Research Tracks

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

November 26, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Reminder: Internal pre-proposals due Dec. 12 for NSF MRI program

https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/programs/mri/The National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program provides funds for the acquisition or development of science or engineering instruments for research or research training.

Because applications to the program are limited, the OVPR conducts an internal competition to determine which proposals will be certified to represent Baylor with a full proposal to the NSF.  Internal pre-proposals are due to the OVPR on Dec. 12, 2013.

Click here for information and instructions on submitting pre-proposals for the MRI program.  Click here for more information about the NSF MRI program.

November 25, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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NSF releases updated procedures guide

The National Science Foundation has released the 2014 edition of its Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.  The new edition is effective for all proposals submitted or due on or after Feb. 24, 2014.

The revised guide contains changes to policies that impact proposal preparation as well as updates and clarifications intended to make the proposal process more user-friendly.

Click the image at right to download a PDF copy of the new guide, or click here for a summary of significant changes in the new version.

Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 254-710-3817 with any questions.

October 21, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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NSF issues guidance on post-shutdown policy and systems issues

The National Science Foundation has announced the resumption of normal business following the end of the government shutdown, but they caution that there may be delays as the agency’s staff works through backlogs of activity.

According to a recent notice, NSF staff are once again able to process proposals, reports, no-cost extension requests and other transactions through the normal channels, but they may be unable to meet their usual customer service standard of informing applicants of the status of their proposals within six months.

The agency will be rescheduling proposal due dates that fell between Oct. 1 and 25, as well as proposal review panels canceled due to the shutdown.  The new dates will be communicated through a FastLane advisory and other electronic methods as soon as possible.

Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 710-3817 with any questions.

October 18, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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NIH reschedules grant deadlines and review panels

In the wake of the recent government shutdown, the National Institutes of Health has announced that the agency is rescheduling its October grant application deadlines in order to provide better service to applicants.

Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH’s deputy director for extramural research, wrote on an NIH blog yesterday that proposal deadlines in October will be pushed back into November so that applicants will have access to NIH support staff and electronic systems as they prepare to submit applications.  Specific due dates have not been announced, but the new deadlines will be posted in the NIH Guide as soon as they are established.

In addition to grant application deadlines, Rockey said proposal review meetings which were canceled during the shutdown will also be rescheduled.

Rockey expects eRA Commons and other NIH extramural electronic systems to be operational by Monday, Oct. 21.

Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 710-3817 with any questions.

Edit: The NIH Guide has been updated with information on the resumption of extramural activities following the government shutdown.  Click here to read the notice.

October 1, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Impact of the government shutdown on federally funded research

This morning’s shutdown of the U.S. federal government has caused federal agencies, including those responsible for research funding, to suspend most of their activities. During the period of the shutdown, federally funded investigators may continue to carry out their projects, but support services and payments from the agencies will likely remain suspended pending a resumption of government functions.

Click “Continue reading” for a summary of statements from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health regarding the status of activities during the shutdown.
Continue Reading →

September 27, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Funding opportunity: Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has released a request for applications for the 2013 Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program.  The program provides two-year grants of up to $100,000 for basic research at Texas universities.

This year’s NHARP program targets two areas: basic research in biomedicine and basic research in energy and the environment.  Any early career principal investigator — a non-tenured, tenure track faculty member or research professional — may apply to the program.

Prospective applicants to the program must submit a pre-proposal by 5:00 p.m. CDT on Oct. 31. Full proposals from selected applicants will be due on Feb. 20, 2014.

More information and full guidelines are available on the NHARP website.  To begin the application process, contact your academic unit’s OSP coordinator.

August 30, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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OSP announces update to university’s rate for facility and administrative cost reimbursement

The Office of Sponsored programs has announced an updated rate for facility and administrative (F&A) reimbursements on external grants.  F&A, also called indirect costs, are reimbursements for university expenditures that cannot be allocated to a specific research project.

The new rates are 38.5% for on-campus projects and 15.6% for off-campus projects. These rates apply to all future proposals and all proposals which have not yet been submitted to the sponsor.

Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 710-3817 with any questions.

August 20, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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NIH to require eRA Commons IDs for graduate and undergraduate students

A new policy from the National Institutes of Health will require graduate and undergraduate students working on NIH-funded projects to set up eRA Commons IDs.

The new policy will be implemented in three phases over the next 14 months:

  • Currently, graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to establish eRA Commons accounts.
  • On Oct. 18, 2013, the PHS 2590 and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR) forms will start prompting for this information. Warnings will also appear in eRA Commons screens to alert students that they need to establish an ID.
  • By October 2014, all RPPRs must have eRA Commons IDs for graduate and undergraduate students or the reports won’t be accepted by NIH.

Baylor investigators working on NIH-funded research projects are encouraged to help their students establish eRA Commons accounts as soon as possible.

Click here to read the full notice from NIH. Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 254-710-3817 for more information.

August 15, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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NSF announces funds to provide mid-scale instrumentation for FY 2014 awards in physics division

The National Science Foundation has established a special fund to enable acquisition of instrumentation as part of research projects funded by the foundation’s physics division.

According to a recent “Dear Colleague” letter, the new Mid-Scale Instrumentation Fund will allow applicants who need specialized equipment to request funding for the instrumentation as part of their regular proposal without regard to the program’s funding cap. Should the project receive funding, the program officer may request that instrumentation funds be provided through the Mid-Scale Instrumentation fund if the investigator has justified the necessity of the equipment to the completion of the project. These one-time awards may be used for purchase or development of instrumentation when the funding needed exceeds the $4 million limit of the Major Research Instrumentation program.

The NSF encourages prospective applicants to contact the cognizant program officer before submitting a proposal that includes a request for mid-scale instrumentation funds. A full list of program officers and their contact information is located on the NSF physics division website.

Click here to read the “Dear Colleague” letter from C. Denise Caldwell, the director of the NSF’s physics division.

June 13, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Budget act brings additional review criteria to NSF political science program

This spring, the U.S. congress passed a continuing budget resolution which contained an amendment that limits the circumstances under which the National Science Foundation’s political science program can provide research funding.  Under the new policy, the program cannot provide research funding unless the NSF director certifies that the research promotes national security or the economic interests of the United States.

In response to the new requirement, the NSF issued a notice outlining a modification to the review criteria used to evaluate proposals to the political science program.  In addition to providing feedback on proposals’ intellectual merit and broader impacts, reviewers will now be asked to provide feedback on the extent to which the proposed research promotes the nation’s security or economic interests.  The changes currently only apply to proposals for FY 2013, but extension of the new requirement is a possibility.

Click here to read the NSF notice on the new requirements. Investigators are also encouraged to visit the NSF’s political science program home page for future updates.