UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  October 16, 2016

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


·         What’s an NSF Dear Colleague Letter

·         Dear Colleague Letter:  Updates to the 2017 Smart and Connected Health Solicitation

·         Dear Colleague Letter: FY 2017 Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) Funding Opportunity on Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Water

·         Funding Opportunity: NEH Awards for Faculty at HSIs – 4/12/17

·         CDFA Now Accepting Proposals for 2017 Specialty Crop Grants

·         Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept & Innovation Center Announcement and Launch – 10/26/16

·         USDA/NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)

·         2017 CITRIS Seed Funding Call for Proposals – 1/27/17

·         What a Nobel Prize Winner Has to Say About Research

·         Mountain Chickadee

What’s an NSF Dear Colleague Letter


Creating a new program at NSF or any federal agency takes quite a bit of effort and time (but still, less than creating a new degree at UC).   It also is not possible to create a new program under a continuing budget resolution and during this election year, there is likely to be a continuing budget resolution until a few months after the new president is sworn in.  Fortunately, NSF has a mechanism called a Dear Colleague Letter to inform the research community of a new emphasis of an existing program.  Sometimes, a Dear Colleague Letter includes a request for RAPID or EAGER proposals, smaller proposals that are reviewed internally to address a timely issue such as the impacts of a natural disaster (RAPID) or to allow funding for high-impact speculative work (EAGER).


NSF Dear Colleague Letter:  Updates to the 2017 Smart and Connected Health Solicitation


October 11, 2016


Dear Colleagues:


The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released a new solicitation for Smart and Connected Health (see NSF 16-601https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf16601). With this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), NSF wishes to notify the community of relevant changes and additions to the program for 2017.


Changes to the 2017 SCH Solicitation: The 2017 SCH solicitation will only support Integrative Projects (INT). For these proposals, NSF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seek SCH research that is transdisciplinary while addressing key application areas by solving problems in multiple scientific and engineering domains. These projects are expected to further our understanding of how advances in computing, engineering and behavioral and social science, would support transformations in healthcare and improve population health. As described in the solicitation, INT project descriptions must be comprehensive and well integrated, and should make a convincing case that the collaborative contributions of the project team will be greater than the sum of each of their individual contributions. Collaborations with researchers in the health application domains are required. INT proposals should be submitted by December 8, 2016. Please note that the program is no longer soliciting the Exploratory (EXP) SCH proposals.


In addition to the changes above, the SCH program encourages submission of EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposing breakthrough SCH research. The SCH goal is to accelerate the development and use of innovative approaches that would support the much needed transformation of healthcare and population health in this country. SCH EAGERs provide the proof-of-concept or feasibility of novel approaches in its early stages (or untested) for potentially transformative research ideas to promote the vision of Smart and Connected Health. An EAGER proposal should be especially 'high-risk/high-reward' in the sense that it involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. EAGERs may lead to new SCH INT activities.


EAGER proposals submitted to this DCL should follow NSF guidelines for EAGERs (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf16001/gpg_2.jsp#IID2), including making a clear case why they are appropriate for EAGER funding, including why they do not fit into existing programs and how they constitute 'high-risk/high-reward' research. Budgets should be well-justified. PI(s) must contact a cognizant NSF program officer to discuss the proposal topic before submitting their EAGER proposal, to ensure whether the proposed work is appropriate for EAGER funding. EAGER proposals must be submitted by December 14, 2016.


For more information about this DCL or the SCH solicitation, please see the NSF SCH website (https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5047397&org=CISE&sel_org=CISE&from=fund) or contact one of the following program directors:





Jim Kurose 

Assistant Director, SBE


Fay Cook

Assistant Director, Geosciences


Grace Jinliu Wang

Assistant Director, ENG (Acting)



Dear Colleague Letter: FY 2017 Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) Funding Opportunity on Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Water


The National Science Foundation has released Dear Colleague Letter 17-013 to announce new areas of concentration for its Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) program. This is not a new solicitation; it is an expression of interest for proposals to be submitted to existing programs. Here is full text of the letter:


