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:

Frank McKeon (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded a $3,027,513 grant from National Institutes of Health: “Pro-Inflammatory Stem Cell Variants in Cystic Fibrosis.”

Claudia Ratti (Physics) was awarded a $551,555 grant from University of Illinois-Urbana: “Frameworks: MUSES, Modular Unified Solver of the Equation of State.”

James Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $400,000 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: “Monitoring Related to Ozone Formation in and Ozone and Particulate Matter Transport into the Houston Region and the Dallas-Fort Worth Region.”

James Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $249,838 from the Georgia Institute of Technology: “Mid-Scale RI-1 (M1:IP): Atmospheric Science and Chemistry mEasurement NeTwork (ASCENT).”

James Flynn (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $225,000 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: “TRACER-AQ Analysis in Houston.”

Robert Comito (Chemistry) was awarded $110,000 from the American Chemical Society: “Simple Amination of Polymers and Fine Chemicals by Mild and Selective sp3 CH Imination.”

Shishir Shah (Computer Science) was awarded $110,000 from the University of Texas-El Paso: “BPC-AE: An Extended CAHSI Alliance to Broaden Participation in Graduate Studies.”

Kerri Crawford (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $3,100 from the Braun & Gresham: “Impact of Soil Microbial Seasonal and Spatial Variability on Plant-Soil Feedback (Graduate Student: Jan Dudenhoeffer).”

General Reminders

Looking for new funding opportunities? The NSM Office of Research launched a 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?

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 do. 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

NSF 2022 Policy Office Webinar Series

NSF recently hosted a webinar on Current and Pending Support policy. This was just the first webinar in the 2022 NSF Policy Office Webinar Series. If you missed it or are interested in upcoming webinars, all presentations, handouts, webinar recordings, and event information will be posted at NSF’s policy office website.

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 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.

Research.gov or Fastlane?

Many applicants to NSF funding opportunities ask this question: “Should I submit my proposal through Research.gov or Fastlane?” Our answer to you is “it depends.”

Fastlane has been remarkably successful since its introduction in 1994 and is favored by investigators and administrators over countless similar systems. However, it is now aging and has become increasingly expensive to maintain and even harder to improve. Over the last few years, NSF has been developing Research.gov to eventually replace Fastlane. That is why now both systems are concurrently available to applicants.

As the capabilities of the Research.gov system grow, NSF is slowly turning off programs on Fastlane. While most funding opportunities are still available in Fastlane, you can find out the availability for any specific opportunity on each program announcement. When an opportunity is available on both systems, it is up to you to pick which way you want to go. The requirements are the same regardless of where or how you submit the proposal. Please note there are still some opportunities, though they are few, that are only available to be submitted through Fastlane. So, please carefully read the program announcement.

It is advantageous to familiarize yourself with Research.gov as early as possible. Research.gov does have more stringent validation algorithms checking your documents. Therefore, it is important to allow yourself time to understand these validations and their associated errors or warnings so that you have the appropriate time to address them.

NSF projects that Fastlane will be retired by the end of 2022. Do not let yourself be surprised by the end of Fastlane. Migrate to Research.gov when it is convenient for you.

New NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (NSF 22-1) Now in Effect

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1) has been issued and took effect on October 4, 2021.

Significant changes include:

  • A new section covering requests for reasonable and accessibility accommodations regarding the proposal process or requests for accessibility accommodations to access NSF’s electronic systems, websites, and other digital content.
  • A table entitled, NSF Pre-award and Post-award Disclosures Relating to the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support. This table identifies where pre- and post-award current and pending support disclosure information must be provided. Proposers and awardees may begin using this table immediately.
  • Increasing the page limit for the biographical sketch from two to three pages. Guidelines and templates here: www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/biosketch.jsp
  • Updates to the current and pending support section of NSF proposals to require that information on objectives and overlap with other projects is provided to help NSF and reviewers assess overlap/duplication. Guidelines and templates here: www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/cps.jsp
  • Adding planning proposals and Career-Life Balance supplemental funding requests as new proposal types.
  • Updates to travel proposals will require that AORs certify that prior to the proposer’s participation in the meeting for which NSF travel support is being requested, the proposer will assure that the meeting organizer has a written policy or code-of-conduct addressing harassment.

You are encouraged to review the by-chapter summary of changes provided in the Introduction section of the PAPPG.

Hanover Research

Hanover Grants Calendar: Student Success

As part of efforts to monitor the funding landscape and facilitate strategic planning, Hanover produces a bimonthly Grants Calendar centered on certain funding interests. This calendar reviews upcoming grant opportunities focused on Student Success, covering a range of grantmaking agencies and funders. 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 Research Data Management Librarian

Did you know that UH has a Research Data Management Librarian? UH Libraries offers a range of support for Research Data Management, archiving, and sharing. Contact the Research Data Management Librarian, Reid Boehm, for questions about the following:

  1. Guidance on data management planning for grant proposals or any research project. Let her help you to prepare the Data Management Plan for your next proposal!
  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 Research Data Resources or reach out to Reid at: riboehm@uh.edu.