UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  September 11, 2014

Michael Pazzani

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development


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

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

TEDxRiverside: Oct 16, 2014: http://www.tedxriverside.com



·         Federal Update

·         Postdoc Symposium Featuring 2013 Nobel laureate Dr. Randy Schekman

·         Guggenheim fellowship applications due Sept 19

·         Nearby conferences: microbiome and bioinformatics

·         Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

·         Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency: IARPA Day, October 30

·         GUIRR's Webinar - Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research: Sept 30

·         New DARPA program managers

·         Birding in Laguna Beach


Federal Update


I spent the past few days in Washington at a meeting of the UC Vice Chancellors of Research and then subsequent visits to some federal agencies with some UCR faculty and Director of Federal Relations Kaitlin Chell.  Here’s a summary of some meetings and conversations


Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP):  Jo Handelsman, Associate Director of Science.  (Dr. Handelsman recently joined OSTP from Yale).    OSTP is not a funding agency but rather part of the executive branch of government that providence guidance to the funding agencies on the administration’s priorities and cross agency themes.  OSTP guidance this year is typically reflected in next year’s programs at federal agencies.


S&T are central to meeting key challenges of:

·         Economic development & sustainable growth

·         Affordable, safe, accessible, nutritious food supply

·         Biomedicine & health-care delivery

·         Clean, safe, reliable, & affordable energy

·         Climate-change mitigation & adaptation

·         Competing uses of land & water

·         Health & productivity of the oceans

·         National & homeland security

·         Discovery, invention, & expanded understanding


S&T priorities in the President’s 2nd term:

·         S&T for the economy: advancing economic recovery and job creation through S&T-based innovation to drive advanced manufacturing  and new/improved products

·         S&T for biomedicine and health: helping to implement the Affordable Care Act so as to get better healthcare outcomes for more Americans at lower costs

·         S&T for energy and climate: advancing the coupled agendas of clean, efficient, reliable, affordable  energy and climate-change mitigation/preparedness/resilience

·         S&T for open government: using information science & technology to improve access to government data & services and increase public participation in government. 

·         STEM education: strengthening the next generation of discoverers, innovators, workers, and citizens


Science Division – New S & T Priorities


·         Antibiotic resistance

·         Precision medicine

·         Nutrition – health- agriculture nexus  (e.g., plant breeding for nutrition)

·         Aquaculture

·         Microbiomes – soil, plants, animals, humans

·         Public Health, lab safety, national security

·         Forensic sciences.


Science Division – New STEM education Priorities

·         Classroom practices proven to increase retention, but universities are slow to adopt.

o   active learning

o   research courses  (for freshman)

·         Broader graduate training

o   teaching skills

o   entrepreneurship

o   mentoring skills

o   communicating with the public

·         Training to explicit and implicit bias

·         Probability  in K-12 curriculum



DARPA (Director, Arati Prabhakar).  Some areas of emphasis include.  (note: This is not an exhaustive list).

       Use of data in many fields (materials, biology, etc)

       Rethinking complex systems:  Can we find ways to build distributed, composable systems, not using a big platform but large numbers of elements that combine to do the job in different way.

       Next generation of information revolution.  Huge set of opportunities in information at massive scale e.g., from sensor data.

       Trusted information, cybersecurity

       Biological technology and interactions with engineering and information technology

       Synthetic biology. Applications include new classes of materials, new fuels and new pharmaceuticals.  Of particulate interest are new tools and techniques to accelerate development in synthetic biology.

       Understanding brain function, motor function, and restoration of function, advanced prosthetics, direct motor control of prosthetics

       Outpacing the spread of infectious disease. Diagnostics, RNA based therapies, enhanced vaccines, prophylactics that can be immediate unlike vaccines.

       Longer term questions about how society will use new technologies.



