6-hour, in-person workshop covers various aspects of mentoring young scientists in the lab. Topics include: Maintaining Effective Communication, Aligning Expectations, Fostering Independence, Addressing Equity and Inclusion, and Cultivating Self-Efficacy. Participants benefit from case study and group discussions. Registration will open in July.

Save the Date: Jr. Faculty Publishing and Peer Review in the Age of Preprints Seminar, Sept. 26

The GCC Jr. Faculty Group welcomes Stéphane Larochelle from Nature Communications, who will present a talk on Publishing and Peer Review in the Age of Preprints. A Q&A session and reception will follow the presentation. More information will be announced soon.

Shared Core Technology of the Month: Population Science

The Population Sciences Biorepository (PSB) Shared Resource at Baylor College of Medicine provides risk factor and clinical data collection and a centralized facility for biospecimen processing and storage from epidemiological and clinical studies. Clinical coordinators can assist with consenting, phlebotomy, and data collection. The PSB also provides laboratory services, including full fractionation and aliquoting for blood samples, including viable PBMCs; processing and aliquoting of saliva, urine, and stool samples; DNA or RNA extraction from a variety of sample types; and short- and long-term sample storage. They also have a biobank of annotated samples that can be used for research studies.

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.

UH Animal Behavior Core

The Animal Behavior Core (ABC) is available to all UH researchers who would like to use ABC equipment, or want to request rodent behavioral testing. The facility offers the UH research community access to equipment, training, and services used to test behavior in rodents utilizing specialized state-of-the-art equipment. The ABC also offers other services including consultation on experimental design, implementation, and statistical analysis.

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