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:

  • Carlos Ordonez (Physics) was awarded $796,968 from DOD Army Research Office: “Eclectic Studies in Quantum Information: Circuit QED and the Unruh Effect, Entanglement Degradation in Causal Diamonds and Conformal Quantum Mechanics Aspects of Quantum Chaos.”
  • Yuxuan Wang (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) was awarded $40,000 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: “Global Modeling for Initial and Boundary Conditions.”
  • Judy Wu (Chemistry) was awarded $539,999 from NSF: “Real-World Applications of the Antiaromaticity Concept: Assemblies, Synthetic Strategies, and Functional Properties.”

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?

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:

  • 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).
  • In-kind contributions not intended for use on the project/proposal being proposed and have an associated time commitment.
  • Current or pending participation in, or applications to, programs sponsored by foreign governments, instrumentalities, or entities, including foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment programs.
  • 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.
  • Consulting that falls outside of an individual’s appointment/agreement.
  • Travel supported/paid by an external entity to perform research activities with an associated time commitment.
  • Startup company based on non-organization-licensed IP.
  • 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.

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.

The NSF biosketch and current and pending support PDF templates will be phased out in October 2023. Starting October 23, 2023, use of SciENcv to prepare biographical sketch and current and pending 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.

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.

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.

Shared Core Technology of the Month: Single Cell Omics

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-SINGLE Core: This CPRIT-funded facility supports collaborative projects and core services for single cell sequencing technologies. The core is directed by Dr. Nicholas Navin and consists of four main components: (1) Tissue dissociation facility, (2) Technologies & assays, (3) Next-generation sequencing, and (4) Data processing & analysis.

Upcoming Events

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.

Date/Time: Sept 26, 4–6 pm Location: BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main, Room 1003, Houston


Register Now: AI in Health Conference, Oct. 9-12

This is an exceptional opportunity to connect with and learn from researchers, engineers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs at the forefront of AI in healthcare and public health. Keynote speakers include Justin T. Baker, McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry and Harvard Univ.; Ashura (Shu) Buckley, National Institutes of Health; and Fei Wang, Cornell Univ. See the conference website for agenda, workshops and other speakers. Sponsor: The Ken Kennedy Institute, Rice Univ.

Date/Time: Oct 9–12 Location: BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main, Houston

Important Dates: Sept 24 - Poster Submission Deadline

Registration - Early Bird registration ends Sept 15.

GCC is an Ecosystem Partner; those associated with GCC receive a 15% discount (use code: ECO15).

Save the Date: 4th Annual GCC Single Cell Omics Symposium, Oct. 18

Confirmed keynote speakers are Mario L. Suvà, Harvard Univ., and Angela Ruohao Wu, The Hong Kong Univ. of Science and Technology. See symposium website for updates on additional speakers and agenda.

Date/Time: Oct 18, 9 am–5pm Central Location: Bioscience Research Collaborative, Auditorium, 6500 Main Street, Houston


33rd Keck Annual Research Conference and Poster Session: “New Frontiers in RNA Biology and Therapeutics,” Oct. 20

The past decade has witnessed exponential growth of RNA research that demonstrated their essential roles as regulatory molecules, as tools for bioengineering, and as therapeutic targets. This year’s conference focuses on major RNA discoveries with an emphasis on cutting-edge RNA research, engineering, and RNA-based therapeutics. It brings together experts in the field of RNA biology to discuss the current advances in a broad range of important processes and the promise of RNA medicine.

The conference and poster session will also highlight the outstanding research underway by predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in the seven inter-institutional training programs administered by the GCC/Keck Center in the greater Houston area. Conference Website

Date: Oct 20, 8 am–5 pm
Location: Bioscience Research Collective, 6500 Main St., Houston


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