October 7, 2016


Dear Colleagues:


In 2010, NSF established the Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES)1 investment area to lay the research foundation for decision capabilities and technologies aimed at mitigating and adapting to environmental changes that threaten sustainability. Some SEES investments advanced a systems-based approach to understanding, predicting, and reacting to stress upon, and changes in, the linked natural, social, and built environments. In this context, the importance of understanding the interconnected and interdependent systems involving food, energy, and water (FEW) has emerged. In 2015, NSF Issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL): SEES: Interactions of Food Systems with Water and Energy Systems2 to accelerate fundamental understanding and stimulate basic research on the connections and interdependencies among these three systems.


Through this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), issued by the Divisions of Chemistry (CHE) and Materials Research (DMR) in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) in the Directorate for Engineering, the NSF aims to specifically focus on advancing knowledge of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles; the production and use of fertilizers for food production; and the detection, separation, and reclamation/recycling of nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing species in and from complex aqueous environments.


Humanity is reliant upon the physical resources and natural systems of the Earth for the provision of food, energy, and water. It is becoming imperative that we determine how society can best integrate across the natural and built environments to provide for a growing demand for food, water and energy while maintaining appropriate ecosystem services. Factors contributing to stresses in the food, energy, and water systems include increasing regional, social, and political pressures as result of land use change, climate variability, and heterogeneous resource distribution. These interconnections and interdependencies associated with the food, energy and water nexus create research grand challenges in understanding how the complex, coupled processes of society and the environment function now, and in the future. There is a critical need for research that enables new means of adapting to future challenges. The FEW systems must be defined broadly, incorporating physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles), biological processes (such as agroecosystem structure and productivity), social/behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), and cyber elements. Investigations of these complex systems may produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or energy or water systems alone. It is the synergy among these components, in the context of sustainability that will open innovative science and engineering pathways to produce new knowledge and novel technologies to solve the challenges of scarcity and variability. This DCL, which is part of the Innovation at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS) portfolio,3 addresses emerging science, technology, and engineering relevant to food, energy and water systems.


The availability of nitrogen, phosphorus, and water are the three main factors that limit our ability to produce enough food to feed the growing population of the planet. The nitrogen cycle is one of the most significant biogeochemical cycles on Earth, as nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all forms of life. Although freely available in the atmosphere as dinitrogen, access to fixed forms of nitrogen constitutes, in many cases, the most limiting factor for plant growth. The industrial production of ammonia for fertilizers via the current Haber-Bosch process is an energy intensive process that consumes 1-2% of the world's annual energy supply. For these reasons, the need for advanced catalytic methods for the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia remains a requirement for sustainability in the food, energy and water systems cycle.


Similarly, phosphorus is also essential to plant and animal nutrition. Approximately 80% of the world's economically-viable phosphorus is obtained from "phosphate rock" that is localized in a single place. Phosphate rock is a more concentrated commodity than petroleum, and like petroleum, the world's supply of phosphorus is threatened by political instability and monopolistic economic practices. Management of phosphorus is a bit of a paradox because, while the world may face a shortage of phosphorus-containing fertilizer later this century, many regions are currently afflicted with an oversupply in both inland and coastal waters causing algal blooms that can produce extremely dangerous toxins that can sicken or kill people or animals, create dead zones in the water, raise treatment costs for drinking water, and hurt industries that depend on clean water. The ability to provide field-deployable, inexpensive, and environmentally-and energetically-sustainable sensors for real-time application and monitoring of nitrogen or phosphorus-containing species to agriculture while reducing the amount of these species in waste or run-off streams would benefit food production, benefit water quality, and result in significantly less energy consumption.


The increased demands for fresh water for crops/livestock and energy production will significantly add to the current stress on non-renewable groundwater resources. It is estimated that seven billion people in sixty countries will experience water scarcity by 2050 at current rates of water usage. This will place additional stress on both food supplies and energy consumption rates. These needs necessitate scientific and technological innovations that will address global problems that center on fresh water. In particular, the food production system generates waste streams that are characterized by high concentrations of organic matter, nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing species in water. New approaches are needed to overcome the cost of inefficient and energy-intensive detection, sequestration, and removal/recycling of such species while also preserving water quality.


