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:

  • Paige Evans (teachHOUSTON/Mathematics) was awarded a $2,994,298 grant from the National Science Foundation: “Developing STEM Teacher Leaders in Culturally Responsive Classroom Management, Engineering Design, and Induction”
  • Joshua Bocarsly (Chemistry) was awarded a $300,000 grant from The Welch Foundation: “Discovery and Control of Quantum Materials Using Electrochemical Intercalation”
  • Jakoah Brgoch (Chemistry) was awarded a $300,000 grant from The Welch Foundation: “Activating Nobel Metal Charge Transfer Toward Unusual Oxidation States”
  • Zhigang Deng (Computer Science) was awarded a $147,840 grant from the Hamad Medical Group: “Towards Development of a Mixed Reality Laparoscopic Simulator for Surgical Training and Planning”
  • Stephen Turner (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded a $133,178 grant from National Science Foundation: “Collaborative Research: Bubble Trouble - Re-Evaluating Olivine Melt Inclusion Barometry and Trace-Element Geochemistry in the Cascades”
  • Zhifeng Ren (Physics/TcSUH) was awarded a $130,000 grant from Qorvo US: “Growth and Characterizations of BAs Single Crystals under High Pressure”
  • Dinler Antunes (Biology & Biochemistry/CNRCS) was awarded a $39,836 grant from The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center: “Salary Reimbursement Agreement: Computational Analysis of the T-Cell Receptor Repertoire of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients”

* The awards listed above are extracted from the awards report generated through PeopleSoft Grants system. This report includes only the awards that are fully set up with cost centers available for expenditures. Any incoming awards pending in the system will not be reported until the set up is complete.


General Reminders

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

Don’t unnecessarily delay your award! The most common cause for delays in issuing a notice of award (NOA) is failing to submit just-in-time (JIT) information, such as revised budgets and current/pending support information. The biggest obstacle to award set up is congruency review—an internal review done by DOR that ensures all compliance approvals are complete (animal use, human subjects, biohazards, radiation safety). To minimize delays in getting your award, please let us know if you receive a favorable review. This typically comes in the form of a high impact score on a summary statement or a letter from the sponsor suggesting interest in the proposal. We will complete any pending JIT requests and ask DOR to begin the congruency review.

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. Let us know when you have plan(s) for submission by filling out our Google Form online.

NSF now requires the use of SciENcv to generate Biosketches and Current and Pending Support documents. NSF stopped accepting the fillable pdf forms in October 2023. For all new NSF proposals, Biosketches and C&P Support documents for all key personnel must be generated with SciENcv. If you haven’t already done so, please create an account with SciENcv. There are YouTube videos on SciENcv that will explain how to use the service. See the section below titled The Time to Start Using SciENcv is NOW for more information.

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?

Certification of Non-Participation in Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs and Disclosure of Participation in Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs

In response to new federal guidance regarding Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs (FTRPs), UH will require all key personnel to sign a certification stating that they have disclosed participation in FTRPs and that they are not participants in malign FTRPs. This certification will be a requirement for all new proposals.

New NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG, NSF 24-1)

NSF published the final version of the latest PAPPG (NSF 24-1) on January 22, 2024, and it went into effect for proposals submitted or due on or after May 20, 2024.

This version contains several significant changes to the proposal preparation:

  1. A new section (Chapter II.D.1.e(ii), Malign Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs) is added to address the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 requirements regarding malign foreign talent recruitment programs. This applies to individuals designated as senior/key persons on a proposal.
  2. The Synergistic Activities section is removed from the biosketch. It is now its own document for each senior/key person up to 1 page and uploaded separately for NSF applications.
  3. The 3-page limitation for the biosketch is also removed. There is no longer a page limit for biosketches.
  4. The Postdoc Mentoring Plan has been replaced by the Mentoring Plan. The new Mentoring plan is required for all applications that include graduate students or postdocs.
  5. Additional language is added into the certification for biosketches and current & pending support documents in compliance with NSPM-33 and CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. You will be prompted to certify these documents each time you download them.

