Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
University of Mississippi
Quotation Corner ~
The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.
FOCUS: So You Need to Travel for Research? the ORSP Can Help
Since the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs introduced its Faculty Travel Support (FTS) program in July 2003, FTS has provided nearly $160,000 in funding for more than 260 research-related trips by UM faculty members.
Although the ORSP had offered travel support in the past, there was a need to formalize the program to help faculty get where they need to go for professional development and research activities. As currently structured, the primary purpose of the program is to provide funds for UM faculty members to take part in development activities that will lead to new or extended research, scholarly, or creative work.
As might be expected, competition for FTS funding varies with the academic season. This past January, for example, only two applications were received; but in February, 21 faculty members applied for trips during the coming spring and summer months. Applications are reviewed monthly and are due by the 15th of the month preceding departure date. Funds are limited, of course, so the ORSP is usually not able to provide the full cost of a trip. Applicants are also required to be without external support related to the purpose of the travel when scheduled.
Dr. Maribeth Stolzenburg, who convenes the committee that reviews applications, says it’s hard to predict what the competition at each monthly deadline will be like. “Reviewers are looking for travel that will help the individual make progress in research, scholarship, or creative activity. This can take many forms, such as a visit to another institution or library for primary research; a visit to a funding agency to discuss a possible grant proposal; travel to a workshop to gain new skills; or even attendance at a conference to network and plan a new project with potential collaborators.”
Attendance and presentations at professional meetings and conferences are by far the most frequent objectives of travel support requests, but as Dr. Stolzenburg points out, the FTS program looks for active professional development efforts by the faculty applicant. “Every faculty member wants and needs to go to conferences,” she observes, “so there’s no way the ORSP can afford to help everyone with this basic professional activity. What represents a strong FTS application is one that details specific training opportunities, identifies current or potential collaborators the applicant will meet with, or mentions specific projects under development for proposals to external funding agencies.” The review committee is also inclined to help support travel for primary research (such as conducting interviews, collecting data or documentation, or examining original sources and special collections), especially for those areas of the university where external funding support is less available, Stolzenburg said.
Some interesting figures stand out in the statistics on Faculty Travel Support funding since the program began. Assistant Professors have been funded three times as often as Associate Professors and four times as often as full Professors, carrying out the program's focus on support for junior faculty. Support for international travel represents 27% of the total funding. The overall success rate of applications has been 85%, although many faculty members are not awarded the full amount of their request.
Revisions may be made to the guidelines or application form from time to time, but the ORSP expects to continue offering Faculty Travel Support for the next fiscal year. Increased competition means more stringent adherence to rules, so be sure to read the FTS guidelines carefully before you begin to write your justification and develop your budget for a travel request. Any questions about the program, the monthly deadline, or application and award procedures may be directed to Linda Sperath in the ORSP (phone 7482 or email Linda).
Answering your questions
Each month we answer a question from the faculty. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost share is really just “funny money,” right? Why does the university balk about putting cost sharing in proposals?
Let’s look at the big picture. The practice of cost sharing (sometimes called matching) dates back to the days when the federal government first began awarding grants for research purposes. The idea was that an institution gains a degree of “ownership” of a project when it’s willing to commit its own resources toward the accomplishment of the project. While there may be a modicum of truth in that, federal agencies now require cost share in only a few specific instances. If they don’t require cost share, why do we make such a fuss about not committing it? Because cost share is real money. It must be spent on the grant, tracked, and reported to the agency. It must meet the same criteria as any other grant funds — that is, it must:
- be verifiable from our accounting records;
- not be cost shared to any other federal grant;
- be necessary and reasonable for accomplishing the project;
- be allowable under OMB Circular A-21;
- not be paid from any other federal grant;
- be included in the approved project budget; and
- be incurred during the project period.
That’s easy enough to understand, but did you know that we also have to report cost share as an institutional resource when we negotiate our F&A rate with the federal government? That means it has the effect of increasing our research base and lowering our F&A rate. Some might think that’s a good thing, but F&A is how we pay for the infrastructure you’re not allowed to pay for from grant funds, but which you need in order to conduct your research.