This component of the NSF Innovations at the Nexus of the Food, Energy and Waters Systems (INFEWS) investment is designed to advance a new understanding of the role of the chemistry of nitrogen, phosphorous, and water in the nexus of food, energy and water systems, "INFEWS: N/P/H2O." While fundamental science and engineering research will underpin solutions to these areas of national and international need, it must also be recognized that technological innovations themselves require resources for development and deployment. Ostensible solutions to the challenge of N, P, and water supply cannot be premised on the assumption that energy, chemical feedstocks, and other required resources will be available in great abundance.


In FY 2017, the topics of interest in INFEWS: N/P/H2O include innovative, fundamental research to:


  1. advance catalytic methods for the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia that permit reductions in the energy requirements for fertilizer production;
  2. develop new sensing modalities that will lead to field-deployable, inexpensive, and environmentally and energetically sustainable sensors for real-time monitoring of nitrogen- or phosphorus-containing species as they move, via agricultural run-off, to other water systems; and
  3. develop methods for the selective and efficient detection, sequestration/separation, and recycling of nitrogen and phosphorous species from water (For proposals submitted to CHE, proposals should focus on gaining an understanding of the supramolecular recognition and binding of environmentally-relevant nitrogen- and phosphorus-containing species.); and
  4. develop new materials to optimize the availability of N and control the utilization of P while managing effluents within the context of sustainable energy and preservation of our natural resources.


Proposals in response to this investment area should be submitted to the existing program of interest in –CHE, DMR and CBET within the existing submission windows (deadlines) of the programs. The proposal title must begin with "INFEWS N/P/H2O:". Other than the proposal title, the cover page should be prepared as a regular unsolicited proposal submission to the program. The most competitive proposals will address how the project conceptually advances innovations at the nexus of the food, energy, and water systems and sustainability of the proposed solution, i.e., the monetary and energetic costs for translation and scale-up.


Proposals are welcome from either multiple or single investigators. Interdisciplinary proposals that involve principal investigators traditionally supported by the three participating divisions (CHE, DMR, and CBET) are also welcome. Such proposals should be submitted to the most relevant program in CHE, DMR, or CBET. CHE and DMR welcome proposals responding to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) in all programs, while CBET welcomes proposals responding to this DCL in the Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, or Catalysis and Biocatalysis Programs. Please consult the Divisional webpages for more details on specific interests.4,5,6


The challenges at the food, energy, and water nexus are frequently international, and experts around the globe have relevant expertise and resources. Proposals including international collaboration are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work. The U.S. team's international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through their own national or regional sources.


Proposals may be submitted in combination with other solicitations. For example, if there are strong collaborations with industry, the Dear Colleague Letter: Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)7 can be used in conjunction with this effort. Similarly, proposals may be submitted in combination with the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program,8 Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions: Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and Research Opportunity Awards (ROA)9 solicitation. These proposals should be submitted to the appropriate solicitation and add INFEWS to the title (For example, RUI: INFEWS N/P/H2O: Name of your proposal). Other mechanisms such as EAGER10 and INSPIRE11 may also be appropriate, but principal investigators are required to check with the cognizant program officers for additional guidance. For general questions about INFEWS, email the listed representatives in either CHE,12 DMR,13 or CBET.14


To see examples of awards made under the Food-Energy-Water investment area, visit the NSF Award Abstracts Database,15 and enter 'food, energy, and water' in the 'Search Award for:' dialogue field. Alternatively, please visit the webpages of the disciplinary programs of interest in the participating divisions. Under each program, find the link to recent awards made in that program and look for those that contain `FEW' in the proposal title.


We are excited by the opportunities in the INFEWS area and encourage our communities to contribute to our sustainable future by participating in this important funding investment area. If interested, please contact the Program Officers listed in References 11, 12 and 13, rather than the signatories of this DCL, for assistance.


