UCR Research and Economic Development Newsletter:  December 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


·         Proposals at UCR

·         Reflections on DC

·         UCR Center for Neuroimaging

·         UCR CFAMM

·         A new strategic direction for behavioral and social sciences research at NIH

·         NSF Proposal:  Prediction of and Resilience against Extreme Events (PREEVENTS)

·         Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) awards

·         NIH Equipment Solicitations

·         Proof of Concept Grants Upcoming Solicitation

·         Academic Research Funding Strategies: Research Development & Grant Writing News

·         Hooded Merganser

Proposals at UCR


In the first 5 months of the year, UCR submitted 935 proposals compared to 593 proposals last year, an increase of 58%.   This should result in increased grant funding, increased support for graduate students and postdocs, increases in research productivity and increases in UCR’s reputation.


As a reminder, UCR has a policy on proposal submission http://research.ucr.edu/about/policies-ucr.aspx?k=8 , and proposals are due in the Sponsored Projects Administration before the sponsors deadline.


Standard Proposal Lead Time – three (3) full business days prior to the Sponsor Due Date.


Non-standard Proposal Lead Time – a minimum of seven (7) full business days prior to the Sponsor Due Date. 


Principal Investigators are strongly encouraged to start working with their unit administrator and the Office of Research at least one month prior to the Sponsor Due Date for non-standard proposals.  This will ensure that there is sufficient time to review and resolve any issues, secure special approvals, coordinate with the UC Office of the President, etc. prior to the Sponsor Due Date.


Non standard proposals includes those with subcontracts to other universities or companies, awards that will be contracts (instead of grants), awards with constraints on intellectual property.


Please meet these deadlines.


Below is  almost of those units with more than 10 proposals and the total dollar amount of these proposals.  .





Plant Pathology & Microbiology



SOM Research



Chemical/Environ. Engineering






Computer Science & Engineering



Electrical & Computer  Eng



Mechanical Engineering






Botany and Plant Sciences






Physics and Astronomy



Cell Biology & Neuroscience



Graduate School of Education






Environmental Sciences






Earth Sciences









SPP - Dean's Office




Unfortunately, not all proposals will be funded, but a substantial increase in proposals is likely to result in a substantial increase in funding.




Reflections on DC


Earlier this week, I was in the DC area with several faculty and Ken Barish, Chair of Physics, visiting funding agencies including NSF, ONR, DARPA, and DOE.   While there is still uncertainty about the new administration, I was pleasantly surprised that Cherry Murray, head of the Department of Energy Office of Science was optimistic about continued growth of the Office of Science budget due to strong bipartisan support for fundamental research.   The outlook for DoD funding is equally positive.   However, NSF is likely to see flat budgets or small increases.  Another positive sign is that the house and senate passed and the president signed the CURES act (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/12/13/obama-paying-tribute-to-biden-and-bipartisanship-signs-21st-century-cures-act-tuesday/?utm_term=.b90aad668840) including an addition $4.8 billion for biomedical research funding Precision Medicine, the BRAIN initiative, and cancer research. The bill also simplifies some federal regulations.


A few comments from an NSF program manager stand out:

·         Everyone should read the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide .  So, I’ve attached it and provided a link.   https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappg17_1/index.jsp

·         Selling an idea in a proposal is like selling a car.  It may have the greatest engine, but if it’s missing a tire or you haven’t washed and polished it, no one will buy it.

·         Proposals should be proofread by someone who knows the field well, another person who is in the same general area as the proposals, and by someone not in the same field.   At UCR, Randy Black (Randall.Black@ucr.edu) can help with the latter proofreading (and he’s also been known to put a tire on a car and polish it).


Some faculty are concerned about support for environmental research.  There has already been discussion initiated by the California Governor about support research on the California Environment and on Climate Change if the federal government cuts back.




UCR Center for Neuroimaging


The Center for Advanced Neuroimaging (CAN) is a newly established MRI imaging facility that is aimed at providing state-of-art capabilities for neuroimaging and other applications of MRI. UCR invested almost $6M to construct the facility and equip with a state-of-art 3T MRI scanner (Siemens Prisma) for human imaging and will soon be equipped with an insert for small animal imaging. Furthermore, it is staffed with 3 highly experienced full time support staff. The techniques that are available include structural imaging, functional brain imaging, perfusion imaging, diffusion imaging, susceptibility imaging, and in vivo MR spectroscopy. These techniques are expected to play critical roles in noninvasive studies of brain and other organs.


