Info for Researchers

Research Updates

  1. NSF Proposals Returned without Review
  2. Patent Databases
  3. New DARPA Program/Program Officer Contacts
  4. Mentoring
  5. NSF Broader Impacts
  6. Seed Grants and Funding for New and Transformative Research
  7. MRSEC Seed Grant Program
  8. The Engine Funding Program Application Due Dates
  9. Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities
  10. Grant Writing Crash Course
  11. Upcoming Classes in the Research Administration Training Series (RATS)
  12. Research News & Publicizing Research

1. NSF Proposals Returned without Review

Update on NSF Proposals Returned without Review

After last week’s update to faculty on proposals returned without review, based on noncompliance with the grant preparation guide. Particularly, we had one program manager who wanted the full name of authors. Since then, we have received feedback from several departments who have contacted their specific program managers at NSF, and have received some variety of responses. The consistent message is that the use of ‘et al.’ in author lists is unacceptable, and your proposal can be returned without review for this reason. Most program managers PREFER that full names be used in the 2 page faculty CV, so that they can better use this to identify conflicts of interest with reviewers. This is not difficult for faculty – these are your own publications, and you know the full names of your co-authors.

The specific information for the reference list (the references associated with the full proposal) says: ‘Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication.’ The common format of Initial.LastName (C.Furse) is sufficient. All authors should still be listed (do not use ‘et al.’), in order they are listed on the publication.

It is suggested that you follow up with your own program manager with any questions you have in proposal development. Your UofU OSP officer is also a good resource for proposal development questions.

NSF is now actively applying the ‘letter of the law’ in many divisions, and turning proposals away if they do not meet the requirements in the 2013 (new) NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). Yes, this has happened to at least one faculty at the UofU.

Common Reasons for Return without review:
– Proposal is a duplicate of, or substantially similar to, one already under consideration by NSF from the same PI/co-PIs.
– Proposal was previously reviewed and has not been substantially revised.
– Broader impacts are not addressed in separate section in (a) Project Summary, (b) Project Description – proposed work, and (c) Project Description –NSF support section
– Recent (last 5 years) NSF support section (up to 5 pages) is missing from Project Description – This is required for each PI and coPI and MUST include NSF award number, amount, time period; title; results of the completed work in two separate sections on Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact; publications/products and their availability; if renewal, relation of the completed work to the proposed work)
– Reference section: title missing; incomplete list of all authors of each Reference (Do not use et al.) . Also, include FULL NAMES of all authors (Cynthia Furse, not C. Furse) – PIs are cautioned to properly reference and quote published work (figures, tables, and text). There is no limit on the size of the reference section, so these changes will not cause problems with length limits.
– Bio Sketch section: incomplete list of all authors of each publication (Do not use et al., use full names); title missing
– Bio Sketch section incomplete (list full names and affiliations of: collaborators within 4 years; co-editors within 2 years; graduate advisors; postdoctoral sponsors; postdoctoral scholars within 5 years; all prior graduate students) – required for each PI, coPI, and senior project personnel. If these changes make your biosketch too long (2 page limit) (some researchers have hundreds of collaborators), contact your NSF program manager. Smaller font can be allowed in these sections, for instance.
– Current and Pending Support section incomplete – required for each PI, coPI, and senior project personnel. Include the project you are applying for now as ‘pending’
– Letter of Commitment that goes beyond a brief statement confirming collaboration; additional remarks about PI/co-PI’s past accomplishments or planned undertakings may not be included. (Program managers can request that you delete a letter even after you have submitted your application.)
– Small font size and margins. See GPG for allowed size/margins.

Be Sure Your Submitted Grant gets Reviewed:

1) CHECK for the changes and now-common mistakes above.
2) SUBMIT to OSP at least 5 days before the deadline. Your grant officer at the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) is trained and ready to help be sure your grant meets the GPG requirements for NSF and other types of grants. In order to provide this very important service, OSP needs to receive your grant 5 business days prior to the deadline. Please submit your grant to NSF, click ‘Allow SRO Access’, and also email your OSP grant officer to let them know your grant is ready to be checked.
3) SUBMIT to NSF at least 2 weeks before the deadline. (Yes, this is even earlier than the OSP 5 day deadline.) In many divisions, the NSF Program Officers look at the grants they receive, and contact the PI if they see problems with the grant. This increases the likelihood that you will have sufficient time to resubmit a modified proposal before the deadline. They are not required to provide this service, but many do.

