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:

  • Youtong Zheng (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $875,000 from U.S. DOE: “Using Kilometer-Scale E3SM to Investigate Air Pollution Impacts on Coastal Storms”
  • Adam Stuckert (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $785,315 from NSF: “Collaborative Research: EDGE CMT: A Four-Dimensional Genotype-Phenotype Map of Poison Frog Skin Color”
  • Olafs Daugulis (Chemistry) was awarded $700,001 from U.S. DOE: “Catalytic Conversion of Ethylene to Value-Added Materials”
  • T. Randall Lee (Chemistry) was awarded $510,000 from AFOSR: “Stimuli-Responsive Nanoparticles and Nanoparticle/Polymer Composites Having Controlled Morphologies, Dimensions, and Compositions”
  • Byron Freelon (Physics) was awarded $456,478 from the Office of Science: “Straintronics and Fractionalization in the 2D Magnet CrSBr”
  • Molly Albecker (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $375,842 from NSF: “Collaborative Research: ORCC: Saltwater Rising: Understanding How Sea Level Rise Affects Coastal Amphibians”
  • Shuhab Khan (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $169,449 from the General Land Office: “Impacts of Major Storms on Coastal Erosion in the Texas Gulf Coast”
  • Jangmi Han (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $112,885 from USRA: “Ryugu and the Quest for Unaltered CI-Like Materials from the Early Solar System”
  • Edgar Bering (Physics) was awarded $23,250 from UT Austin: “Texas A&M Astrolab Space Teams Project”
  • Martin Nuñez (Biology & Biochemistry) was awarded $4,850 from Ecolab/Braun & Gresham: “Temporal Changes in Abundance and Importance of Bacteria, Fungi and Plants in the Rhizosphere” (Graduate Student: Robert West)

* 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 curated list of funding opportunities specific to the interests of NSM faculty. The list is updated twice a month, so check back often.

Don’t unnecessarily delay your award! The biggest roadblock to 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 will require SciENcv for all biosketches and Current and Pending Support documents beginning October 23! The fillable pdfs will not be accepted beginning Oct 23, 2023. 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?

Simplified Review Framework for NIH Research Project Grant Applications

In December 2022, NIH announced a new framework for the peer review of most research project grant (RPG) applications beginning with submissions for due dates on or after January 25, 2025. The simplified review framework is expected to better focus peer reviewers on the key questions needed to assess the scientific and technical merit of proposed research projects: “Should the proposed research project be conducted?” “Can the proposed research project be conducted?

On November 3, 2023, NIH hosted an online briefing on this Simplified Peer Review Framework to provide an overview and answer questions. A recording and transcript will be available through this link: grants.nih.gov/learning-center/simplified-peer-review-framework

NSF: Federal Register Notice

NSF is seeking public comment regarding any fatal flaws in the proposed Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

The comment request deadline is November 20, 2023.

Save the Date for Fall 2023 NSF Virtual Grants Conference - Dec 4–7

Join NSF for the Fall 2023 NSF Virtual Grants Conference to be held during the week of December 4–7, 2023. Registration is free of charge and opened on Wednesday, November 8.

This is your opportunity to learn about the processes, policies, and upcoming changes at NSF. You will also be able to interact with the program officers from the Directorates that support your research.

You can also sign up for email updates to stay informed about NSF Proposal & Award-related news and upcoming events through nsfpolicyoutreach.com/get-notified/.

How to Prepare Successful Internal Applications?

UH internal award programs can provide a great boost to your research activities. However, just because it is internal to UH, it does not make it any less competitive. The Division of Research provided an overview and strategy in a webinar to help you navigate the application process and learn about the requirements, expectations, and common issues/pitfalls encountered by faculty when applying for internal awards. Cougarnet login is required.

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 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 to 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 is 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 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 our 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 within the “Budget Justification” attachment of the R&R Budget Form or the “Additional Narrative Justification” attachment of the PHS 398 Modular Budget Form, pursuant to the instructions.

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

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).

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.

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:

Hanover Research

Upcoming Webinar: Incorporating Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) into Your Grant Proposal

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) are high priorities for federal agencies, both in their internal management and in the grants they disburse.

