Research Tracks

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

September 23, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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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.

April 29, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA honors top student research from 2014 Scholars Week

The 2014 edition of Scholars Week was one of the largest ever, with 165 students presenting the results of their independent research and scholarly activities.  The event included two days of platform presentations and two days of poster sessions where students had the chance to present their research findings to their peers.  The OVPR thanks the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) Steering Committee as well as students involved in Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science & Technology (BURST) for all their hard work.

This year, for the first time, the URSA Steering Committee and Baylor University Libraries presented awards for the most outstanding platform presentations.  Library staff attended each presentation and selected the most outstanding student research in four divisions: Arts and humanities, nursing, social science and STEM.

As in previous years, the top research posters in a number of departments were recognized by faculty with outstanding poster designations.  The anthropology, biology, environmental science, geology, physics and psychology & neuroscience departments, along with the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, recognized top posters presented by students mentored by their faculty.  These posters are currently on display in the walkway between the Moody and Jones libraries.  The exhibition will continue through commencement weekend, May 16 and 17.

Click “Continue Reading” to see a full list of outstanding platform presentations and posters from Scholars Week 2014.
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March 17, 2014
by Baylor OVPR
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OVPR announces recipients of FY 2015 URSA Small Grants

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement (URSA) Steering Committee have announced the recipients of the FY 2015 URSA Small Grants program.  The grants are intended to provide opportunities for faculty-student interaction through mentored research experiences.  Students who work on URSA-funded projects also develop presentation skills through participation in URSA Scholars Week. Continue Reading →

October 16, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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Upcoming event: OVPR welcomes Nobel laureate for inaugural lecture in BRIC Foundations series

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is pleased to welcome Nobel laureate and senior NASA astrophysicist Dr. John C. Mather for the inaugural lecture in the new BRIC Foundations International Speaker Series.

Mather and co-researcher Dr. George Smoot shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics for their work with the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. The COBE satellite provided the first space-based measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation remaining from the Big Bang and yielded valuable insight into the early stages of the universe’s development (click here to read more about Mather and Smoot’s Nobel-winning research).

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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.

May 16, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA ceremony honors contributions to undergraduate research

The OVPR and the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) steering committee sponsored the first-ever URSA awards ceremony this month. Dr. Truell Hyde, vice provost for research, presented plaques and certificates honoring administrators, faculty and students who have contributed to the growth of undergraduate research at Baylor.

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May 2, 2013
by Baylor OVPR
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URSA honors outstanding posters from 2013 Scholars Week

Top undergraduate research posters from 2013 URSA Scholars Week are on display in the corridor between Moody and Jones Libraries through commencement weekend.

Last month, over 180 Baylor undergrads presented results of their independent research at URSA Scholars Week, a four-day celebration of undergraduate research sponsored by the OVPR and the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) steering committee (click here to read more Research Tracks coverage of the 2013 Scholars Week event).

This week, the departments of anthropology, biology, chemistry & biochemistry, environmental science, physics and psychology & neuroscience have recognized the top Scholars Week posters from their disciplines.

The top posters from these six departments are on display in the corridor between Moody and Jones libraries.  The posters will remain on display through commencement weekend, May 17 and 18, thanks to an arrangement between URSA, the Baylor Libraries, and Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST), a student organization dedicated to promoting independent research among undergraduates.  Students and faculty mentors involved with these projects will be honored at an upcoming awards ceremony sponsored by the OVPR and URSA.

Click “Continue Reading” to see the full list of outstanding research posters from these departments.

Continue Reading →