2. Patent Databases

Have you considered using the U.S. Patent databases to identify research organizations or companies that might want to collaborate with you in your areas of technical research? The patent databases will let you find the U.S. Patent Classifications for your areas of research, then you can sort by names of organizations and companies who own the patent rights and licensed them from the original inventors. Leaving you with a handy list for collaborative research or licensing opportunities.

Dave Morrison, the Marriott Library’s expert on patent searching, can be reached by email at or by phone at 5-6802. His ‘how-to’ guide is available here

3. New DARPA Program/Program Officer Contacts

DARPA has a number of funding programs that may be of interest to researchers in science, engineering, medicine, social science, and possibly others as well. An updated list of programs and program officers can be found here. If you are interested in contacting one of these program officers, the VP for Research Office may be able to assist you.

4. Mentoring
The UofU Mentoring Back Bone hosts a set of topics that have come up from commonly asked questions in workshops around campus. Each topic includes several of the common questions, and a few links to on and off campus resources to help generate the discussion.
To sign up, send contact information for you and your mentor / mentee to:

• Name, email, department, level of the mentee (first year assistant professor, tenure track, for instance)

5. NSF Broader Impacts

Wondering about NSF broader impacts? Check out this website.

To include education or diversity programs in your broader impacts, consider teaming up with these on campus programs: Outreach & Diversity Resource Directory

6. Seed Grants & Funding for New & Transformative Research

There is a new webpage at OSP that lists resources for funding on and off campus for seed ideas for new and transformative research

7. MRSEC Seed Grant Program

The Executive Committee of the Utah MRSEC (Materials Research Science and Engineering Center) is pleased to announce the continuation of the MRSEC Seed Grant Program at the University of Utah. Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2013 cycle. Instructions for the application are attached here, and also can be retrieved from the MRSEC web site:

Proposals should be submitted to the MRSEC Executive Committee at

The application deadline is September 1, 2013.

This program was created as a part of the MRSEC sponsored by the NSF, USTAR, and the University of Utah, in response to the following NSF instructions:

“Seed funding: NSF intends to provide flexibility for the center to respond quickly and effectively to new opportunities, and pursue high risk/high impact and transformative research. These may include (but are not limited to): seed support for junior faculty and for investigators changing fields; emerging areas of interdisciplinary research; programs to link the university effort in materials with industry, national laboratories, and other sectors; the development of tools and cyber infrastructure for remote access to instrumentation; and innovative interdisciplinary educational ventures.”

Seed funding through the MRSEC is not intended to provide a substitute for individual investigator funding from extramural agencies. Successful applicants are expected to use the results generated by seed funding to pursue extramural funding.

The MRSEC Seed Grant Program will support new basic and translational studies in all areas of materials research. The emphasis of this program is on developing new research directions that can either be integrated into one of the two existing Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs)or developed into a third independent IRG. The two existing IRGs are focused on (i) Plasmonics, and (ii) Organic Spintronics.

Applications should not have overlap with existing extramural research grants. The award can be up to $30,000 for an individual PI, although additional funding (up to a total of $50,000) may be considered for a proposal with two or more PIs. Funding is for one year with the possibility (on rare occasions) of extension for a second year of support. Only one application per faculty member as a PI or co-PI is permitted.

8. The Engine Funding Program Application Due Dates

The Engine Funding Program supports the development of ideas and technologies into marketable products or start-up companies. This program is managed through the Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC) office (previously TCO). For a detailed description of the program, please go here.

Below are the application deadlines and funding meeting dates. Decisions will be made approximately two weeks after the deadline.

August 15
October 11
December 20

January 17
March 14
May 09
June 26
August 21

9. Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities

Limited Submissions Opportunities
Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science
Deadline: September 9, 2013

Intramural Funding Opportunities
Funding Incentive Seed Grant Program
Deadline: September 2, 2013

Air Quality Program Seed Grant Funding Opportunity
The Program for Air Quality, Health and Society is pleased to announce the availability of seed grant funding.

Funding is available at two levels: up to $25,000 and up to $50,000. Awards at the $50,000 will only be considered for proposals involving significant contributions from two or more faculty.

Applications are due on September 16th, 2013.

Complete details can be found here

External Funding Opportunities
Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy: The Fund for Discovery
Submission Deadline: September 4, 2013

Alfred P. Sloan: Research Fellows
Submission Deadline: September 15, 2013

Whitehall Foundation
Submission Deadline: October 1, 2013

Beckman Young Investigator Program
Submission Deadline: October 2, 2013

ACLS Fellowship
Submission Deadline: October 2, 2013

NIH Pioneer Awards Program
Submission Deadline: October 18, 2013

NIH Director’s New Innovation Program
Submission Deadline: October 25, 2013

Dana Foundation: Clinical Neuroscience Research
Dana Foundation accepts applications on a rolling basis.