This call for proposal is aimed at stimulating new projects utilizing the imaging centers and at providing a vehicle for feasibility testing and pilot data collection for new projects and/or new collaborations. Each approved pilot project will be granted a limited usage of the MRI scanner (~10 hours) and support of staff in terms protocol design, data acquisition and analysis.


Application: The center for advanced neuroimaging (CAN) cordially invites all members of the UCR ladder and clinical faculty to submit proposals of pilot project (a) to test ideas for potentially fundable long-term projects; (b) to collect pilot MRI data for grant applications; or (c) to establish feasibility for new collaborations.


Pilot proposals should be prepared using the attached application form and should be submitted electronically to CAN@ucr.edu using the attached application form and including sufficient details for evaluation. Ten (10) hours of scanning time is recommended for each pilot project. Each PI can hold at most two current pilot projects. Approved scanner time will be valid for 1 year from the time of the approval. In addition to scanner time, approved pilot projects will have access the center’s technical and scientific expertise in terms of protocol design, data collection and data analysis.


Pilot Projects will be funded based on their merits. Applications must be submitted at least three (3) weeks prior to the intended start date. An IRB (for human study)/IACUC (for animal study) approval must be in place before the start of the project. Once received, applications will be reviewed by the scientific advisory committee (SAC) of the center based on its scientific merit, impact, potential for external funding and feasibility. A decision will be made by the CAN director based on the committee review and MR time availability and emailed to the applicant.


For more details, please see the attached pilot project policy and visit the UCR-CAN website (can.ucr.edu) or contact CAN via email (can@ucr.edu), phone (951-827-7535) or fax (2-7537).


For the application, please click here:  http://research.ucr.edu/ord/funding/opportunities/ucr-can.aspx


The fMRI is a powerful instrument for the study of the BRIAN, cognition, and cognitive disorder.  On the left below is a scan of my brain when  a full professor in 1996 and on the right a scan after 12 years as a university administrator.







UC Riverside has invested over $2.5 Million to upgrade the electron microscopy capabilities at UC Riverside to cutting-edge 21st century technology with the purchase of one of the most advanced Scanning/Transmission Electron Microscopes (STEM): the 300 kV FEI Titan Themis complemented by a versatile dual-beam focused ion beam (FIB) - SEM Quanta 3D.  Read all about the new instrument in the attachment or here:  http://research.ucr.edu/webdocs/vcr/misc/CFAMM_Brochure.pdf.


Visit the CFAMM website here:  http://cfamm.ucr.edu.



A new strategic direction for behavioral and social sciences research at NIH


The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health has released a new strategic plan for 2017 through 2021 (https://obssr.od.nih.gov/about-us/strategic-plan/).  The plan focuses on scientific priorities, which reflect key research challenges that OBSSR is uniquely positioned to address. Developed with considerable input from internal and external NIH stakeholders, the plan ensures OBSSR continues to fulfill its mission.


While it is widely accepted that behavioral and social factors account for approximately half of the premature deaths in the United States, understanding how these behavioral and social factors interact with biology and can be modified to improve health requires a robust and rigorous behavioral and social sciences research agenda. Recent scientific and technological advances in the biomedical, behavioral, and social sciences are generating massive amounts of information from the molecular and genetic levels to clinical and community outcomes. NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., wrote an editorial published today in Science Translational Medicine (http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/366/366ed14) that highlights some of the scientific and technological advances that are transforming the behavioral and social sciences.


OBSSR’s strategic priorities are to: improve the synergy of basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research; enhance and promote the research infrastructure, methods, and measures needed to support a more cumulative and integrated approach to behavioral and social sciences research; and facilitate the adoption of behavioral and social sciences research findings in health research and in practice.


