UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  January 14, 2014

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  



·         UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) – Update

·         Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Competitive Grants Program

·         Federal Agency Funding for FY14: Omnibus Bill

·         Research Development & Grant Writing News

·         Webinar:  Transitioning from an Early Investigator Award to the Coveted R01: Jan 21

UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) – Update


January 14, 2014


Dear MRPI Principal Investigators and Vice Chancellors for Research:


I am writing to follow up on our letter of September 3, 2013 to the UC research community, in which we notified you that the next Call for Applications for the UC Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) would be released in April 2014, with new awards starting in Spring 2015. (The competition timeline is provided at the end of this letter, and all current MRPIs, along with new proposers, are eligible to apply.)  Although we have spoken to some of you individually, in light of changes to the program budget since 2009, we felt it was important to communicate uniformly about the status and plans for the MRPI program, and – we hope – allay some concerns by providing an opportunity to apply for limited augmentation (or “bridge”) funding.


Background and Context:

At the time of the 2009 MRPI competition, our office had an annual program budget of approximately $15 million, and we were able to fund 37 multicampus collaborations.  Beginning in 2011, and in each subsequent year, the program budget has been cut, such that the projected budget for FY 14-15 is now $6.3 million (a 58% reduction).  Although the cumulative 3-year deficit reached $17.6 million, we are pleased that we were nevertheless able to fully fund all MRPI projects using one-time funds. 


Because project funding was unaffected, many members of the campus community were not aware of the cuts to the program budget.  Now, however, the temporary funds are exhausted.  Moreover, due to the staggered start of the current portfolio, $2.5 million of next year’s budget is already allocated to final payments for existing award commitments, leaving only $3.8 million for new awards in FY 14-15.


We are delighted that the independent systemwide Portfolio Review Group (PRG) found the MRPI program to be a high priority for systemwide investment, and recommended full restoration of the Program.  Our office has submitted a budget augmentation request for FY 14-15 that we hope will be bolstered by the PRG endorsement.  Because the intent and policy of the MRPI program is to fund projects selected through competitive review to ensure the portfolio remains innovative and meets both continuing and emergent needs of the University, we notified you in September that all available funds in FY 14-15 would be used to fulfill current obligations and fund new awards. 



Since September, several currently funded projects with end dates of June 2014 have contacted us to voice their concern that the proposed timing of new awards could negatively impact potential continuity for their activities, should their renewal requests receive funding.  Likewise campus leadership has expressed similar concerns. Based on this feedback and further consultation with UC leadership, we have decided to make a one-time exception to policy.  Rather than funding proposals only through a competitive review, we will make one-time augmentation awards (or “bridge funding”) available using funds from the FY 14-15 budget.  MRPI projects with original end dates in 2014 can apply for these funds. The augmentation requests must be matched by commitments from one or more of the participating MRPI campuses that equal or surpass the requested UCOP support.


Augmentation Requests (“Bridge Funding”) Opportunity:

Of the $3.8 million in currently unobligated funds for FY 14-15, we have set aside a pool of $1 million that may be used to fund augmentation requests that meet the following eligibility and application criteria:


1)  Active MRPI projects that were funded with original end dates in calendar year 2014 (i.e., June 30, 2014 and December 31, 2014) are eligible to apply for an augmentation to their current award. Funded programs with unexpended balances from their current awards can request to carryforward these balances beyond their original project end date using our standard MRPI administrative and reporting mechanism.  “Bridge funding” refers only to requests for augmentation.


2) The justification for the requested augmentation must take into account all UC systemwide fund sources that support the MRPI project, including anticipated MRPI carryforward funds.  For example, if the MRPI identifies a need for $100,000, and has a MRPI carryforward balance of $50,000, then the augmentation request should be limited to $50,000. Moreover, if the MRPI receives support from other systemwide (non-MRPI) sources, the balances from those sources must also be reported in the augmentation request.


