UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  March 13, 2013

Michael Pazzani

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


Back Issues of Newsletter: http://or.ucr.edu/vcr/newsletters.aspx


·         Technology Investors Panel: March 25

·         Distinguished Lecture:  Brain Activity Map: April 4

·         NSF CAREER Workshop: March 21 and 22

·         Don’t Worry About the Government

·         NEH Sample Proposals

·         Plagiarism in NSF Awards

·         Egret Having a Bad Hair Day


Technology Investors Panel: March 25


On March 25 at 4PM in HUB 367, Research and Economic Development and Economic Development will host a panel of investors who will discuss how to make a presentation to investors, what investors are looking for, and common mistakes that people make.   The panelists will include

                    Molly Schmidt, Tech Coast Angels

                    Michael Napoli, Tech Coast Angels

                    Jay Goth, Redtail Capital


If you plan on attending, please RSVP to Gloria Gallego at gloriag@ucr.edu



Distinguished Lecture:  Brain Activity Map: April 4


There has been great interest in the Brain Activity Map since President Obama proposed plans for a project analogous to the Human Genome Project of the 1990s.   The ideas behind the proposed initiative are based in part by a paper in Neuron: A. Paul Alivisatos, Miyoung Chun, George M. Church, Ralph J. Greenspan, Michael L. Roukes, Rafael Yuste, The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics, Neuron, Volume 74, Issue 6, 21 June 2012, Pages 970-974, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0896627312005181.


One of the authors of the paper will visit UCR on April 4 to present an overview of the brain activity map.

The Brain Activity Map

Ralph J. Greenspan, PhD

Associate Director

Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind

University of California San Diego


Thursday April 4, 1:10PM

Genomics Building Auditorium


            While it is no mystery to any of us as to why we need a brain, it remains a major mystery as to how our brain does what it does.  We know a great deal about the composition of individual nerve cells (neurons) that make up the brain and how they send and receive electrical and chemical signals.  We also know a great deal about which areas of the brain participate in the various activities we do, and we have a constantly improving picture of the contacts individual neurons make with each other to form circuits, and how large bundles of neurons connect major areas of the brain to each other.  But when it comes to understanding how the signals from individual nerve cells combine to produce activities as effortless for us as walking or recognizing a melody, or as demanding as playing the piano or understanding mathematics, there is a major gap.  The “Brain Activity Map Project” aims at allowing us to fill in this gap.

            The goal of the BAM Project is to construct a functional brain map in order to understand complex brain processes. This map will fill the gap in our knowledge of brain activity at a scale between single neuron and whole brain function, an intermediate level where theories predict that complex functions emerge from the network interactions involving millions of neurons. The BAM Project will be a large-scale, long-term research project built upon close interactions between scientists, engineers, and theoreticians.



Dr. Ralph J. Greenspan has worked on the genetic basis of behavior and brain function in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) almost since the inception of the field, studying with one of its founders, Jeffery Hall, at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, where he received his Ph.D. in biology in 1979.  He is currently Associate Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind at the University of California San Diego.  Dr. Greenspan’s research includes studies of the consequences of mutations and localized genetic alterations in the nervous, molecular identification of genes causing naturally occurring variation in behavior, and the genetic analysis of fruit fly sleep and attention.  His current research addresses large-scale network questions pertaining to the action of genes and neurons.  In addition to research papers, he has authored:  Fly Pushing: The Theory and Practice of Drosophila Genetics, , An Introduction to Nervous Systems, and How Genes Influence Behaviour (with Jonathan Flint and Ken Kendler).


NSF CAREER Workshop: March 21 and 22


The CAREER is NSF’s most prestigious award in support of untenured faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.


CAREER proposals are due July 22-24, 2013; the exact deadline varies by discipline.   It pays to start a few months early to make sure the proposal is well thought out and addresses all criteria for funding.