If you are planning or preparing submissions on or after May 20, 2024, you must provide your biosketch and current & pending support document according to the NSF 24-1 requirements. You will be able to convert your biosketch in SciENcv with just a few clicks; the new format rolled out on May 17, 2024. Your current & pending document in SciENcv will be automatically converted into the new format on May 20, 2024.

For more information, please review the webpages and video:

NIH Announced Increases for National Research Service Award Stipends and Childcare Subsidies

NIH announced stipend and childcare subsidy increases for early career scholars supported on NIH Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs). Stipends will be raised by 4% for predoctoral trainees and by 8% for postdoctoral scholars in fiscal year (FY) 2024 (compared to last year), the most substantial year over year increase since FY 2017. Additionally, the childcare subsidy will be increased by an additional $500 (from $2,500 to $3,000) in FY24.

New NSF Grants.gov Application Guide

NSF has published a revised version of the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide (NSF 24-006). Overall, the Guide has been updated to align with the revisions to NSF’s Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 24-1). A by-chapter summary of changes is provided at the beginning of the document.

The Guide is in effect for applications submitted (via Grants.gov) or due on or after May 20, 2024.

Simplified Review Framework for NIH Research Project Grant Applications Webinar

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is simplifying the framework for the peer review of most Research Project Grant (RPG) applications, effective for due dates on or after January 25, 2025. These changes are designed to address the complexity of the peer review process and mitigate potential bias. A webinar was held on April 17, 2024, to address the latest updates, timelines, and how these changes will impact existing and new funding opportunities. A Q&A with NIH experts following the presentation was also included to address additional questions.

The recording is available here: grants.nih.gov/learning-center/srf-updates-to-funding-opportunities

Additional resources/information about the upcoming changes are listed below:

NIH Salary Cap Updated

NIH issued guidance on salary limitations for grants and cooperative agreements for FY2024 on January 29, 2024, through NOT-OD-24-057. The salary cap is now $221,900 per year, which reflects the rate of Level II Executive Schedule issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

NIH Invites Researchers to Participate in Pilot of Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan Templates

NIH, in collaboration with the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP), is conducting a pilot test of DMS plan templates. They are also soliciting feedback which NIH will use to inform possible revisions to the current NIH DMS Plan format page. The goal is to encourage greater consistency in DMS Plan requirements across NIH Institutes and Centers and mitigate the administrative burden associated with DMS Plan development and implementation for researchers. NIH encourages researchers to use the two FDP templates when preparing DMS plans, and to submit the accompanying FDP survey. The goal is to gain an understanding of what works best for researchers and to streamline the user experience once the first phase of the pilot is complete.

Reporting Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Plan Activities in the Research Performance Progress Report

NIH will be updating the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) instructions to address the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy.

Webinar Recording Available: Congruence Review (for Studies Involving Vertebrate Animals)

Congruence review is the process that ensures that the information in IACUC protocols is consistent with the application to be awarded. It is required prior to award. Did you miss this informative webinar hosted by the NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) earlier this year? The resources are now available!

The Time to Start Using SciENcv is NOW

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.

When NSF rolled out the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) for 2023 (NSF 23-1) in January 2023, it announced the transition to mandate the use of SciENcv generated biographical sketch and current and pending support documents starting October 23, 2023. (See Documents Required for Senior Personnel)

It does take a little time to setup 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 carry the same information we put on Word or PDF templates in the past. They are also 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 time saver for you and your administrators.

The documents generated by SciENcv are also digitally tagged. Research.gov will check on them, and no alternatives will be accepted starting October 23, 2023. If you need to make changes after a document is generated, you have to go back to SciENcv, make the changes, and generate a new copy. You should not alter these documents in any way after they are generated. It will break this digital seal, and the documents will not be accepted by NSF.

Additionally, when you generate documents in SciENcv, you are certifying that the information provided in your biographical sketch and current and pending support documents is accurate, current, and complete. All these requirements are developed in compliance with the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 and National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33) Implementation Guidance.

It is time to start using SciENcv and take advantage of what this time-saving utility has to offer. Gear up your profile today and not the day before your next NSF proposal is due. When the next deadline approaches, you can spend more time polishing your project description instead of formatting your biosketch.