EPSCoR RID Minigrant Proposal Opportunity
This is to fund 3 minigrants at $25K each.
Proposals due: September 16, 2013

EPSCoR RID Student Research Award Opportunity
This is to fund 2 graduate students doing research for $7,500 each teaming with industry and/or government.
Proposals due: September 16, 2013

EPA’s New Methods in 21st Century Exposure Science

Due: 09/17/2013
Funding: Up to $900K (direct & indirect), 5 awards anticipated.
Summary: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA is seeking applications proposing innovative research to advance methods for characterizing real-world human exposure to chemicals associated with consumer products in indoor environments.

EPA’s Healthy Schools: Environmental Factors, Children’s Health and Performance, and Sustainable Building Practices
Due: 10/08/2013
Funding: $1,000,000 over 4 years (direct and indirect), 6 awards
Summary: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA is seeking applications proposing research that will inform school (K-12 educational facilities) building design, construction and operation practices in order to foster safe and healthy school environments and maximize student achievement and teacher and staff effectiveness.

Department of Defense/Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Fiscal Year 2014 Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP)

Due: 10/20/2013
Summary: This announcement seeks proposals to purchase instrumentation in support of research in areas of interest to the DoD, including areas of research supported by the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), hereafter referred to collectively as “the administering agencies.” The research areas of interest to the administering agencies are available on-line. A proposal may be submitted to more than one administering agency; however, only one administering agency will fund the proposal, if selected, under the 2014 DURIP. A central purpose of the DURIP is to provide equipment to enhance research-related education. Therefore, proposals must address the impact of the equipment on the institution’s ability to educate students, through research, in disciplines important to DoD missions.

NIEHS’s Research on the Role of Epigenetics in Social, Behavioral, Environmental and Biological Relationships, throughout the Life-Span and across Generations (R21)
Due: 11/13/2013
Funding: $150,000 per award (direct costs), $1 million in available funding
Summary: The purpose of this FOA is to support development of basic research to elucidate the role of social (including cultural and socio-economic context) and behavioral, influences on the epigenome, and vice versa, and their relationship to external and internal, environmental and biological, factors throughout the life-span and across generations.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/Information Innovation Office (I20) Office-Wide BAA

Due: 6/25/2014
Summary: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative research proposals of interest to the Information Innovation Office (I2O). Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in science, devices, or systems. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of the art. I2O seeks unconventional approaches that are outside the mainstream, undertaking directions that challenge assumptions and have the potential to radically change established practice.

10. Grant Writing Crash Course

October 11-13, 2013
The Lodges at Deer Valley Resort
Park City, Utah

Open to all Faculty members and Postdoctoral Scholars

Experienced University of Utah faculty will provide individualized instruction in the mechanics of effective grant proposal writing, how to sell your idea to a sponsoring agency, how to develop specific aims and justifications and the political and social aspects of “grantsmanship.” Participants will work on their grant proposals at the GWCC, receiving real-time feedback to strengthen their proposals and enhance their likelihood of funding. A high faculty-to-trainee (PI) ratio is provided and attendance is highly limited. If you do not have seed or personal funding available for the registration fee, we encourage you to discuss other options with your department chair or research dean. Registration fees include two nights lodging at the Deer Valley Resort, use of recreational facilities and most meals. A spouse/partner and up to two children are welcome to accompany the participant (additional charge if more than two children attend). To register, or for more information, please contact Tony Onofrietti, Director of Research Education at 801-585-3492.

The Grant Writing Crash Course is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and led by Dr. Gary C. Schoenwolf, distinguished Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy

11. Upcoming Classes in the Research Administration Training Series (RATS)

For questions concerning RATS, please contact Tony Onofrietti T(801-585-3492) or visit the RATS website

Introduction to eProposal
Wednesday, August 28 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
HSEB, Lab 3100C

Mandatory Effort Reporting (PAR) Training

Wednesday, August 28 2:00-4:00 p.m.
HSEB, Rm. 1730

Best Practice Roundtable: Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC)
Tuesday, August 27 10:00-11:30 a.m.
HSEB, Rm. 3515D

Overview of Research Administration

Thursday, August 29th 2:00-4:00 p.m.
HSEB, Rm. 1750

12. Research News & Publicizing Research

Interested in the cool research going on at the U? For the latest news on research, go to news. If you are interested in publicizing your research, guidelines and information on how to, along with contact information, may be found at: Publicizing Research and Working with the Media.

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