A significant amount of cost sharing is done by UM. Sometimes it’s necessary and justified. But when it’s not required, we look really hard at why we’re being asked to divert precious resources unnecessarily.
Speaking of COS
COS Funding Alert Enhancements in the Works
COS is polishing up a set of enhancements to COS Funding Alert that will make it easier to use and more flexible. Soon users will be able to:
- save up to 20 separate alert searches;
- save COS Funding Opportunity searches as alert searches;
- receive weekly emails for only the searches you specify;
- more easily manage your Funding Alert preferences.
These improvements will become available within the next four to six weeks, so stay tuned.
Don't know about COS?
Check out our COS page, the January 2005 newsletter article, and/or the COS home page. COS is for all UM faculty in all academic disciplines and research areas.
Some Upcoming Events
Regional Case Study in Science Workshop ~ May 15-19, 2006
This workshop, to be held on our campus in the Biology Department, will be led by Dr. Kipp Herreid, a national expert on case study teaching and the director of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. There is no fee for the workshop, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the UM Provost's Office and organized by Dr. Tamar Goulet; lunches and an opening dinner are included. The workshop is limited to 40 participants from four states (MS, TN, AL, and GA), so anyone planning to attend should officially register for the workshop at www.olemiss.edu/courses/umcasestudy/index.html.
Social Capital Foundation Seminar on Social Fragility ~ June 26-28, 2006
The Social Capital Foundation invites all interested persons or organizations to present a paper at its upcoming international, interdisciplinary seminar on social fragility that will be held on June 16-18, 2006, at the American University in Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Additionally, the THRACE project (Targeting Human Research for Anchoring Cooperative Evolutions in Europe) supported by The Social Capital Foundation will be presented at the seminar. It is an investigation on how to use social capital to favor transborder cooperation in the border regions of Europe, and to elaborate appropriate tools for doing so. For more information please go to www.socialcapital-foundation.org/conferences/synopsis.htm.
Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg Summer Institute in Mental Health Research ~ July 5-14, 2006
The Department of Mental Health of the Bloomberg School of Public Health is offering its Annual Summer Institute in Mental Health Research. The Institute will focus on methodological and substantive topics of particular importance in mental health and drug use research. It is intended for professionals or students who are interested in research in: (a) the epidemiology of specific types of mental and behavioral disorders, (b) the implementation and evaluation of population mental health services, and/or (c) the measurement and statistical issues that commonly arise when studying mental health. For more information on courses and registration, go to www.jhsph.edu/dept/mh/summer_institute/.
Getting ROI on R&D: University Start-Ups National Showcase and Conference ~ October 22-24, 2006
The conference offers a national venue for the major players involved in start-up creation and funding to meet, discuss and network on best practices for partnering with universities, creating university-affiliated companies, and improving the national innovation economy. Four hundred attendees are expected, of which half will be angel investors and venture capitalists from around the country with an express interest in working with the nation's universities to help commercialize their R&D (including providing the seed capital). For more information please go to www.ncet2.org/.
A Few Program Announcements and Deadlines
US Army Research Office Broad Agency Announcement ~ Continuous through September 30
This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) sets forth the research areas of interest to the Army Research Office (ARO), which are: Mechanical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Electronics, Computing and Information Science, Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, and Materials Science. Specific topic areas falling under the general areas listed above can be found in the BAA announcement at www.arl.army.mil/main/main/default.cfm?Action=6&Page=8.