In this session, Hanover examines how meaningful integration of DEIA into grant proposals is important, and how to ensure that your project is supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Date: Thur, Nov 30
Time: 12 pm ET / 11 am CT

Register here

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

Upcoming Events

A Step-By-Step Guide to Completing NIH’s Mandatory Reports

Shannon Gary, director of Research Administrative Services in the Office of Contracts and Grants, will guide you through the steps for successfully completing the NIH RPPR, or Research Performance Progress Report. This is a mandatory document required for recipients of NIH grants and is used to provide detailed information on the progress of research projects and the use of grant funds.

NIH RPPRs play a crucial role in ensuring that projects are conducted effectively and in accordance with grant terms. They facilitate the flow of information between researchers and the NIH, enabling data-driven decisions about the allocation of research funds. A satisfactory RPPR is often a prerequisite for the release of the next year’s funding. Failure to submit RPPRs can lead to delays, grant suspension, or even ineligibility for future funding.

Date/Time: Wed, Nov 29, 10-11 am
Online Event - Zoom link will be sent to those registered through Humanitix



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

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

The Gulf Coast Consortia is launching a Technology Feedback Forum (TFF) program to help academic entrepreneurs more rapidly commercialize their healthcare discoveries. TFFs will provide entrepreneurs with advice from engaged healthcare leaders with expertise specific to each technology and an extensive review, discussion, and feedback regarding scientific innovation; key data needed; tech transfer/intellectual property; local resources/potential collaborators; competitive landscape; commercial potential; pharma and/or VC interest. To request a feedback consultation and for the next steps, contact Suzanne Tomlinson at st48@rice.edu.

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.

Highlighted Core of the Month: Cellular Therapy Core, UT Health

The Cellular Therapy Core (CTC) enables the translation, scale-up, and validation of promising new therapeutic technologies developed by scientists and/or physicians at a preclinical level, into clinical-grade processes that can be used to manufacture cell-based and/or tissue engineered and/or combination products for clinical applications. It consists of The Judith R. Hoffberger Cellular Therapeutics Laboratory, located on the 6th floor of the Medical School Building (MSB), and The Evelyn H. Griffin Stem Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory, located on the 6th floor of the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Building (BBSB), two state-of-the-art CLIA- and FDA-registered facilities designed and engineered to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) and Good Tissue Practice (cGTP) of the FDA.

Upcoming Events

AMR Foundations Courses (Zoom), Nov 14 and 16

The AMR Foundations Course is focused primarily on the mechanisms of action and resistance of the most common antibiotics used in clinical practice, with important components related to antifungal resistance, genomics, microbiome science, the pharmacology of antibiotics, antibiotic stewardship, and the important problem of C. difficile. These lectures will be for 1.15 hours, Tuesdays and Thursdays, during the fall semester by Zoom.

  • Tue, Nov 14, Noon–1:15 pm: Dr. Michael Lorenz, UTHealth, will discuss “Current Concepts Related to Pathogenesis of C. difficile Infections and Therapeutic Approaches.”
  • Thur, Nov 16, Noon–1:15 pm: Dr. Cesar Arias, HMRI, will discuss “An Overview of Main AMR Problems and Their Impact on Clinical Practice.”

Please email Elizabeth Lawrence, el53@rice.edu, for the Zoom link.

AMR Foundations Course Schedule

GCC Cellular and Molecular Biophysics Conference, Nov 15

Confirmed keynote presenters: Jane Dyson, Scripps Research Institute; and Jane Shelby Richardson, Duke Univ. Other confirmed speakers include: Steven Boeynaems, Baylor College of Medicine; Naihao Chiang, Univ. of Houston; Sheena D’Arcy, UT Dallas; Allan Ferreon, Baylor College of Medicine; Junji Iwahara, UTMB; Elizabeth Kellogg, Cornell Univ.; Andrea Stavoe, UTHealth; and Gül Zerze, Univ. of Houston.

More information can be found on the conference website.

Date/Time: Wed, Nov 15, 9 am–5 pm
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative, Auditorium, 6500 Main Street, Houston

Regular registration ended Nov 12. Late registration begins Nov. 13 with additional charges. Registration

Mentoring Up for Current (and Almost) Postdocs, Dec 15

This active learning workshop develops skills and facilitates discussions for solving dilemmas and managing mentoring relationships in the biosciences. If you are early in your postdoc or are soon to graduate and have accepted a postdoc position, this is for you! Presented by: Evelin Young, Lead, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Baylor College of Medicine; Fred Pereira, Director, Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Development, Baylor College of Medicine; Vicki Alger, Training Administrator, GCC.

Date/Time: Fri, Dec 15, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative Event Space, 6500 Main Street, Houston

Space is limited. Register here

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