UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  May 25, 2013

Michael Pazzani

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


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


·         Collaboration Seed Grant Program

·         Proof of Concept Funds for Technology Commercialization Program

·         Limited Funding Announcement:  DoD Equipment

·         More Stupid Faculty Tricks

·         Survey for Industry Sponsored Research

·         Tufted Coquette

Collaboration Seed Grant Program


Research and Economic Development and Economic Development is pleased to announce the creation of a new collaboration seed grant program.  The program provides funds to enable teams of UCR faculty to collaborate and publish before grant submission, making UCR more competitive for multi-investigator grants from external agencies.

By serving as a catalyst for UCR faculty to develop new multi-investigator, and/or multi-disciplinary teams, the program is intended to make UCR more competitive for center, program project grants, or similar large, multi-investigator research grants.  Projects up to $75,000 for projects lasting up to one year will be considered.  The ideal collaborative project will either

·         Enable a team of two or more UCR faculty to obtain initial results or data that will make them more competitive for any existing federal agency research center program (e.g., NIH program project grants, NSF Science and Technology Centers, NSF Engineering Research Centers, DOE Manufacturing centers, NEH Summer Institutes, USDA/NIFA Policy Research Centers, etc.

·         Create a new multi-disciplinary team of two or more UCR faculty in an area that is a new federal research funding priority, e.g., Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, Big Data, Digital Humanities, etc.

In selecting projects to be funded emphasis will be placed on projects that create new synergies across schools, departments or centers. Key considerations will include whether the project can be leveraged toward new externally funded research, and the extent to which the project cannot be otherwise initiated using regular department or school funding resources.  An ideal project would apply for external funding 6-10 months after receiving the seed funding.  Although $75,000 is the maximum award, smaller and more focused proposals are encouraged, with an anticipated median award size of $40,000.  More details are available on our website at: http://or.ucr.edu/ord/funding/opportunities/collaborative-seed-grant-program.aspx



Proof of Concept Funds for Technology Commercialization Program

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development announces the FY2013-2014 Proof of Concept for Technology Commercialization (POC) Award Program. The POC award provides UCR investigators up to $35,000 to further develop a commercializable invention based upon UCR intellectual property not yet licensed.  The effort should address a critical issue, such as creating a prototype, scaling up a process, or obtaining additional data to support a commercialization effort by making the invention more attractive to licensees or investors.  The award shall be used only for technical salaries and benefits, supplies, vivarium or other facilities fees and contracted services directly related to the project.

Funding Criteria

  1. An invention disclosure must be submitted to the Office of Technology. Commercialization on the key invention by the date of the application and the University must have clear rights to commercialize the intellectual property.
  2. The intellectual property and prospective product must address a need in the marketplace and have a competitive advantage over existing products.
  3. The proposed work will start on August 1, 2013 and be accomplished by June 30, 2014.
  4. The proposed work should undertake commercial-type prototype development or testing to generate evidence that an existing invention meets a market need, not the creation of new inventions or basic research. 
  5. Preference will be given to projects that can be completed within six months.

6.      Although the maximum award is $35,000, smaller focused projects are encouraged and the anticipated median award size is $20,000. 


Proposals will be reviewed by UCR faculty and outside entrepreneurs who have signed a nondisclosure agreement.  Anonymous reviews will be returned for all proposals.

Applications should be submitted by June 27, 2013.  For more details, see http://research.ucr.edu/ord/funding/opportunities/proof-of-concept-fund.aspx



Limited Funding Announcement:  DoD Equipment


The Department of Defense has released W911NF-13-R-0008, Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions (HBCU/MI) Equipment/Instrumentation. UCR will be eligible to submit up to two proposals.  The program makes awards of $50,000 to $500,000 for instrumentation that supports the research mission of at least one branch of the armed services. Cost sharing is not required.  The internal deadline is June 15, 2013 and can be found at: http://or.ucr.edu/ord/SearchOr.aspx?k=2126965621&ae=A


Since most HSI’s do not have a research component, proposals that will impact undergraduate education, e.g., senior design have been funded in the past.  The DoD often provides equipment funds to faculty that have other DoD research funds, so the ideal proposal would involve of a PI of a DoD grant who will obtain equipment for both teaching and research.