NSF Update.  France Cordova, Director

       Richard Buckius, NSF Acting Chief Operating Officer and Senior Science Advisor has been nominated as NSF Deputy Director.  Dr. Buckius was most recently the VP of Research at Purdue and previously the AD of Engineering at NSF. 

       NSF Goals

o   Furthering Progress of Science

o   Educating the next generation of US scientists.

o   Upcoming Deadlines:  INSPIRE ($1M a year, interdisciplinary), Science and Technology Centers.  These are quite similar in requiring teams, but STC teams are 3-4x larger.

o   NSF MAY be exploring modular budgets like NIH to reduce burden on PIs.


NIH Update: Lawrence Tabak, Principal Deputy Director, focused on three topics


·         BIG DATA: 

o   Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) is a growing funding area.  Goals:  To enable biomedical research as a digital research enterprise through which new discoveries are made and knowledge generated by maximizing community engagement and productivity.

o   As an example of big data, NCBI gets 28M page views a day and , 35T a day

o   Phil Bourns has been appointed Associate Director For Data Science

o   Digital Assets  (E.g. datasets, papers, software, lab notes-- Each asset is uniquely identified and has provenance)

§  Locating and citing the digital assets

§  Extending policies and practices for data sharing

§  Organizing, managing, and processing biomedical Big Data

§  Developing new methods to analyze biomedical Big Data (computing across data types, data integration)

§  Training researchers who can use biomedical Big Data effectively

o   Establishing Centers of Excellence for biomedical data science

o   Establishing Data Commons that co-locate data with advanced computing resources

o   New areas for FY15 include:

§  Piloting the Data Commons

§  Increased focus on Clinical Research, standards activities

§  Communication and outreach

§  Increased collaboration with NIH policy experts

o   Possible FY15/16 BD2K FOAs

§  NIH Standards Information Resource (NSIR).

§  Community-based standards/metadata development.

§  Targeted methods development for research use of clinical data.

§  Targeted software: enabling appropriate repurposing of NIH-relevant open data

§  Innovative partnerships for database sustainability.

§  Training: Support of big data training through libraries and/or societies.

§  Diversity and Training in Big Data


·         Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)

o   Goal: Map the brain’s circuits; measure patterns of electrical and chemical activity; understand how their interplay creates our unique capabilities

o   Years 1–5: focus on technology development (tool development: Noninvasive imaging technologies, higher spatial and temporal resolution)

o   Years 6–10: focus on discovery-driven science

o   Budget

§  By year 4: funding ramps to $400M/year

§  By year 7: funding plateau at $500M/year

§   Total investment = $4.5 billion by FY25

o   White Paper: http://www.nih.gov/science/brain

o   Joint with NIH, NSF,DARPA, FDA, HHMI, Kavli….

o   New RFAs expected in December


·         Funding Mechanisms:  NIH is exploring funding mechanism that fund the person not the projects:  In these times of tight budgets and rapidly evolving science, we must consider new ways to invest biomedical research dollars to achieve maximum impact—to turn scientific discoveries into better health as swiftly as possible. We do this by thinking strategically about the areas of research that we support, as well as the process by which we fund that research.

o   Awarding longer grants — e.g., NIH Pioneer Awards

o   NCI’s Outstanding Investigator Award:

§   To investigators with extraordinary records

§  $600,000/yr direct costs for up to 7 yrs

o   NIGMS’s Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award

§  Concept stage, awaiting RFI feedback

§  $150,000–$750,000/yr direct costs for 5 yrs

o   Other NIH ICs may follow with similar opportunities


ARPA-E: Cheryl Martin, Acting Director

·         In FY15, there will be an open solicitation in which faculty may propose innovations on any energy related topic, as well as focused solicitations on topics selected by ARPA-E.

