Info for Researchers

Research Updates

  1. TVC Faculty Open House
  2. New Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry Core
  3. Updated U of U Fringe Rate Estimates
  4. What is your F&A/Overhead Return Used For?
  5. Mentoring Topic of the Month
  6. Updated NSF Funding Opportunity: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF)
  7. Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities
  8. Grant Writing Crash Course
  9. Upcoming Classes in the Research Administration Training Series (RATS)
  10. Research News & Publicizing Research

1.TVC Faculty Open House

Technology & Venture Commercialization (TVC) is hosting a Faculty Open House. Come meet TVC’s team and learn about: The “Commercialization Engine,” Starting a company with TVC, How do I get companies to pay for my research?, Our Software Development Center, Grants, Patents, Our online disclosure portal and more. Click here to register.

2.New Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry Core

The Department of Chemistry is now home to a USTAR-funded core directed at Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry. The facility, directed by Dr. Paul Sebahar and Prof. Ryan Looper, is aimed at providing lead compounds and analogs for biological testing. Please see today’s press release for more information.

3.Updated U of U Fringe Rate Estimates

We have recently updated the fringe benefit rate estimates to use when preparing your grants. Please use the following estimates.

The full set of resources and information for preparing your budget can be viewed here.

4.What is your F&A/Overhead Return Used For?

When you get a grant or contract, F&A/Overhead (49.0% for standard research grants) has to be included in the budget. Sometimes, faculty might see this as a ‘tax’ on their research, or wonder where ‘their’ F&A goes. But what is this F&A, really? F&A – Facilities and Administrative costs – support or contribute to facilities such as research labs, buildings, space, equipment, core facilities, vivariums, libraries, etc. and federally-mandated administrative costs including the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Radiation Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, and more. Without these facilities and administrative support, it would be impossible for researchers to do research.

F&A rates are set by the federal government after reviewing and negotiating actual expenditures (money already spent) on these services at the U. They are re-negotiated every 3 years, and this is the year. The space study is one very important part of this assessment, and most departments are already involved in this review. This is a survey of all space used for funded research, so that we can accurately portray our existing expenditures on this space. We recognize that higher rates do impact researchers. Spending more money on overhead means spending less money on direct costs (salaries, benefits, equipment, etc.) in grants with limited budgets. It is not our goal to either increase or decrease our F&A rate, but to be sure it accurately portrays expenditures. If the rate is inappropriately low, then something else has to subsidize the research on campus. If the rate is inappropriately high, well, the federal government makes sure that can’t happen because of the depth of their review.

To find out more about the specifics of F&A and where it is spent at the U, see here.

5.Mentoring Topic of the Month

Time & Stress Management/Work-Life Balance

Time is a most precious resource, and few faculty feel they have enough of it.

Some common questions are:
How do you balance your professional time between teaching/research/service/clinical/other?
How do you efficiently balance just one day?
How to balance work and life ?
How did you DO it?
What do you say ‘no’ to, and how?

Obviously these answers are varied, personal, and constantly in flux.

Check out a few of these online resources:
Mind Tools
Time Management Tools

Mayo Clinic Stress Management 
U of Illinois Time Management 
NSFCareer-Life Balance Page (with funding help!)

It’s the end of the semester. Hang in there! This one is easy … Send an email today to your mentor/mentee to schedule a time AFTER the semester craziness is over, to go to lunch or have a cup of tea, an talk about the things you would most like to discuss at this point.

6.Updated NSF Funding Opportunity: Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces the third year of a national materials initiative, Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF). DMREF is the primary program by which NSF participates in the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) for Global Competitiveness [1]. MGI recognizes the importance of materials science to the well-being and advancement of society and aims to “deploy advanced materials at least twice as fast as possible today, at a fraction of the cost.” As a national initiative, MGI integrates all aspects of the materials continuum, including materials discovery, development, property optimization, systems design and optimization, certification, manufacturing, and deployment, with each employing a toolset to be developed within a materials innovation infrastructure. The toolset will synergistically integrate advanced computational methods and visual analytics with data-enabled scientific discovery and innovative experimental techniques so as to revolutionize our approach to materials science and engineering.

NSF will support DMREF through well-coordinated activities involving the Directorates of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Engineering (ENG) and Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE). Within MPS, the Divisions of Chemistry (CHE), Materials Research (DMR), and Mathematical Sciences (DMS) will participate in DMREF. The Divisions of Civil, Mechanical, Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI), Electrical, Communication & Cyber Systems (ECCS), and Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) in ENG will also participate. All the divisions of CISE will engage in the DMREF initiative.