NSF Computational Science Training for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences ~ Deadlines June 27 and October 17
The goal of the National Science Foundation's Computational Science Training for Undergraduates in the Mathematical Sciences program is to enhance computational aspects of the education and training of undergraduate students in the mathematical sciences – mathematics and statistics – and to better prepare these students to pursue careers and graduate study in fields that require integrated strengths in computation and the mathematical sciences. It is expected that projects will strengthen the research and education capacity, infrastructure, and culture of the participating institutions. To this end, NSF welcomes projects that create models for education in the mathematical sciences and influence the direction of academic programs for a broad range of students. www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=13655&org=NSF&from=fund
Council for International Exchange of Scholars New Century Scholars Program ~ Deadline July 17
The Fulbright New Century Scholars Program provides an ideal vehicle for the kind of cross cultural and transnational examination that will contribute to a significant comparative analysis of access and equity issues. By bringing together a diverse group of scholars and educational leaders to address the topic in national and international settings, NCS will seek constructive ways for contemporary institutions to develop policies that will correspond to the challenge of ensuring equitable access within the framework of higher education in the 21st century.
Three themes related to the central topic of access and equity in higher education will be examined in depth:
(1) the cultural and societal norms that affect access and equity;
(2) the role of K-16 in limiting or advancing access to higher education;
(3) the resources and polices that provide greater access to higher education. www.cies.org/NCS/ncs_description.htm
Guggenheim Foundation Research for Understanding and Reducing Violence, Aggression and Dominance ~ Deadline August 1
The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation welcomes proposals from any of the natural and social
sciences and the humanities that promise to increase understanding of
the causes, manifestations, and control of violence, aggression, and
dominance. Highest priority is given to research that can increase
understanding and amelioration of urgent problems of violence,
aggression, and dominance in the modern world.
Particular questions that interest the foundation concern violence, aggression, and dominance in relation to social change; the socialization of children, intergroup conflict, drug trafficking and use, and family relationships; as well as the control of aggression and violence. www.hfg.org/rg/guidelines.htm
NIH and AHRQ Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy ~ Deadline October 13
The participating institutes, centers, and offices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) invite investigators to submit R01 research grant applications on health literacy. The goal of this program announcement (PA) is to increase scientific understanding of the nature of health literacy and its relationship to healthy behaviors, illness prevention and treatment, chronic disease management, health disparities, risk assessment of environmental factors, and health outcomes including mental and oral health. Increased scientific knowledge of interventions that can strengthen health literacy and improve the positive health impacts of communications between healthcare and public health professionals (including dentists, healthcare delivery organizations, and public health entities), and consumer or patient audiences that vary in health literacy is needed. Such knowledge will help enable healthcare and public health systems serve individuals and populations more effectively, and employ strategies that reduce health disparities in the population. grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-04-116.html
Find MORE on the ORSP Funding Opportunities Recent Announcements page
SEARCH using COS Funding Opportunities
Bits & Pieces
Faculty Travel Support Deadline for International Travel Eliminated
Now that international travel requests no longer require approval in Jackson, the advance deadline for international travel applications under the ORSP's Faculty Travel Support (FTS) program (see FOCUS feature above) has been eliminated. All FTS applications, whether for domestic or international trips, will now be due in the ORSP no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 15th of the month preceding departure. For more information, see the FTS guidelines and application form.
NIH Announces Interim Changes to PHS398 Application Form, Other Business Changes
The PHS398 has been revised to incorporate a number of business process changes that have been implemented since the publication of the 9/2004 revision. NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-06-056 describes the process and forms changes. Applicants should also review several other companion
announcements listed in the April 7, 2006 NIH Guide, found at grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/WeeklyIndex.cfm?WeekEnding=04-07-2006. UM PIs who may be planning an NIH application soon should be sure to use the newly revised PHS398 form package unless the program requires electronic submission (see next note).
NIH Electronic Submission Reminder
NIH applications for the R03, R21/R33 and R34 mechanisms must be submitted via the Grants.gov system for the June 1, 2006 deadline. If you have an interest in submitting to NIH using one of these mechanisms, please contact your Program Development Specialist in the ORSP immediately. The Grants.gov process has many different requirements from the PHS398 paper process; the earlier we begin preparing for Grants.gov submission, the smoother the process will go.