To address these priorities and broader NIH efforts in the behavioral and social sciences, OBSSR will rely on four foundational processes:


·         Communicating behavioral and social sciences research findings

·         Coordinating behavioral and social sciences research programs across the NIH and integrating behavioral and social sciences research within the larger NIH research enterprise

·         Training the next generation of behavioral and social science researchers

·         Evaluating the impact of behavioral and social sciences research and addressing scientific policies that support this research


About the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR): The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), which is located in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of the Director (OD), Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, serves to stimulate the growth of the behavioral and social sciences at the NIH. Although social and behavioral research has a long funding history at the NIH, its vital importance to the NIH’s overall mission has never been more apparent. Behavioral and social factors are important contributors to health and illness and frequently interact with biological factors to influence health outcomes. They also represent critical avenues for treatment and prevention.


The OBSSR serves as the focal point for establishing NIH-wide goals and coordinating activities for research on the role of behavior in the etiology, course, prevention, and treatment of disease. In addition to integrating the development of NIH policies, goals, and objectives, the OBSSR serves as a liaison between the NIH intramural and extramural communities, other Federal agencies, academic and scientific societies, national voluntary health agencies, the biomedical research community, the media, and the general public on matters pertaining to behavioral and social sciences research.


About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.



NSF Proposal:  Prediction of and Resilience against Extreme Events (PREEVENTS)


Solicitation 16-562 (https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?WT.z_pims_id=504804&ods_key=nsf16562)


Full Proposal Window


·         August 1, 2016 - January 4, 2017

Track 1 (conferences): see proposal preparation instructions for further details

·         January 5, 2017 - January 4, 2018

·         January 5 - January 4, Annually Thereafter

Track 1 (conferences): see proposal preparation instructions for further details


Natural disasters cause thousands of deaths annually, and in 2013 alone caused over $130 billion in damage worldwide. There is clear societal need to better understand and mitigate the risks posed to the US by natural hazards, consistent with the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) “…to promote the progress of science [and] advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare....”


NSF and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) have long supported basic research in scientific and engineering disciplines necessary to understand natural hazards and extreme events, including through the Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES) program and multiple core programs in the GEO Directorate.  PREEVENTS is designed as a logical successor to Hazards SEES and is one element of the NSF-wide Risk and Resilience activity, which has the overarching goal of improving predictability and risk assessment, and increasing resilience, in order to reduce the impact of extreme events on our life, society, and economy.  PREEVENTS will provide an additional mechanism to support research and related activities that will improve our understanding of the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events in the geosciences.


PREEVENTS is focused on natural hazards and extreme events, and not on technological or deliberately human-caused hazards.  The PREEVENTS portfolio will include the potential for disciplinary and multidisciplinary research at all scales, particularly aimed at areas ripe for significant near- or medium-term advances.


PREEVENTS seeks projects that will (1) enhance understanding of the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events on various spatial and temporal scales, as well as the variability inherent in such hazards and events, and (2) improve our capability to model and forecast such hazards and events.  All projects requesting PREEVENTS support must be primarily focused on these two targets.  In addition, PREEVENTS projects will improve our understanding of the effects of natural hazards and extreme events and will enable development, with support by other programs and organizations, of new tools to enhance societal preparedness and resilience against such impacts.



Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) awards


The Research Grants Program Office in the UC Office of the President is pleased to issue a Request for Proposals (http://ucop.edu/research-initiatives/programs/crcc/request-for-proposals.html) for the Cancer Research Coordinating Committee (CRCC) awards for 2018. The CRCC is a systemwide, faculty-directed cancer research program that provides one-year seed grants for topics in any discipline that address any aspect of cancer, including its origins, prevention and cure. Currently, the CRCC awards grants to:


New UC faculty to initiate cancer research projects;

Established investigators in other areas of research to initiate cancer research projects;

Established cancer investigators to initiate cancer studies in new areas.


Here is the CRCC Request for Proposals for award year 2018: (http://research.ucr.edu/webdocs/vcr/misc/2017_CRCC_RFP_v_2016_12_07.pdf).  Proposals must be submitted by a member of the Academic Senate at one of the ten UC campuses who serves as the PI for the award. Note: A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required. Please refer to the attached RFP for funding priorities, eligibility, application guidelines and additional information.


Key Dates:


Applicant Teleconference (optional)*:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 10:00 AM (register here:  https://ucop.zoom.us/meeting/register/9b2262f5704acc6dd746f627e8486654)

Required Letters of Intent Due:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Notification of LOI Decision:

by Monday, February 6, 2017

Full Proposals Due:

Thursday, April 13, 2017


*The applicant teleconference is encouraged for new applicants and for previous applicants who are not familiar with proposalCENTRAL.