3) The augmentation request will be submitted on a template provided by the MRPI program office at UCOP (available Friday, January 17, 2014). Requests must include a concise, compelling justification for the funds. This justification should briefly specify whether the funding is for staff salaries, graduate student support, faculty support, and/or specific research activities. It may also include a prioritization, in the event only partial funding is approved. MRPI augmentation funds may be used at any participating campus for the expenses identified in the request.


4) All requests must include a commitment for matching funds from any or all of the campuses participating in the MRPI. Using the example above, if the MRPI identifies a need for $100,000, and has a $50,000 carryforward and no other systemwide/OP support, then the augmentation need is $50,000.  If approved, up to $25,000 can be funded by the MRPI pool. The remaining $25,000 must be covered by commitments from the participating campus or campuses, as verified by letters from each campus administration providing those funds.  The match may come from a single (host) campus, from several campuses, or from all of the participating campuses. 


5)   The augmentation request must be submitted by the Lead PI of the MRPI, and include written concurrence from the site PIs of each collaborating campus or the MRPI steering or oversight committee.


6)   The application materials should be concise, and must utilize the template provided.  In order to address the urgency expressed regarding this funding we will allow 3 weeks to submit the proposals using the templates we provide.  The submission deadline is 8:00 AM Monday, February 10, 2014.


7)   UCOP will make a determination regarding the requests.  If total requests exceed $1 million (or a total pool of $2 million including campus matches), OP will determine how best to divide the resources based on need, and a desire to treat all of the programs equitably. Some requests may not be approved, or may be approved at a level of support below the request. Please note that no project is guaranteed approval of its request; the justification for the augmentation request must identify a compelling need and sufficient funds may not be available to fund all requests. Campus administrators can decide to fulfill their match commitment even if OP is unable to fund all or part of the MRPI portion.


8)   We anticipate announcing our funding decisions by Monday, March 3, 2014.  The actual transfer of approved augmentation funds will occur at the beginning of the FY 14-15 fiscal year.


9)   Please note: if you do not need bridge funding, or your carryforward funds are sufficient to address your most compelling needs, you do not need to complete any of the augmentation request application.  However, you should separately contact our office to formally request the No Cost Time Extension and carryforward of funds using our standard reporting and administrative tools in proposalCENTRAL. 


While there are likely to be more requests for augmentation awards than we will be able to fund, we hope that making this opportunity available does communicate our support for the outstanding work you have undertaken to date. We have been very impressed with the quality of the MRPI projects we have funded, and your contributions to the excellence of the UC research enterprise. We remain committed to promoting and sustaining multicampus collaboration at UC, particularly through independent, merit-based competitive reviews that provide opportunities across the full range of university scholarship. We look forward to your ongoing success, and appreciate your support of the opportunities MRPI makes possible. 


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about your current award or the information requested herein. 


With best wishes,


Kathleen Erwin

Director, UC Research Initiatives (UCRI)

Multicampus Research Programs & Initiatives

Research Grants Program Office



Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Competitive Grants Program


Attached please find the announcement of new grants available for Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.    There is something for everyone in the general area in these initiates including joint programs with NIH, NSF and EPA.  An excerpt is below.


In FY 2014, AFRI will solicit projects addressing the above challenges through four separate Challenge Area RFAs. They are: Food Safety; Food Security; Childhood Obesity Prevention; and Water for Agriculture (new challenge area). AFRI will also support research, extension and integrated project grants in the six legislatively-defined AFRI priority areas to continue building a foundation of knowledge in fundamental and applied food and agricultural sciences critical for solving current and future societal challenges. Grant types supported by AFRI within this Foundational Program RFA include single-function research projects, multi-function integrated projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) grants. In addition, funding opportunities for pre- and postdoctoral fellowship grants are being offered in a single, separate RFA.

In FY 2014, RFAs will not be released for either the Sustainable Bioenergy or the Agricultural and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change challenge areas. Please note, however, that NIFA will support some of the ongoing research, education, and extension projects in those challenge areas through continuation funding of projects initiated during FY 2010 through 2013.


NIFA may also solicit applications for AFRI funds through other announcements, including supplemental AFRI RFAs or RFAs issued in conjunction with other agencies. Such announcements will be made public in the same manner as this announcement. Other sources of NIFA funding or work relevant to the AFRI Foundational Program Areas are as follows:

Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Species (joint with National Institutes of Health (NIH)).