Change in Time of Submission/Receipt of NIH Electronic Grant Applications to Grants.gov
NIH has issued a Notice to inform applicants of a change in the time that electronic grant applications must be successfully received by Grants.gov ( http://www.grants.gov/) in order to be considered “on time.” Effective April 1, 2006, applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the submission date(s) described in a funding opportunity announcement. Please note that the Grants.gov timestamp will continue to be expressed in Eastern Time.
This change applies to ALL electronic grant applications submitted to NIH through Grants.gov, including those that have already changed to electronic submission by April 1, 2006 and those that are scheduled to do so in the future. The timeline for the transition of all competing grant mechanisms is available at era.nih.gov/ElectronicReceipt/strategy_timeline.htm.
Buying Equipment on Federal Grants
Before proceeding to purchase a piece of new equipment on a federal grant, a Non-Availability of Equipment Form (see www.research.olemiss.eduforms/index.html) must be completed and forwarded to the ORSP Contracts and Grants Accountant, 125 Old Chemistry, if:
the unit cost of the item is $5,000 or more;
the useful life is more than one year; and
the item is not expendable in nature or non-recoverable once used.
If the purchase of equipment was not identified in the original agency-approved budget:
- prior approval from the agency is required;
- a revised budget must be submitted to the ORSP; and
- a UM Prior Approval System for Federal Grants and Agreements (also at www.research.olemiss.eduforms/index.html) must also be submitted.
New Quest Research Magazine Now Online
The Winter 2006 issue of The University of Mississippi's research magazine, UM Quest, is now live on the ORSP website at www.research.olemiss.edupublications/umquest/2006/Winter/. The cover story, “Intruders in the Dust,” relates how a group of UM scientists are closing in on ways to effectively fight fire ants without pesticides. Also included are six other feature articles as well as short abstracts on research topics from around the university, descriptions of the latest books by UM authors and editors, and a message from Dr. Alice Clark, Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs.
Division of Research
:: FRP Symposia Slide Shows ~ Slide shows of photos from the Faculty Research Program's fall symposia (2003, 2004, and 2005) have been placed on the ORSP Events and Photos website page.
:: March Activity ~ Proposal Development Specialists Lesha Agnew and Mickey McLaurin processed 39 external funding proposals during March 2006.
Division of Research Integrity and Compliance
Online information and tools for those engaged in research with human subjects are being reorganized and updated ~ check out the new pages by starting at www.research.olemiss.educompliance/human/index.html.
Division of Sponsored Programs Administration
:: March Activity ~ SPA Division staff (Scottie Casey, Euphiazene Gray, Anita Randle, Linda Stone) processed 23 external funding awards during March 2006.
For complete information about the ORSP — mission, structure, services, responsibilities, and more — visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs page
Congratulations from the VCRSP
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs oversees funding for research, service,
education projects. These activities complement the fundamental aspects of The University of Mississippi’s mission and are among its most tangible contributions to the future. Funding for these activities is one of the best measures of a university’s success in engaging with national and international communities.
All of us who have sought funding to test our ideas know that it is difficult and that the communities to which we belong are highly competitive. That spirit of competition is critical and it contributes more than a little to the relief and excitement a researcher feels on receiving a funding award.
Listed below are our colleagues who have been notified of external funding awards in the last calendar month. Please join me in congratulating them. The news of their discoveries and the importance of their contributions are part of all of our futures and the future of Ole Miss.
Alice M. Clark, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs
||Center for the Study of Southern Culture
||National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering
||Office of Outreach and Continuing Education
||Office of Outreach and Continuing Education
||Office of the Dean of Education
||University of Mississippi Geoinformatics Center
||School of Law
||Sociology and Anthropology
||Physics and Astronomy
||National Center for Physical Acoustics
||Center for Educational Research and Evaluation
||Chemistry and Biochemistry
||Center for the Study of Southern Culture
March Proposals Submitted: 39
March Awards Received: 23 totaling $2,463,690
FY06 Year-to-Date Number of Active Sponsored Projects: 456
FY06 Year-to-Date Number of Active Investigators: 225