UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  Dec 15, 2013

Michael Pazzani

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


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

Grant Opportunity Search: http://pivot.cos.com  


·         Meetings with Lewis-Burke (Funding Consultants)  Jan 7 & 8

·         Keck Foundation: Jan 10

·         NIH Paylines

·         NSF Acceptance Rates

·         UCR Collaborative Seed Grants: Jan 28

·         UCR Proof of Concept Fund: Feb 6

·         Sugar Plum Fairy Recipe

·         Clark’s Nutcracker

Meetings with Lewis-Burke (Funding Consultants)  Jan 7 & 8


UCR works with Lewis-Burke, a DC based firm to identify funding opportunities and discuss funding strategies.  They will be visiting UCR in early January and have sessions on various funding topics or agencies. The schedule is below. Faculties are welcome to attend any session.


January 7

10:00   HH 4127         STEM Pipeline issues: Outreach, recruiting, retention, K-12 STEM programs


1:00     UOB 220:         Aging (including biomedical, social and psychological research)


2:30     UOB 220          NIH, PHS Funding and DoD Medical Programs


4:00     UOB 220          Programs and Strategies for New Investigators



January 8

9:00     UOB 210          Earth Science, Geosciences, Seismology


10:30   Bourns A265   Department of Defense Funding


1:00     UOB 210          Funding for research on water


2:30     UOB 210          Social Science Funding


2:30     TBD                 Department of Energy: Includes Office of Science and High Energy Physics


4:00     UOB 210          USDA and NIFA funding Programs



We are still looking for a room for the Department of Energy Session which will be in parallel with the social science funding session.


Keck Foundation

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google has said “If what you’re doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it's probably not transformative enough.”  Consider Amazon using drones to deliver packages.  How can drones help your research?  That’s the type of research the Keck Foundation is looking to fund. Did you have an idea that is disruptive to your field? 


The Keck Foundation offers the opportunity to discuss potential proposals with universities before full proposals are submitted. They foundation allows each university to submit one medical research and one science or engineering proposals (seehttp://www.wmkeck.org/grant-programs/grant-programs.html for details)  If you are interested in applying to Keck for the upcoming submission, please contact Rebeccah Goldware at goldware@ucr.edu as soon as possible.  An abstract of less than one page will help focus the conversation and is needed by Friday, January 10.  An ideal abstract might be one that was declined by a federal agency with reviews that indicated that the research is very innovative and exciting and would have a large impact, but is too risky due to the lack of preliminary data or a disruptive proposal that you haven’t submitted to a federal agency because it’s too early.


In my experience, the most common reasons that proposals are rejected by Keck is that they are not ambitious enough, i.e., an incremental advance over the state of the art vs. creating a new paradigm.


Funding is awarded for projects in medicine, science and engineering for research that:


NIH Paylines


Mitch Boretz forwarded me an interesting graph from an upcoming book on NIH.  The authors, Michelle L. Kienholz and Jeremy M. Berg, analyzed funding in 2012 at several institutes at NIH as a function of the percentile score.  Essentially 100% of the grants in the top X% are funded, none of the grants in the lower Y% are funded and the probability of funding decreases between X and Y.





NSF Acceptance Rates in 2013

The table below shows the acceptance rates for various directorates at NSF in 2013.  Overall, the average acceptance rate was 22% with the lowest division being EHR at 18%.  These numbers are  considerably higher than most people believe.   One reason for this, in my experience is that NSF program directors have a vested interest in making the situation seem worse so their division director increases their budget.



Number of Proposals

Number of Awards

Funding Rate

Median Annual Size

NSF Total




















































One can drill down deeper into the data to the specific program level at http://dellweb.bfa.nsf.gov/awdfr3/default.asp. Indeed, there are some programs with 5% acceptance rates such as NSF/BIO/IOS/ PHYSIOLOG & STRUCTURAL SYS which funded 3 of 63 proposals.  However, NSF/BIO/IOS/ MODULATION funded 30 of 79 proposals for a 38% acceptance rate.


UCR Collaborative Seed Grants: Jan 28

The Research and Economic Development (RED) is pleased to announce the continuation of the collaborative seed grant program.  The grants are internal funds for UCR faculty teams to collaborate and publish in advance of proposing multi-investigator projects and centers to external agencies.  This year, there will be two types of awards:

Applications should be submitted by Jan 28, 2014. More details are available on at: http://research.ucr.edu/ord/funding/opportunities/collaborative-seed-grant-program.aspx 


UCR Proof of Concept Fund: Feb 6

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development announces the FY2014-2015 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.

Applications should be submitted by Feb 6, 2014.  For more details, see http://research.ucr.edu/ord/funding/opportunities/proof-of-concept-fund.aspx

Sugar Plum Fairy Recipe


If you are looking for something to do while UCR is closed, here’s a suggestion from Sandra Lee:

2 parts Champagne
1 part plum wine
Splash cranberry juice
Gumdrops, for garnish

In a champagne glass combine Champagne, plum wine and cranberry juice. Garnish with a gumdrop.

Clark’s Nutcracker



I’d never heard of a Clark’s Nutcracker until November.   Gene Anderson told me that they are frequently found at Onyx Summit near Big Bear, so one weekend my wife and I went in search and eventually found a flock feeding on pine nuts.

Clark's Nutcracker

(click to enlarge)



The observant reader of this section will note that the last newsletter had a Lewis’s Woodpecker.  Who do you think the Lewis’s Woodpecker and the Clark’s Nutcracker were named after?



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:  Johanna Bowman