·         Characteristics of an  ARPA-E Project


§  High impact on ARPA-E mission areas

§  Credible path to market

§  Large commercial application


§  Challenges what is possible

§  Disrupts existing learning curves

§  Leaps beyond today’s technologies


§  Translates science into breakthrough technology

§  Not researched or funded elsewhere

§  Catalyzes new interest and investment

o   TEAM

§  Comprised of best-in-class people

§  Cross-disciplinary skill sets

§  Translation oriented

·         Workshops in FY14 that may result in FY15 foci

o   Drivers for Economical Fusion Technologies

o   Personal Thermal Management to Reduce Building Energy Consumption 

o   Transportation Network Optimization

o   Microscale Concentrated Photovoltaics

o   Advanced Dry Power Plant Cooling

o   Efficient Small Engines for Combined Heat and Power

o   Plant Phenotyping

o   Grid of the Future: From Vertical to Flat


USDA NIFA: Sonny Ramaswamy                                                                                                                         

·         NIFA will be creating a program like NSF REU, but with an extension focus, i.e., giving undergraduates an extension experience.

·         NIFA will be creating a program like NSF IGERT, i.e, interdisciplinary graduate education related to food and agriculture.

·         The Agriculture and Food Technology industry want to recruit 60,000   new employees a year, but US universities graduate only 20,000.  A working group of companies and universities has been created.

·         Data and sensors are increasing in importance in agriculture

·         Drones for data gathering will become commonplace


USAID:  HSI Programs

·         Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP): The purpose of this competitive undergraduate scholarship grant program is to increase the multicultural diversity of the food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce, and advance the educational achievement of all Americans by providing competitive grants to colleges and universities. The Multicultural Scholars Program is available every year. Due Date: September 30, 2014: Percent of Applications Funded Last Fiscal Year 25% http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/multiculturalscholars.cfm

·         Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship (NNF) Grants Program: This grant program supports: (1) training students for Master's and doctoral degrees in food, agricultural and natural resource sciences, and; (2) Special International Study or Thesis/Dissertation Research Travel Allowances (IRTA) for eligible USDA NNF beneficiaries. Awards are specifically intended to support traineeship programs that engage outstanding students to pursue and complete their degrees in USDA mission areas. Applicants provide clarity about the philosophy of their graduate training, and relevance to USDA mission sciences, NIFA priorities and national science education policies and statistics. Applications are being solicited from institutions that confer a graduate degree in at least one of the following Targeted Expertise Shortage Areas: 1) animal and plant production; 2) forest resources; 3) agricultural educators and communicators; 4) agricultural management and economics; 5) food science and human nutrition; 6) sciences for agricultural biosecurity; and 7) training in integrative biosciences for sustainable food and agricultural systems. . Due Date: September 30, 2014: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/nationalneedsgraduatefellowships.cfm



UCR Postdoctoral Symposium: Sept.23-24, 2014.

The Riverside Postdoctoral Association is organizing its Inaugural Postdoctoral Symposium, sponsored by the Graduate Division, on the 23rd and 24th of September, 2014 in the Genomics Auditorium. The symposium will include:

·         An opening reception on the evening of the 23rd with a postdoctoral poster session.

·         Oral presentations on the 24th by UCR postdocs from across disciplines.

·         Keynote talk on the 24th by 2013 Nobel laureate Dr. Randy Schekman

Registration is free and can be done by following this link or by email to postdoc@ucr.edu. Space is limited, don’t delay-register today!

Guggenheim fellowship applications due Sept 19

Guggenheim Fellowships are grants to selected individuals made for a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months. Since the purpose of the Guggenheim Fellowship program is to help provide Fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, grants are made freely. No special conditions attach to them, and Fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work. Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for faculty members who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now inviting applications to Grand Challenges Explorations, which has awarded over 1070 grants in over 58 countries to date.

