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Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below an to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Friday, October 20, 2017

NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program: Track-2 Funding Opportunity

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS 
for

This solicitation is now available and remains relatively unchanged from last year.   

Submission Deadlines:

Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):November 27, 2017
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):January 26, 2018

    The RII Track-2 FEC seeks to build inter-jurisdictional collaborative teams of EPSCoR investigators to participate in investigator-driven research in scientific focus areas consistent with NSF priorities. Projects must include researchers from at least two RII eligible EPSCoR jurisdictions who without the assistance of the other team and complementary resources would not be in a position to tackle the projects as well or rapidly alone.
    The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) research and education activities should include and integrate a variety of individuals, institutions, sectors and programs to broaden participation throughout the project. Proposals must reflect an integrated comprehensive vision to drive discovery and build sustainable STEM capacity that exemplifies individual, institutional, geographic, and disciplinary diversity with an emphasis on developing a diverse early-career faculty.

The topic for the FY 2018, RII Track-2 FEC proposals is Understanding the relationship between genome and phenome.

The full request for proposals with submission instructions can be downloaded as a PDF here:  




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

First Awards - Kansas NSF EPSCoR Funding Opportunity

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS 

for

    FIRST AWARDS

Related to the current Kansas NSF EPSCoR focus of
microbiomes as broadly construed to be in aquatic, plant and/or soil systems. 

A Research Program for Tenure Track
Faculty Early in their Careers

Submission Deadlines:

Letters of Intent Due by 5:00 pm on WEDNESDAY, November 8, 2017.
Proposals Due by 5:00 pm on TUESDAY, January 23, 2018.  

     Kansas NSF EPSCoR helps Kansas build its research capacity and competitiveness in science and technology.  The First Award Program helps early career faculty become competitive for funding from the research directorates at the National Science Foundation by encouraging early career faculty to submit proposals to the NSF (or other federal funding agency) as soon as possible after their first faculty appointment, and by accelerating the pace of their research and the quality of their subsequent proposals. First Awards are intended to be single‐investigator awards to support the PI’s research program at their institution.  The inclusion of Co‐PIs, other senior personnel and sub-awards to other institutions is prohibited.
     Individual tenure track faculty member who are currently untenured at the assistant professor rank at Kansas State University, University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State, University or Washburn University and meet the following criteria may apply:
  1. Is within the first three years of his/her faculty appointment,  
  2. Has not previously received a First Award or similar funding from another EPSCoR or EPSCoR‐like (Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence, COBRE) program in Kansas, and
  3. Is not currently nor has previously been a lead Principal Investigator of a research grant funded by a federal agency.
The full request for proposals with submission instructions can be downloaded as a PDF here:  




Education and outreach funding is provided by the Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006 titled: "Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of aquatic, plant and soil microbiome environments and ecological systems.




Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Kansas NSF EPSCoR receives 20 million dollar grant to survey and study aquatic, plant and soil microbiomes

University of Kansas and Kansas State University researchers using liquid nitrogen to freeze a core of stream sediment collected from Kings Creek at Konza Prairie Biological Station,
photo courtesy of Walter Dodds, Kansas State University
     Kansas is one of five states to receive a NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 (RII Track-1) award this year.  RII Track-1 awards provide up to $20 million total for 5 years to support improvements to physical and cyber infrastructure as well as human capital development in research areas selected by the jurisdiction's EPSCoR steering committee as having the best potential to improve future research and development (R&D) competitiveness of the jurisdiction. Furthermore, the project's research activities must align with the specific research priorities outlined in the jurisdiction's Science and Technology (S&T) Plan. The other recipients of the NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 awards for 2017 are Alabama, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming.
    The Kansas EPSCoR project titled, Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas (MAPS), involves the collaboration of researchers from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University and Fort Hays State University.  These researchers will work together to conduct surveys of plant, soil and aquatic microbiomes and then record their environmental characteristics. Because Kansas has large gradients in precipitation and agricultural land use, it is an ideal environment for studying these microbiomes.  Kristin Bowman-James, a KU distinguished professor of chemistry, Director for Kansas NSF EPSCoR and the principal investigator of the project explained “Studying these tiny living things can be critical to understanding several key issues for the state, including agricultural sustainability, water quality, greenhouse gases, plant productivity and soil fertility."
     The Kansas NSF EPSCoR research team will specifically focus on the plant, soil and aquatic microbiomes’ environmental characteristics as well as assess the ability of these microbiomes to influence crop production, soil condition and water quality. Major project goals involve the development of a mechanistic understanding of microbiome-mediated ecosystem functions; predicting ecosystem responses to changes in precipitation and land-use patterns; and identifying ways to select for and utilize microbiomes to produce desired characteristics.  Some of these desired characteristics could increase agricultural productivity or drought tolerance, determine efficient nutrient utilization, and enhance soil quality.
    In addition, the project team will seek to expand the workforce in microbial, plant, and soil science, genomics, bioinformatics and ecology with the intent to integrate the research into educational activities designed to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The educational goals of the project will encourage the participation of both urban and rural areas of mainstream, the economically disadvantaged, first-generation college students, Native Americans, and other under-represented groups culminating in an effort to expand the workforce in microbial, plant, and soil science, genomics, bioinformatics and ecology.

To read more about the project and the award go to:



Education and outreach funding is provided by the Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006 titled: "Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems across Kansas."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of aquatic, plant and soil microbiome environments and ecological systems.

Researchers from across the state meet to strategically plan for the implementation of the research initiatives of the MAPS NSF EPSCoR Track-1 Award

   
The MAPS Strategic Planning Team
     The Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems (MAPS) across Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 principal investigators and team leaders met on September 25-26, 2017 to outline a strategic plan for meeting the goals and objectives of the proposed research for the project.  Faculty from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University and Haskell Indian Nations University collaborated to create a strategic approach to test hypotheses, collect and store data, identify outcomes and disseminate information through education and community outreach efforts. Two National Science Foundation program officers, Andy Ogram and Tim VanReken, joined the conversations to provide guidance and suggestions.  Laura Leff, from Kent State University, also attended as a member of the MAPS Science Advisory Committee sharing her expertise and insightful observations with the team. John Riordan, from Cindy Zook Associates, facilitated the process and discussions.
     The MAPS project will utilize fundamental microbiome research to determine how microbiomes, e.g., MAPS, can enhance productivity, mitigate environmental problems in agricultural-dominated landscapes, and conserve native grasslands and their ecosystem functions.  The steep precipitation gradient across the state and the importance of agriculture makes Kansas an outstanding outdoor laboratory for testing hypotheses related to the impacts of precipitation on microbial processes.  The project's study of the interconnected nature of the soil, plant, and aquatic microbiomes makes it unique and potentially transformative. MAPS includes education and outreach initiatives focusing on microbiome science that extends from K-12 students and teachers to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members at tribal colleges and four year institutions, including a Haskell-based summer internship program (HERS).

Education, outreach, awards and meetings funding is provided by the Kansas NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 Award OIA-1656006 titled: Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soil Systems (MAPS)  The awards educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.