Monthly Archives: April 2011

NSF multi-directorate program announcement: Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation

The NSF has announced a major new cyberinfrastructure initiative.  Details are here.  Proposal deadline is July 18. Background:

“Computation is accepted as the third pillar supporting innovation and discovery in science and engineering and is central to NSF’s vision of a Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) as described in http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10015/nsf10015.jsp). …

“In order to nurture, accelerate and sustain this critical mode of scientific progress, NSF has established the Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program, with the overarching goal of transforming innovations in research and education into sustained software resources that are an integral part of the cyberinfrastructure. SI2 is a long-term investment focused on catalyzing new thinking, paradigms, and practices in developing and using software to understand natural, human, and engineered systems. SI2‘s intent is to foster a pervasive cyberinfrastructure to help researchers address problems of unprecedented scale, complexity, resolution, and accuracy by integrating computation, data, networking, observations and experiments in novel ways. It is NSF’s expectation that SI2 investment will result in robust, reliable, usable and sustainable software infrastructure that is critical to achieving the CIF21 vision and will transform science and engineering while contributing to the education of next generation researchers and creators of future cyberinfrastructure.”

UNC-CH, Yankaskas reach settlement

UNC-CH has settled a case in which it was attempting to fire a faculty member over the the hacking of a cancer research database.  Dr. Bonnie Yankaskas has agreed to retire, and the university has agreed to restore her rank and salary, which were reduced in the wake of the hacking of her project’s database.  The UNC-CH campus newspaper reported this week that the settlement was announced last Friday.  In 2009, it was discovered that the personal information of some 180,000 patients and research subjects had been exposed when a hacker successfully attacked the database of the Carolina Mammography Registry. Yankaskas, as the PI on the project, was held responsible.  She contended that the security of her database wasn’t her responsibility.

New, higher F&A rates to go into effect July 1; PIs should use rate in effect on award date

The university has negotiated new overhead rates (also known as facilities and administration rates, or F&A) with the federal government.  Effective July 1 and running through June 30, 2014, the rates are 42.5 percent for on-campus research, instruction and other sponsored activity, and 26 percent for those activities off campus.

If the solicitation says the award will be made on or after July 1, use the new rate.  For awards to be made before July 1, use the old rate.

If there is no award date specified, use the new rate.  If a proposal is submitted with the new rate and the award comes in before July 1, the university will negotiate with the agency to adjust it to the former rate.

Multi-year awards will continue with the existing rate.  However, if the PI
must submit a proposal for continued funding, that proposal should have the new rate.

The current default rate in RAMSeS is 41 percent.  That will be changed to
42.5 percent, but PIs and the Office of Sponsored Programs have the ability to change the rate, as always.

For questions about the F&A rate, contact Sponsored Programs, 334-7995.

N.C. A&T again ranks 3rd in sponsored funding in UNC system’s annual report on research

The University of North Carolina system has issued its annual report on research at the 17 campuses.  Only two specific awards are highlighted in the report; one of them is A&T’s five-year, $5 million NASA grant for the Center for Aviation Safety (Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, PI).

A&T is ranked third in sponsored funding for the sixth straight year. The rankings of the system’s six doctoral universities:

  1. UNC-CH, $803 million, up 12% from FY09
  2. NCSU, $265 million, up 29%
  3. N.C. A&T, $60 million, up 4%
  4. ECU, $48 million, up 20%
  5. UNCG, $47 million, up 34%
  6. UNCC, $34 million, down 6%

Interesting detail: A&T’s position as No. 3 in funding comes despite ranking last among the six doctoral institutions in both number of proposals and awards.  That reflects the university’s emphasis on seeking bigger, higher impact projects.  A&T, of course, is also by far the smallest of the six in number of faculty, graduate enrollment and overall enrollment.

The entire report is here (PDF).

Thurgood Marshall College Fund deadlines

Faculty members who are advising or teaching students who could benefit from the various scholarships offered by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) should remind those students that deadlines are coming up on May 1 and 15 (deadlines for two scholarships have passed, but most are still open).  Deadlines, eligibility requirements and other specifics are on the TMCF website. The fund’s website lists nine different scholarship programs. Non-seniors who received TMCF scholarships for this year must re-apply to receive the scholarship again next year.  Applications are available from the university’s TMCF Scholarship Coordinator, William Mills in the Financial Aid Office (wmills on campus email, 334-7973).

TMCF supports students at 47 HBCUs in 22 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Thursday’s Research Appreciation Week agenda features Duke research dean, award winners

Thursday’s Faculty Research Day will feature two events of particular interest to researchers.  All faculty members — deans and department chairs in particular — are invited to a talk at 9 a.m. by a top research administrator at the Duke University School of Medicine.  Dr. Sally Kornbluth, the school’s vice dean for research, will speak on, “Managing research at the college/school level: Deans and chairs as enablers.”

Following Dr. Kornbluth’s talk, the three winners of the 2011 Research Excellence Awards — Dr. Millie Worku, Dr. Zhichao Li, and Dr. Ellie Fini — will give talks on their research.

All of the day’s events will take place at the Alumni-Foundation Event Center. The full schedule is here (PDF).

NSF, DOE launch photovoltaic cell initiative

The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy will jointly provide up to $39 million for research to improve photovoltaic cell performance and reduce module cost for grid-scale commercial applications. The agencies released a joint Funding Opportunity Announcement for the “Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency” last week to identify and fund solar device physics and PV technology research and development. Details are available here.