Grand Challenges Explorations seeks innovative global health and development solutions. Applicants can be at any experience level; in any discipline.  Two-page proposals are being accepted online until November 12, 2014 on the following topics:

-    Surveillance Tools, Diagnostics and an Artificial Diet to Support New Approaches to Vector Control.
-    New Approaches for Addressing Outdoor/Residual Malaria Transmission
-    New Ways to Reduce Pneumonia Fatalities through Timely, Effective Treatment of Children
-    Enable Universal Acceptance of Mobile Money Payments to Create an Economic Ecosystem that Will Help Lift the Poorest Out of Poverty
-    Explore New Ways to Measure Brain Development and Gestational Age
-    New Ways of Working Together: Integrating Community-Based Interventions

Initial grants will be US $100,000 each, and projects showing promise will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million. Full descriptions of the new topics and application instructions are available at: www.grandchallenges.org/explorations.


If you have a great idea, please apply. If you know someone who may have a great idea, please forward this message.

Please also note the Global Health Innovation Group on LinkedIn. Developed in collaboration with Grand Challenges Canada, this group offers a platform to connect and communicate with innovators from around the world. Anyone with a LinkedIn account can join and make use of this forum.


Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency:  IARPA Day, October 30


The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will be hosting its first IARPA Day 30 October 2014 in the College Park, Maryland area.


Dubbed in The New York Times as one of the government's "most creative agencies," IARPA performs high-risk, high-payoff research to address Intelligence Community (IC)-wide intelligence challenges. The purpose of IARPA Day is to provide a unique look at the breadth and depth of IARPA's research through briefings, discussions and demonstrations, including:


       The Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) program, which seeks to improve forecasting of world events through the wisdom of crowds,

       The Trusted Integrated Chips (TIC) program, which addresses supply-chain security and intellectual property with a new chip-fabrication approach,

       The Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-solving (SHARP) program, which explores ways to enhance analysts' ability to reason though complex and ambiguous problems, and

       The Babel program, which is creating technology to provide robust search tools for human speech in any language in the world.


IARPA Day will allow attendees the opportunity to speak directly with IARPA leadership and IARPA's subject matter experts (the program managers) about their work and experiences, as well as discuss career opportunities at IARPA.



Attendees must register no later than 6 p.m. local time on 15 October 2014 at https://www.signup4.net/Public/ap.aspx?EID=IARP14E. No walk-in registrations will be allowed. Directions to the event facility, agenda and other information will be provided online upon registration. There is no registration fee.


The event is being held on two days.  UCR faculty may only attend the second day (30 October) which is entirely unclassified and will be held in a facility close to IARPA in Maryland.


Unclassified Day: Due to space limitations, attendance on the unclassified day (30 October) will be limited to the first 400 registrants. All attendees will be required to present government-issued photo identification to enter the event. Non-U.S. citizens will be required to present passports.


If you’d like support to attend, please send Pazzani@ucr.edu an email with an expression of your interest in IARPA programs.



Nearby conferences: microbiome and bioinformatics


·         Joint Calit2/IGB Symposium on Microbiome Connections to the Environment, Health, and Disease (September 19, 2014) http://www.calit2.uci.edu/calit2-events/calendar.aspx?eid=691 (James Borneman UCR is one of the keynote speakers)


·         ACM-BCB2014: the fifth ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, and Health Informatics in Newport Beach, CA  (September 20-23, 2014) http://www.cse.buffalo.edu/ACM-BCB2014/  (Stefano Londardi UCR is chairing one of the sessions)

Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research (PFI:AIR) webinar  Sept 30

A program for translational research opportunities for NSF-supported faculty and research consortia

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 10:00-1:00 p.m. PDT

Hosted by the National Academies' Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR)


The NSF PFI:AIR program offers opportunities to conduct translational research activities in support of moving previously funded NSF research results toward commercial application.  There are two solicitations associated with the PFI:AIR program: one aimed at single investigator faculty, the PFI:AIR--Technology Translation (PFI:AIR-TT) program, and one aimed at NSF sponsored research consortia such as centers, the PFI:AIR-Research Alliance (PFI:AIR-RA) program.  The PFI:AIR-TT program gives a faculty researcher an opportunity to take a NSF funded research result and develop it further into a proof-of-concept or prototype for a particular application.  The PFI:AIR-RA program encourages technology translation through the development of an innovation ecosystem around the NSF-funded research consortium, with NSF funding in conjunction with third party investment.  This webinar will offer information about both programs in terms of the goals of the solicitations, requirements for proposals, and some initial statistics and results from the programs.  The target audience are those interested in academic technology translation and in industry-academic partnerships to speed technology translation.


