Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

November 3, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

Funding opportunity: NIH Loan Repayment Programs

NIH_LogoTo encourage outstanding professionals to pursue careers in biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research, the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) offer to repay student loans for individuals conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity.

The LRPs may repay up to $35,000 of qualified student loan debt per year for individuals who make a two-year commitment to qualified research programs.  The program can be used for repayment of student debt accrued in undergraduate, graduate or medical school.  In addition to the loan repayment benefits, students will also receive an institutional salary for their research.

Applications to the LRPs are due by Nov. 17, 2014. Click here for program eligibility information and application instructions.

September 29, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NSF offers Q&A webinars for prospective SBIR/STTR applicants

SBIRThis fall, the NSF will host a series of  informational webinars for individuals who are interested in applying for funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Translation (STTR) programs.  The free online sessions will help prospective applicants navigate the proposal process and get started on their applications.

In addition to information on the webinars, the NSF’s website also offers links to YouTube videos about the SBIR/STTR program and user guides for developing and submitting applications.

Click here for more information or to register for an upcoming webinar.

September 23, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NSF announces intent to use “Asynchronous Review Mechanism” for proposals submitted to physics division

NSF LogoIn a recent “Dear Colleague” letter, the National Science Foundation has announced that it will use an asynchronous review model for proposals submitted to its physics division.

The new review method, pilot tested in FY 2013, allows reviewers to provide input to other members of the review panel in the weeks leading up to the face-to-face review meeting. Previously, discussion of proposals was limited to the short time that reviewers spend together during the proposal review meeting.

Each of the physics division’s program officers will decide whether to employ this asynchronous mechanism or to use the traditional review process.

The NSF says the change change is intended to encourage deeper, more thoughtful comments and discussions on the proposals, leading to better evaluations and more helpful feedback to investigators. While the mechanics of the review process will change, the NSF emphasizes that the criteria used to evaluate proposals — intellectual merit and broader impacts — will remain unchanged.

Click here to read the “Dear Colleague” letter on the NSF website, or click here for more general information about the NSF’s merit review process.

September 9, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NIH’s PubMed Commons helps scientists discuss research with their peers

commons-blogIn a recent post on his blog, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins discussed PubMed Commons, a new online resource that makes it easy for researchers to engage in online discussion with colleagues regarding scientific publications.  Any scientist with at least one publication in PubMed can comment on any of the more than three million papers in the database.  Members can also rate the comments they find useful, helping the best discussion points stand out from the field.

Collins reports that since the launch of PubMed Commons, 5,000 eligible scientists have signed up and posted around 1,600 comments.

Click here to read the full post on Collins’ blog.  More information is also available on the PubMed Commons Blog.

June 10, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NIH issues challenge for ideas to improve peer review

NIH_LogoThe National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review has announced a challenge program seeking ideas from the scientific community on ways to improve the fairness and impartiality of grant proposal peer review.

The program offers a $10,000 first prize and a $5,000 second prize for ideas in response to two challenge categories: ‘New methods to detect bias in peer review’ and ‘Strategies to strengthen fairness and impartiality in peer review.’

Submissions to the program may be submitted by email any time prior to the June 30 deadline.  Winners will be announced in September.

Click here for more information and complete rules.

May 1, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NIH issues clarification to new resubmission policies

NIH LogoLast month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced a change to the policy regarding resubmissions of unsuccessful proposals.

In response to questions from the research community, the two groups have issued a clarification to the new rule.  The clarification provides information about due dates for resubmissions, programs to which the policy is applicable, and options for timing of resubmission.

Click here to read the clarification statement, or click here to read the resubmission FAQ document, which contains answers to many common questions about the policy.

April 22, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NSF increases minimum award size for engineering CAREER program

NSF LogoThe National Science Foundation has announced an increase in the minimum amount of awards made by the Directorate of Engineering under the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program.

According to a Dear Colleague Letter released this morning, the minimum five-year CAREER award size will be $500,000 beginning with the FY 2015 program (July 22, 2014 proposal deadline).  The change applies to CAREER proposals submitted to all programs in Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET); Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI); Electrical, Computer and Cyber Systems (ECCS) and Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) within the Directorate of Engineering.

Click here to read the Dear Colleague Letter, which contains contact information for NSF officials who can answer any questions about the change.


April 17, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NIH announces change to proposal resubmission policy

NIH_LogoThe National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have announced a change to their policy regarding resubmission of unfunded research grant proposals.

Since 2009, NIH and AHRQ policy has limited unsuccessful proposals to one resubmission.  If a resubmission was also not funded, investigators were required to substantially change the content and scope of their project in order to submit it as a new proposal.

The latest change, announced today on the NIH website, allows unsuccessful resubmissions to be presented as new applications without a redesign of the project’s content and scope. While applicants are encouraged to take advantage of previous reviewers’ comments and suggestions, they will not be required to specifically address them in the proposal.

For more information on this new policy, check out today’s blog post by Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH’s deputy director for extramural research.

March 24, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NSF releases new strategic plan document

The NSF's new strategic plan sets out core approaches the agency will use to measure its performance.

The NSF’s new strategic plan sets out core approaches the agency will use to measure its performance.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released a new strategic plan outlining goals to guide the agency through 2018.

The plan, Investing in Science, Engineering and Education for the Nation’s Future, sets out three major strategic goals:

  • Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering. Invest in fundamental research to ensure significant continuing advances across science, engineering, and education. Integrate education and research to support development of a diverse STEM workforce with cutting-edge capabilities. Provide world-class research infrastructure to enable major scientific advances.
  • Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education. Strengthen the links between fundamental research and societal needs through investments and partnerships. Build the capacity of the nation to address societal challenges using a suite of formal, informal, and broadly available STEM educational mechanisms.
  • Excel as a Federal Science Agency. Build an increasingly diverse, engaged, and high-performing workforce by fostering excellence in recruitment, training, leadership, and management of human capital. Use effective methods and innovative solutions to achieve excellence in accomplishing the agency’s mission.

“The plan is intended to guide us through a very dynamic environment in science and engineering research and education,” said NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett. “It allows us to maintain a strong focus on our mission but also be flexible in meeting the changing requirements of the research and education enterprise along with emerging and pressing societal challenges.”

The full plan, along with a summary document, is accessible on the NSF website.

February 3, 2014
by Baylor OVPR

NIH institute provides guidance on writing better grant proposals

NIH_LogoAre you interested in applying for research funding from the National Institutes of Health?  If so, you’ll want to read Ten Steps to a Winning R01 Application. While the publication is made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the advice it offers is applicable to proposals to any NIH institute.  It lays out a clear roadmap to help you organize your ideas and present them in a way that is persuasive to reviewers.

NIAID announces updates to Ten Steps (along with funding opportunities and other tips for biomedical researchers) in their NIAID Funding Newsletter. Both Ten Steps and the NIAID newsletter are great resources for anyone interested in seeking funding from any NIH agency.

Click here to read the latest newsletter issue. You can also subscribe to email alerts so you’ll receive the newsletters in your inbox as soon as they are released.