See the full solicitation, at http://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?page=8 or http://www.arl.army.mil/www/pages/8/22May2013_HBCUMI.pdf.


More Stupid Faculty Tricks


Last week, I highlighted some problems with NSF awards.  This time, it’s NEH.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has withdrawn its name from a fellowship for a professor facing accusations of research fraud over his book about the history of gun ownership in America. Chicago's Newberry Library "was in error when it awarded an NEH-supported fellowship" to Emory University history professor Michael Bellesiles, NEH Deputy Chairman Lynne Munson wrote Monday in a letter to Newberry officials.

The library, Miss Munson wrote, awarded the fellowship in February 2001 despite "serious challenges to Professor Bellesiles' research" in his 2000 book, "Arming America," which claimed that gun ownership was rare in early America…. Published to critical acclaim in October 2000, "Arming America" won the prestigious Bancroft Award and was embraced by advocates of gun control, who said his research contradicted the view that the Second Amendment was intended to protect private ownership of firearms.

But the book has come under increasing criticism from scholars who say that Mr. Bellesiles misrepresented or even fabricated historical records to support his contention that gun ownership was rare in the United States before the Civil War. Among several inaccuracies cited by critics, Mr. Bellesiles asserted he had accessed California court records that experts say were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906.


As criticism grew and charges of scholarly misconduct were made, Emory University conducted an internal inquiry into Bellesiles's integrity, appointing an independent investigative committee composed of three leading academic historians from outside Emory.[18] Bellesiles failed to provide investigators with his research notes, claiming the notes were destroyed in a flood.[19]

The scholarly investigation confirmed that Bellesiles's work had serious flaws, calling into question both its quality and veracity. …

Bellesiles disputed these findings, claiming to have followed all scholarly standards and to have corrected all errors of fact known to him. Nevertheless, … Bellesiles issued a statement … announcing the resignation of his professorship at Emory

[…] the trustees of Columbia University rescinded Arming America's Bancroft Prize, the first such action in the history of the prize.


Survey for Industry Sponsored Research


University of California and most universities have by policy or practice been taking the position that intellectual property developed in the course of a project funded by industry is owned by the university.  Industry sponsored research agreements then contain a clause giving the company the first right to negotiate a license to the technology.


A few universities, such as Penn State, University of Minnesota and University of Iowa have recently been introducing an additional option in some fields that allows the sponsoring company to have exclusive rights to the technology sponsored by the company according to some predefined terms. See http://www.research.umn.edu/techcomm/industry-sponsor.html for example.


I am participating in a UC committee exploring whether there are problems with the “first right to negotiate” approach and opportunities with having an option for a predefined approach.  Can I ask you to fill out a short survey on this to understand better UCR faculty experiences and preferences?  The short survey is https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Qx5wRcJKM0LYFQOWWlp_veN0yAMV9LyM0i7X9mIsadg/viewform


I repeat the survey below, but encourage you to fill out anonymously at the website above


Have you experienced problems reaching agreement on intellectual property when engaging in industry sponsored research when university insists upon "first right to negotiate a license"

Check all that apply.

[ ] No, There is no industry support for my type of research

[ ] No, Companies and I easily agree on "first right to negotiate a license"

[ ] Yes, It takes too long to come to an agreement when the intellectual property isn't important anyway

[ ] Yes, I have experienced situations in which an agreement I wanted to pursue was never reached due to intellectual property

[ ] Other: 


Should the university have an additional option available where any new intellectual property discovered in an industry sponsored research project is automatically assigned to the sponsored according to some predefined terms?

Mark only one oval.

( ) No, Not in any field

( ) Not in my field, but it is appropriate for some fields or some faculty

( ) Yes in my field, but not in all fields

( ) Yes, in all fields

( ) Other: 


Tufted Coquette

From Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad

(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:  Jennifer Vazquez