Additional Information:

For questions on program scope and priorities, please contact:  UCRI@ucop.edu

Administrative questions regarding the application process may be directed to: RGPOGrants@ucop.edu


Please check this website (http://ucop.edu/research-initiatives/programs/crcc/index.html) for any updates or announcements.




NIH Equipment Solicitations


The following two NIH solicitations are for high-end instrumentation and shared instrumentation.  Both have a deadline of May 31, 2017.  To be competitive, a team of researchers (at least 5 is a good size) already funded by NIH much demonstrate how it will advance their research.   If interested in applying or you want help putting a team together, please contact me.



High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Grant Program (S10)

Department of Health and Human Services

National Institutes of Health



The High-End Instrumentation (HEI) Grant Program encourages applications from groups of NIH-supported investigators to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, specialized, commercially available instruments or integrated systems that cost at least $600,001. The maximum award is $2,000,000. Types of instruments supported include, but are not limited to: X-ray diffraction systems, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometers, DNA and protein sequencers, biosensors, electron and confocal microscopes, cell-sorters, and biomedical imagers.




Shared Instrumentation Grant (SIG) Program (S10)

Department of Health and Human Services

National Institutes of Health



The Shared Instrument Grant (SIG) Program encourages applications from groups of NIH-supported investigators to purchase or upgrade a single item of expensive, specialized, commercially available instruments or integrated systems that cost at least $50,000. There is no maximum price requirement; however, the maximum award is $600,000. Types of instruments supported include, but are not limited to: X-ray diffractometers, mass and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers, DNA and protein sequencers, biosensors, electron and light microscopes, cell sorters, and biomedical imagers. 



Academic Research Funding Strategies: Research Development & Grant Writing News


The December issue of the Academic Research Funding Strategies newsletter is now available on the web at http://research.ucr.edu/OrApps/SP/Info/GrantWriting/GrantWritingNews.aspx. The index is below.  


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


December 2016


·         Topics of Interest URLs

·         Where is NSF Going in 2017?

·         New Models of Graduate Education at NSF

·         How to Get Blackballed by NSF

·         Planning Communications on Team Grants

·         NSF’s Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments

·         Red Teaming: Scalable and Adaptable (Reprint Volume 3, Issue 9:  6/2013)

·         Research Grant Writing Web Resources

·         Educational Grant Writing Web Resources

·         Agency Research News

·         Agency Reports, Workshops & Roadmaps

·         New Funding Opportunities

·         About Academic Research Funding Strategies



Proof of Concept Grants Upcoming Solicitation


UCR is getting ready for the next round of proof of concept grants for technology commercialization  to be awarded in Q1 of 2017.  Now managed by our EPIC program https://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/41119 and a $500,000 federal I6 grant https://www.eda.gov/news/press-releases/2016/11/15/ris.htm  the office of Technology Partnerships is adding new support to applicants and grant recipients to increase the probability that their projects be transferred to the private sector.


Some of the upcoming changes include, assignment of an experienced mentor to assist with technology commercialization planning, quarterly seminars and workshops on technology transfer and commercialization and increased opportunities to interact with investors, partners and sponsors to provide additional funding and connections. 


Our goal is to award 5-7 grants of $30,000-$50,000. Recipients will be selected by an external panel of experts and business executives.


If you are interested in applying for these grants, please send a 500 word or less Letter of Intent no later than January 20 20, 2017 to judy.swineford@ucr.edu with the following information:


Title of the Project

Key Team Members, affiliation and contact information.

Short description of the project and technology associated

What is the problem or market need that your technology is trying to solve?

Who do you think is the customer or licensee of the technology.

How will you use the funds?

Have you submitted a disclosure to the Office of Technology Commercialization (If yes, please add the number)


The most promising projects will be invited to prepare a short presentation to a panel of expert reviewers.


If you need further detail, please contact Larry.Morgan@ucr.edu



Hooded Merganser


The Hooded Merganser is the bird that got me interested in bird watching.  We lived on a small lake in New Jersey and they would stop over during the fall migration.  I was very happy to learn that a group stays at the pond in AgOps at UCR in the winter.  Here’s a photo with my new camera (purchased on Black Friday).




(click to enlarge)