UCR will offer a workshop on preparing an NSF CAREER proposal on two dates. All assistant professors who are considering CAREER proposals this year are encouraged to attend one of these two sessions. 


10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 20 in Bourns A-265

10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 21 in the Science Library



At the workshop, we will go over the essential components of the CAREER award, including

·         Research Plan

·         Educational Plan

·         Broader Impacts

·         Data Management Plans


Previous winners of the NSF CAREER awards will discuss what worked (and what didn’t work) for them. We will go over NSF requirements, suggestions and best practices from past winners, and your questions and ideas.   Sample funded proposals will be made available.


We will also discuss UCR’s plans for providing assistance reviewing CAREER proposals by  Mitch Boretz at mitch@engr.ucr.edu, Randy Black at randall.black@ucr.edu, or Mike Mueller at michael.mueller@ucr.edu.



Please RSVP to Randall.Black@ucr.edu to help us determine whether space will be adequate.



Don’t Worry About the Government

In August 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) to limit federal spending and reduce the national debt. To enforce annual spending limits, the law requires across-the-board funding reductions through a process called “sequestration” unless congress and the president reach agreement on an alternative plan. The President and Congress did not reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan and the sequestration process began March 1, 2013.   Some of the federal agencies have posted guidance on their plans to address sequestration.  Many agencies have posted information on their plans which are subject to revision should congress and the president reach an agreement.  If such an agreement occurs, it is likely that it will be before March 27 when agreement is also needed on raising the debt ceiling.



Agency responses are grouped into three categories


                    No plans to reduce current awards, but may need to reduce acceptance rates. 

o   NSF http://or.ucr.edu/OR/OrMedia/SP/Docs/Sequestration/NSF%20Notice%20133%20-%20Sequestration%20Impact.pdf

o   USDA http://www.nifa.usda.gov/email_prntrs_seques.pdf


                    Noncompeting continuations are being reduced by up to 10%, but may be restored after a budget agreement is reached (NIH). http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-043.html


                    There is no general guidance, but there may be impacts on specifics programs or projects

o   Department of Energy http://or.ucr.edu/OR/OrMedia/SP/Docs/Sequestration/DOE%20Sequestration%20Announcement%20_3_4_2013.pdf),

o   NASA http://or.ucr.edu/OR/OrMedia/SP/Docs/Sequestration/NASA%20Letter%20on%20Sequestration_3_4_2013.pdf

o   NOAA http://research.utk.edu/fiscal_cliff/NOAA_letter.pdf


RED will continue to update the UCR research community as soon as information is received.  In the meantime, there isn’t a need to panic and your research should continue as planned.

If you or the department receives a notice regarding a specific award or awards, please forward that notice to me and the Contract and Grant Officer assigned to your department.  



NEH Sample Proposals


The National Endowment for the Humanities has posted several sample proposals for the

for NEH Fellowship Grants  due May 1, 2013

·         Music, William Schuman and the Shaping of America's Musical Life

·         Philosophy, Nietzsche and the Ancient Skeptical Tradition

·         Political Science, The Nationalization of American Party Organizations


The Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions due June 27, 2013. A sample proposal

·         University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, the Humanities and the Healing Arts 




Plagiarism in Successful NSF Proposals

NSF used plagiarism detection software on all 8000 awards made in 2011.  They identified 100 suspicious cases and are examining them manually to eliminate cases where PIs used text from their own publications or described the methods used in standard ways before pursuing further.  See http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/34663/title/Plagiarism-in-Successful-NSF-Proposals/  for more info.


Egret Having a Bad Hair Day

Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto is just a few miles from Stanford and one of my favorite birding spots when I’m in the area.  Here’s a photo of a snowy egret from a visit a few years ago.



Snowy Egrethttp://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gif

(click to enlarge)




Michael Pazzani

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

Professor,  Computer Science & Engineering

University of California, Riverside

200 University Office Building

Riverside, CA 92521



Assistant:  Gloria Gallego