Cost: There is NO COST to attend this webinar, but registration is required.  A confirmation email will be issued prior to the event containing the webinar URL. 

Requirements: Audio for this event will be streamed through your computer speakers. To participate, you will need a computer with Internet access.  You do not need a telephone or microphone. You will be able to type questions for the speakers during the Q&A session.

Register Now

New DARPA program managers

An important strategy for dealing with DARPA is to work with program managers who recently joined DARPA.  Usually, within the first year, 1-2 new programs are created and several projects are funded.  After that, the program funds are tied up with continuations of existing projects with little opportunity for getting involved.  Discussing your ideas in person, before new programs are created, is a one way to influence the topics that DARPA funds.   My office will sponsor trips to DARPA for faculty that are interested in meeting new program directors or attending DARPA workshops or proposer’s days.


UCR’s federal consulting firm, Lewis-Burke, has compiled a list of new DARPA  program managers and their interests. 

·         Dr. Justin Gallivan             BTO       synthetic biology, including engineering microbial communities to produce small molecules or to prevent disease, and reprogramming multicellular organisms to perform complex tasks

·         Dr. Fariba Fahroo             DSO       Dr. Fahroo comes to DARPA from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) where she was a program officer for Math programs in Dynamics and Control, Computational Mathematics and Optimization and Discrete Math. While at AFOSR, she initiated and managed basic research programs in various areas of computational math and control theory such as multiscale modeling and computation, uncertainty quantification, design under uncertainty, distributed, multi-agent control and estimation, and computational control theory.

·         Dr. John Main                    DSO        physical sciences and fostering the R&D communities that will support those programs. This is Dr. Main’s second tour as a DARPA Program Manager. His first tour at DARPA began in 2002 and resulted in programs in a broad range of technical areas including biologically inspired materials, fast and efficient human-powered swimming, rapid rooftop access, small-scale power generation, GPS-denied underwater navigation, and human exoskeletons for increased warfighter endurance.

·         Mr. Timothy Booher        I2O         cyberspace technology

·         David Doerman                 I2O         language and media processing and exploitation, vision and mobile technologies. He comes to DARPA with a vision of increasing capabilities through joint vision/language interaction for triage and forensics applications.

·         Dr. John Everett                I2O         intersection of automation technologies with information security

·         Dr. Angelos Keromytis     I2O         computer systems, network security and cryptography

·         Dr. John Launchbury        I2O         programming languages, security, privacy and cryptography

·         Mr. Frank Pound               I2O         cyber operations and providing a useful interface to the “living Internet of things” such that it can be more easily measured and understood.

·         LTC Matthew Hepburn, MD, BTO               dynamic threats of emerging infectious diseases with potential impact on national security

·         Dr. Geoffrey Ling              BTO       diagnosing and developing therapeutic responses for brain and spinal cord injury

·         Dr. Justin Sanchez             BTO       neurotechnology, brain science and systems neurobiology

·         Dr. Doug Weber                BTO       neural engineering, specifically: neural interface systems and how to apply these technologies to acquiring and decoding neural signals for controlling assistive and prosthetic devices; and neural stimulation technologies for restoring or retraining sensory, motor and autonomic functions.


Birding in Laguna Beach


I was in Laguna Beach a few weeks back when the surf was high.  In addition to the usually birds, I spotted a drone being used to take videos of surfers.  If your research involves observing difficult to reach areas, perhaps a drone can help.





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:  Lila Basham-Casteloes

Email: VCREDadmin@ucr.edu