1.       Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability NSF-Wide Investment (SEES): https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504707

2.       SEES: Interactions of Food Systems with Water and Energy Systems DCL: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf15040

3.       https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf15040

4.       Division of Chemistry webpage: https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=CHE

5.       Division of Materials Research webpage: https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=DMR

6.       Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems webpage: https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=CBET

7.       GOALI: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf16099

8.       CAREER: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214

9.       RUI: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf14579

10.    EAGER https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg

11.    INSPIRE: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504852

12.    CHE Program Officers: Tim Patten (tpatten@nsf.gov), Suk-Wah Tam-Chang (stamchan@nsf.gov), Lin He, (lhe@nsf.gov) and Colby Foss (cfoss@nsf.gov).

13.    DMR Program Officers: Alex Klironomos (aklirono@nsf.gov), Andrew Lovinger (alovinge@nsf.gov), and Sean L. Jones (sljones@nsf.gov).

14.    CBET Program Officers: William Cooper (wcooper@nsf.gov), Bruce Hamilton (bhamilto@nsf.gov) and Robert McCabe (rmccabe@nsf.gov).

15.    NSF Awards Search: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/



Funding Opportunity: NEH Awards for Faculty at HSIs – 4/12/17


The National Endowment for the Humanities released information for Awards for Faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. 


“This program supports individual faculty or staff members at Hispanic-Serving Institutions pursuing research of value to humanities scholars, students, or general audiences. Awards are designed to be flexible, allowing applicants to define the audience, type of research, award periods, and administrative arrangements that best fit their projects.


Awards can be used for a wide range of projects that are based on humanities research. Eligible projects include pursuing research in primary and secondary materials and producing articles, monographs, books, digital materials, archaeological site reports, translations, editions, or other scholarly resources. Activities might also include conducting basic research leading to the improvement of an existing undergraduate course or conducting basic research related to the goals and interests of the institution or community.”


Deadline: April 12, 2017

More information is available at: https://www.neh.gov/grants/research/awards-faculty-hispanic-serving-institutions



CDFA Now Accepting Proposals for 2017 Specialty Crop Grants


The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting proposals for the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants/).  Each year, CDFA conducts a two-phase competitive solicitation process to award funds to projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of California specialty crops. Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). Review the 2017 Request for Concept Proposals  (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants/pdfs/2017SCBGP_RequestForConceptProposals.pdf) for detailed application instructions.


Phase I of the process begins with the submission of concept proposals, which undergo both an administrative review and a technical review. Successful applicants will be invited to submit a detailed grant proposal in Phase II of the process.  


Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $450,000 per project and projects may last for up to two years and six months. Non-profit and for-profit organizations; local, state, federal, and tribal government entities; and public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply. All applicants must register online with the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST), https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov, to apply. Concept proposals must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Tuesday, November 15, 2016, at 5 pm PST.


CDFA will present four workshops and two webinars, all featuring an overview of the program, a review of the concept proposal questions, a live demonstration of the online application system, helpful grant writing tips, and more. Visit CDFA's SCBGP website, www.cdfa.ca.gov/grants, for full details.     


Workshops and webinars will be held at these locations on the following dates:

         San Luis Obispo Workshop: Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

         San Diego Workshop: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

         Webinar 1: Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

         Merced Workshop: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

         Webinar 2: Wednesday, October 26, 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

         Sacramento Workshop: Thursday, October 27, 2016 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.


All prospective SCBGP applicants are encouraged to participate. There is no cost to attend; however, space is limited and CDFA requests that attendees register in advance. To register, email grants@cdfa.ca.gov with your name and contact information, the workshop/webinar you would like to attend, and the number of seats required. Further details will be provided with confirmation of registration.


Prospective applicants may contact CDFA’s Office of Grants Administration at (916) 657-3231 or grants@cdfa.ca.gov for additional information.  



Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept & Innovation Center Announcement and Launch – 10/26/16


The County of Riverside will host the launch of UCR’s Regional Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept and Innovation Center (EPI Center) on October 26, 2016 from 3:00-5:00pm at the Riverside County Administration Center. 


A partnership between UC Riverside, the County of Riverside, and regional innovation centers, EPIC will focus on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators by:


-Providing access to entrepreneurial training

-Pairing innovators and startups with experienced mentors

-Connecting startups to investors and partners


Come learn more about EPIC.  Listen to local start-up companies pitch to business leaders, investors and mentors.  Meet the members of our growing entrepreneurial community. 


Event Details:

3:00pm- Technology Showcase

5:00pm- Reception immediately following



The Riverside County Administration Center

4080 Lemon Street

Riverside, CA 92501


Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/entrepreneurial-proof-of-concept-innovation-center-announcement-launch-tickets-28287997161?aff=es2


***Complimentary parking in the adjacent parking deck on Lemon Street***


For information contact: judy.swineford@ucr.edu



USDA/NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI)


The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Projects must address at least one of five focus areas:

·         Research in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, and other methods to improve crop characteristics

·         Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators

·         Efforts to improve production efficiency, handling and processing, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing)

·         New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening

·         Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production efficiency, handling and processing of specialty crops.




Posted Date:  Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Closing Date:  Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Full details can be found here:  https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/specialty-crop-research-initiative-scri


For more information, contact Thomas (Tom) Bewick at tbewick@nifa.usda.gov.



2017 CITRIS Seed Funding Call for Proposals (1/27/17)


The 2017 CITRIS Seed Funding opportunity invites Principal Investigators at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Davis Health System, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz to apply for seed funding that furthers CITRIS and the Banatao Institute research initiatives (http://citris-uc.org/core-initiatives/?mc_cid=821133ee68&mc_eid=6bf0842b0c), strengthens connections among UC campuses, and catalyzes early-stage research that can lead to external funding.


This year, they are pleased to continue their seed funding partnership with UC Riverside and encourage joint applications from investigators at UC Riverside and one or more CITRIS campuses.


·         $550,000 available: Core CITRIS Seed Funding

·         $150,000 available: CITRIS & UC Riverside Seed Funding


View the full program overview with detailed areas of interest, eligibility, requirements, online application portal, and FAQs.  http://citris-uc.org/citris-seed-funding/ 


Deadline for all CITRIS Seed Funding proposals: Friday, January 27, 2017 at 5:00pm PST


Funded projects have attracted follow-on support from federal, state, industrial, and private sources including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Intel, Microsoft, Mellon Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Please see the RFP for full descriptions of the 2017 Areas of Interest, including:


·         Connected Communities: This new initiative focuses on the affordances of information technology to enhance communities – of learning, of practice, and of governance. Themes include development of experimental online platforms and novel hardware and software systems that connect peers to each other and to institutions in meaningful and productive ways.  (http://citris-uc.org/initiatives/connected-communities/


·         Health: Improving health outcomes and access to cost-effective care through the development and integration of innovative technology in telehealth, sensors, mobile devices, and analytics with a special emphasis on hospital to home and precision health solutions. (http://citris-uc.org/initiatives/health/)  


·         People and Robots: Human-centric automation, bio-inspired robotics, deep learning, cloud robotics, and Internet of Things are among the primary research themes in the new CITRIS People and Robots Initiative. (http://citris-uc.org/initiatives/robotics-2/)


·         Sustainable Infrastructures: The Sustainable Infrastructures Initiative pursues information technology research in energy, water, and transportation as parts of the cyber-infrastructure of a sustainable society. (http://citris-uc.org/initiatives/sustainable-infrastructures




What Nobel Prize Winners Have To Say About Research


Here’s my favorite research quote by Bob Dylan, the 2016 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, from the song Nettie Moore.


The World of Research Has Gone Berserk

Too Much Paperwork



Mountain Chickadee


Here’s a photo of a Mountain Chickadee taken at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center during  a recent retreat.




(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:  Linda Bejenaru

Email: VCREDadmin@ucr.edu