June 27, 2012

DOE Notice on Accelerated Spending of ARRA Funds

Recipients of Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) discretionary program funds should read the June 22, 2012 letter from David Sandalow, Acting Under Secretary of Energy, to all of DOE’s prime grant recipients. This letter addresses the Office of Management and Budget’s September 2011 memorandum M-11-34 regarding accelerated spending of ARRA funds.

Please note that the deadline is July 15, 2012 for requesting an extension that moves a project’s period of performance beyond September 13, 2013. These requests must be submitted through SPO.

DOE will be submitting a waiver to OMB for every DOE Recovery Act discretionary grant recipient that already has a Period of Performance that extends past September 30, 2013. For all other requests, DOE will review the request and determine on a case-by-case basis which to submit to OMB. Once OMB releases formal guidance on the waiver process, DOE will follow up with recipients.

If you are unsure if your DOE-funded project includes ARRA funds, please consult the list of ARRA awards received by UC Berkeley.

June 15, 2012

NIH Provides “LikeThis” Search Tool in eRA Commons

The National Institutes of Health eRA Commons has a new LikeThis search tool to help principal investigators find and learn about other research projects. By entering specific scientific terms or accessing their own grant applications or grants and clicking on LikeThis, investigators will be provided a listing of similar funded projects and/or publications.

The LikeThis tool is available to PIs registered in eRA Commons and is available as a link after logging in to eRA Commons. The search data is confidential and is not available to other users of this site.

NIH suggests that PIs can use LikeThis to determine which NIH Institute or study section to list as a preference in application cover letters. PIs can enter scientific text from their grant application into LikeThis to find similar grants, including the name of the NIH funding Institute as well as a list of the study sections where these were reviewed. Alternatively, PIs can access their previously funded or unfunded grants from the “My Applications” tab in LikeThis to find similarly funded grants.

LikeThis is currently available to PIs only. However, after July 20, the tool will be available to Signing Officials as well as others with eRA Commons roles such as Trainee, Post Doc, and Assistant.

US Ignite to Encourage New Applications for Next-Generation Networks

The White House and the National Science Foundation have announced a new initiative, US Ignite, to support new applications to improve healthcare delivery, advanced manufacturing, disaster response, and address other societal needs, using fast, open, next-generation networks.

NSF will serve as the lead federal agency. US Ignite will expand on investments in the NSF-funded Global Environment for Networking Innovation (GENI) project which lays the technical groundwork for the initiative. NSF has issued a Dear Colleague Letter requesting EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals or supplemental funding requests for the development of novel applications that take advantage of advanced networks developed through GENI and have societal impact. Before submitting an EAGER proposal or supplemental funding request, investigators must submit a two-page summary by email.

NSF has also announced an award to the Mozilla Foundation to host an open innovation challenge, Mozilla Ignite.

NRC Report on Research Universities and the Future of America

On June 14, the National Research Council published Research Universities and the Future of America: Ten Breakthrough Actions Vital to Our Nation’s Prosperity and Security. This report was requested by Congress to assess the competitive position of  U.S. research universities and to respond to the question: “What are the top ten actions that Congress, the federal government, state governments, research universities, and others can take to assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education needed to help the United States compete, prosper, and achieve national goals for health, energy, the environment, and security in the global community of the 21st century?”

The report recommends the following ten strategic actions that the nation should take in the next five to ten years to maintain top-quality U.S. research institutions.
  • Federal Action: Within the broader framework of U.S. innovation and R&D strategies, the federal government should adopt stable and effective policies, practices, and funding for university-performed R&D and graduate education so that the nation will have a stream of new knowledge and educated people to power our future, helping us meet national goals and ensure prosperity and security.
  • State Action: Provide greater autonomy for public research universities so that these institutions may leverage local and regional strengths to compete strategically and respond with agility to new opportunities. At the same time, restore state appropriations for higher education, including graduate education and research, to levels that allow public research universities to operate at world-class levels.
  • Strengthening Partnerships with Business: Strengthen the business role in the research partnership, facilitating the transfer of knowledge, ideas, and technology to society, and accelerate “time-to-innovation” in order to achieve our national goals.
  • Improving University Productivity: Increase university cost-effectiveness and productivity in order to provide a greater return on investment for taxpayers, philanthropists, corporations, foundations, and other research sponsors.
  • A Strategic Investment Program: Create a Strategic Investment Program that funds initiatives at research universities critical to advancing education and research in areas of key national priority.
  • Full Federal Funding of Research: The federal government and other research sponsors should strive to cover the full costs of research projects and other activities they procure from research universities in a consistent and transparent manner.
  • Reducing Regulatory Burdens: Reduce or eliminate regulations that increase administrative costs, impede research productivity, and deflect creative energy without substantially improving the research environment.
  • Reforming Graduate Education: Improve the capacity of graduate programs to attract talented students by addressing issues such as attrition rates, time-to-degree, funding, and alignment with both student career opportunities and national interests.
  • STEM Pathways for Diversity: Secure for the United States the full benefits of education for all Americans, including women and underrepresented minorities, in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology.
  • International Students and Scholars: Ensure that the United States will continue to benefit strongly from the participation of international students and scholars in our research enterprise.

June 11, 2012

California HIV/AIDS Research Program Letters of Intent Due July 10

On June 5, 2012, the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (CHRP) managed by the UC Office of the President announced a Call for Applications in Basic Biomedical Sciences. In 2012, the program will offer Awards for Innovative Pilot Studies (IDEA- Innovative, Developmental, Exploratory Award) and Research Training Awards for Dissertation and Postdoctoral Training.

Required letters of intent are due July 10, 2012, and applications are due September 13, 2012. CHRP will host a webinar for prospective applicants on Tuesday, June 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

June 07, 2012

DOD Minerva Initiative for Social Science Research: Save the Dates

The U. S. Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative is a university-based social science basic research program that seeks to build deeper understanding of the social, cultural, and political dynamics that shape regions of strategic interest around the world.

The Initiative has posted a “save-the-date” notice that the 2012 Minerva Conference will be held September 13-14 in Washington, D.C.

The  program intends to release a new Broad Agency Announcement this summer for a 2012/2013 competition, with similar but updated topic tracks to the 2011/2012 competition.

July 27, 2011 Research Advocate: DoD Funding for Social Sciences: Minerva Research Initiative