NSF is interested in activities that accelerate materials discovery and development by building the fundamental knowledge base needed to progress towards designing and making a material with a specific and desired function or property from first principles. Also of interest to NSF is research that seeks to advance fundamental understanding of materials across length and time scales to elucidate the effects of microstructure, surfaces, and coatings on the properties and performance of materials and devices. The DMREF goal is to control material properties through design: this is to be accomplished by understanding the interrelationships of composition, processing, structure, properties, performance, and process control. The approach envisioned to achieve this goal involves modeling, analysis, and computational simulations, validated and verified through measurement, experimentation, or device demonstration, and requires new data analytic tools and statistical algorithms; advances in predictive modeling that leverage machine learning, data mining, and sparse approximation; data infrastructure that is accessible, extensible, scalable, and sustainable; and new collaborative capabilities for managing large, complex, heterogeneous, distributed data supporting materials design, synthesis, and longitudinal study.

It is anticipated that many proposed efforts will bridge program and divisional interests and that these will be coordinated, co-reviewed, and funded by the programs and divisions, as appropriate. The complexity and challenge of activities addressed by this initiative require a transformative approach to discovering and developing new materials, predicting and optimizing properties of materials, and informing the design of material systems. Accordingly, the proposed research must be a collaborative and iterative process wherein theory guides computational simulation, computational simulation guides experiments, and experiments further guide theory. The proposal should provide a plan for enhanced data management that ensures transparency, data sharing, and open source software. While not required, ties with industry, national laboratories, engineering partners, or other organizations are encouraged. If there are strong collaborations with industry, please see the Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program solicitation, which can be used in conjunction with this effort [2]. Because this DMREF approach emphasizes a more integrated approach to materials research, cross-disciplinary educational activities are encouraged, as are public outreach activities.

DMR, CHE, DMS, CMMI, CBET, ECCS and all the divisions in CISE invite proposals based on MGI principles in FY 14.

DMREF proposals must be submitted to the Design of Engineering Material Systems (DEMS) program (PD 12-8086) within the applicable submission window (15 January to 18 February 2014). The title of the proposal should begin with “DMREF”.

Participants interested in submitting proposals are strongly encouraged to first contact one of the following program officers:

CHE, Timothy Patten; DMR, John Schlueter, Linda Sapochak; DMS, Michael Steuerwalt; CMMI, Mary M. Toney; CBET, William Olbricht ; ECCS, John Zavada , Dimitris Pavlidis ; CISE, Ralph Wachter.

We are excited by the opportunities created by the national Materials Genome Initiative and the contribution made to it by this joint venture.

7.Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities

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

Agency for International Development
Kosovo USAID-Pristina
Transformational Leadership – Scholarships and Partnerships Program Modification 2
Deadline: January 21, 2104

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Community Living and Participation of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-4 (Research) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Community Living and Participation of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-9 (Development) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Health and Function of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-3 (Research) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Health and Function of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-8 (Development) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Employment of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-1 (Research) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

Department of Education
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs): Employment of Individuals with Disabilities CFDA Number 84.133A-7 (Development) Grant
Deadline: January 28, 2014

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program
Deadline: February 14, 2014

Department of Commerce
2014 Marine Education and Training Mini Grant Program Modification 1
Deadline: February 28, 2014

National Institutes of Health
Development of an NIH BD2K Data Discovery Index Coordination Consortium
Deadline: March 6, 2014

8. Grant Writing Crash Course

October 10-12, 2014

The Lodges at Deer Valley Resort

Park City, Utah

Open to all Faculty members and Postdoctoral Scholars!

Using a unique and proven method to learn how to write a fundable proposal, the Grant Writing Crash Course provides one-on-one mentoring by successful University of Utah faculty grant writers. Participants complete a series of short exercises prior to the Grant Writing Crash Course, drafting text that will be refined and assembled under the guidance of faculty mentors into critical sections of their proposal. Several essential topics are covered in focused brief lectures and discussions, including the strategies and mechanics of effective proposal writing, how to sell your project (and yourself as Principal Investigator) to a sponsoring agency, the criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your proposal, pitfalls to avoid in grant writing, how to develop aims and justifications, the ins and outs of major funding agencies, and the political, social, and psychological aspects of “grantsmanship.” Focused, intensive work sessions provide participants with ample uninterrupted time to craft and recraft their thinking, writing and presentation based on real-time constructive feedback from faculty mentors, enhancing their proposals and increasing the likelihood of their success.

Attendance is highly limited. Registration fees for the October program include two nights lodging at the Deer Valley Resort, use of recreational facilities and most meals. A spouse or partner and up to two children are welcome to accompany the participant (additional charge if more than two children attend). 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.

To register for the October 2014 program, or for more information, please contact Tony Onofrietti, Director, Research Education, at 801-585-3492 or at tony.onofrietti@hsc.utah.edu.



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

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

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

Mandatory Effort Reporting (PAR) Training
Wednesday, January 15 11:00am-12:00pm
HSEB 1750

Electronic Application through Grants.Gov
Thursday, January 16 2:00pm-4:00pm
HSEB 1750

Understanding IRB Applications in ERICA: New Studies, Amendments and Continuing Review
Tuesday, January 21 2:00pm-4:00pm
HSEB 1750

10. 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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Research Updates

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