Information that Must be Disclosed in the NSF Current and Pending (Other) Support Document

In recent years, all federal agencies have increased their requirements for what must be disclosed when reporting current and pending support. Here is a list of items that must be included for NSF:

  1. All projects currently under consideration (including the current proposal) from whatever source, and all ongoing projects, irrespective of whether support is provided through the proposing organization, another organization, or directly to the individual, and regardless of whether or not they have monetary value (e.g., even if the support received are in-kind contributions such as office/laboratory space, equipment, supplies, or employees).
  2. In-kind contributions not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed and have an associated time commitment.
  3. Current or pending participation in, or applications to, programs sponsored by foreign governments, instrumentalities, or entities, including foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs.
  4. Postdoctoral scholars, students, or visiting scholars who are supported by an external entity, whose research activities are not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed and have an associated time commitment.
  5. Consulting that falls outside of an individual’s appointment/agreement.
  6. Travel supported/paid by an external entity to perform research activities with an associated time commitment.
  7. Startup company based on non-organization-licensed IP.
  8. Startup packages from other than the proposing organization.

For more information, NSF offers a disclosures table and FAQ on Current & Pending Support.

NIH: Updated Instructions on Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Costs in the Application Process

NIH updated the instructions on Data Management and Sharing (DMS) costs in the application process on July 31, 2023, through the release of NOT-OD-23-161.

Effective for applications submitted for due dates on or after October 5, 2023, NIH will no longer require the use of the single DMS cost line item. NIH recognizes that DMS costs may be requested in many cost categories. Therefore, in line with NIH’s standard budget instructions, DMS costs must be requested in the appropriate cost category (e.g., personnel, equipment, supplies, and other expenses) following the instructions for the R&R Budget Form or PHS 398 Modular Budget Form, as applicable. While the single cost line item is no longer required, NIH will require applicants to specify estimated DMS cost details in the Budget Justification for detailed budgets or the Additional Narrative Justification for modular budgets.

Policy information and additional resources about the Data Management and Sharing can be found on the NIH website: sharing.nih.gov/data-management-and-sharing-policy


Hanover Research

Grant Academy Roundtable: Launching Competitive Grantseekers - June 27

Through Hanover’s Grant Academy services, our team collaborates with a wide range of institutions to support faculty in the early stages of building their research careers. In this session, our team will review major insights and best practices that institutions can consider in creating faculty development programs focused on grant writing.

Date/Time: Thu, June 27, 11 am Central
Registration

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.

Hanover Watch On-Demand

Hannover has these additional resources:


University of Houston

Announcements

New NSF Requirements on Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs

Effective May 20, 2024, the National Science Foundation requires all individuals designated as senior/key personnel to provide additional information and disclosures within proposal applications. Senior/key personnel will now need to certify that they are not a party to a malign foreign talent recruitment program.

A new Interim SAM (SAM 01.G.04) on Participation in Foreign Talent Recruitment Programs was approved on May 7, 2024. Read More

Watch: Getting Started with ORCID

Andrea Malone of UH Libraries walks you through the process of setting up your ORCID iD and adding works to your profile. Watch on SharePoint.

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.


Gulf Coast Consortium News

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

Register Now: How to Mentor Scientific Communication - a Workshop for Postdocs, June 24 & 26 (both dates = 1 workshop)

Topics include practical strategies for mentoring younger scientists, such as giving effective feedback, coaching writing, speaking and presenting, and fostering motivation and productivity. In person ONLY. You must be able to attend both sessions.

Date/Time: Mon, June 24, and Wed, June 26, 9:30 am-12:30 pm (same time both days)
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main Street, Room 106, Houston. Space is limited.
Registration

Save the Date: 34th Keck Annual Research Conference and Poster Session, Machine Learning and Computational Biology in Structure, Oct 25

2024 Keck Conference co-chairs are Matthew Baker, Ph.D., UTHealth, and Monte Pettitt, Ph.D., UTMB. Poster Contest to open in June 2024. More information to come.

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