Total Program Funds: Approximately $5 million from AFRI. Information is available at http://nifa.usda.gov/fo/researchinbiomedicineandagricultureafri.cfm

National Robotics Initiative (joint with National Science Foundation (NSF), NIH, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Defense (DoD)).


Total Program Funds: Approximately $5 million from AFRI. Information is available at http://nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503641

Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy (joint with Department of Energy (DOE)).


Total Program Funds: Approximately $2 million from AFRI. Information is available at www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/plantfeedstock.cfm

Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (joint with NIH, NSF, and the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


Total Program Funds: Approximately $2.5 million from AFRI. Information is available at http://nifa.usda.gov/fo/ecologyandevolutionofinfectiousdiseases.cfm

Water Sustainability and Climate (joint with NSF)


Total Program Funds: Approximately $5 million from AFRI. Information is available at www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?WT.z_pims_id=503452&ods_key=nsf11551

Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction using Earth System Models (EaSM) (joint with NSF)


Total Program Funds: Approximately $5 million from AFRI. Information is available at www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503399


Federal Agency Funding for FY14: Omnibus Bill


Attached are details from Lewis-burke on the Omnibus Funding Bill and how it impacts federal funding agencies.  A summary is below.


·         AFRI at USDA: $316 million, an increase of $26 million

·         NIH: $29.9 billion for a $1 billion increase over FY 2013 post-sequester level

·         NSF: $7.2 billion, 4% increase over FY 2013 post-sequestration level

·         DHS S&T: $1.2 billion, an increase of $307 million over FY 2013

·         DOE Science: DOE Science would receive $5.071 billion, 4 percent over the pre-sequestration FY 2013 level. 

·         NASA: NASA overall is at $17.646 billion, $119.8 million or 1 percent over the FY 2013 pre-sequestration enacted level

·         NIST: $850 million for FY 2014 (up $41.3 M from FY 2013 post-sequestration)

·         The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The omnibus agreement would provide a $292,000, or 0.002 percent increase over the FY 2013 enacted amount for each of the Endowments.


Note that the attached report is for UCR internal use only.  It may not be forwarded to colleagues at other institutions or professional associations



Research Development & Grant Writing News

UCR has subscribed to a newsletter from Academic Research Funding Strategies.   It is available on the web at http://research.ucr.edu/OrApps/SP/Info/GrantWriting/GrantWritingNews.aspx.  I’m attaching a copy here.  The index is below.

•          Topics of Interest URLs

•          Summary: 2014 Global R&D Funding Forecast

•          Funding Your STEM Workforce Ecosystem

•          NIH Grant Writing for New Investigators

•          STEM Resources for Context/Dissemination

•          Research Grant Writing Web Resources

•          Educational Grant Writing Web Resources

•          Agency Research News

•          Agency Reports, Workshops & Roadmaps

•          New Funding Opportunities


Note that the attached report is for UCR internal use only.  It may not be forwarded to colleagues at other institutions or professional associations.


Transitioning from an Early Investigator Award to the Coveted R01: Jan 21.


Tuesday, January 21st, 2014,

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

University Office Building Conference Room 210

The Research and Economic Development (RED) is pleased to announce that we’ll be hosting a 60 minute webinar that will focus on detailed strategies for obtaining that first R01, which can be a cornerstone in a faculty’s career.

During this Webinar,  Christopher Francklyn, PhD, will describe approaches that have been successful in building his own career and those of the colleagues for whom he has provided mentoring. The Webinar will focus on five critical steps on the path to that first R01: (1) creating a strategic blueprint for success; (2) building effective time management skills; (3) husbanding and building your local resources; (4) building a research team and effective collaborative network; (5) securing your first R01 grant.


Black Skimmer


Here’s a photo of two black skimmers.  They skim along the water looking for fish to eat.

I have seen them along the San Diego Creek in Irvine, but this photo is from Cape May, NJ.


Black Skimmers

(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:  Johanna Bowman