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 and to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NSF EPSCoR announces new funding opportunity for non-tenured faculty: EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track 4 "EPSCoR Research Fellows"

     EPSCoR Research Fellows (RII Track-4) is the fourth track within our EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program and is designed to provide non-tenured investigators opportunities to further develop their research potential through collaborative visits to the nation’s premier private, governmental, or academic research centers.  EPSCoR Research Fellows will be able to learn new techniques, access unique equipment and facilities, and explore transforming their research in new directions.  In addition, the experience is intended to establish a foundation for future research collaborations to span the recipient’s entire career, as well as enhance the research capacity of their institutions and jurisdictions.

Eligibility and assistance information: 
  • PIs for all RII Track-4 proposals must hold a non-tenured faculty appointment or its close equivalent, either in the form of a pre-tenure tenure-track position or a long-term non-tenure-track position. 
  • There is a limit of three proposal submissions per eligible institution.
  • Informational webinars for RII Track-4 are planned 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 29, 2016 and November 30, 2016
  • Additional guidelines
  • Full details for RII Track-4 are available in the solicitation, NSF 17-509. 

Proposals are due February 28, 2017.  

Research administrators and potential PIs at EPSCoR-eligible institutions are encouraged to participate on one of the listed webinars; further details for webinar access will follow soon.

The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. A jurisdiction is eligible to participate in EPSCoR programs if its level of NSF research support is equal to or less than 0.75 percent of the total NSF research and related activities budget for the most recent three-year period (FY 2016 Eligibility Table). Through this program, NSF establishes partnerships with government, higher education, and industry that are designed to effect sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction's research infrastructure, Research and Development (R&D) capacity, and hence, its R&D competitiveness.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kansas EPSCoR Researcher featured in KSU News Release

Bret Flanders in  KSU Nanowire Lab
Source: KSU News Media
     Dr. Bret Flanders, Associate Professor of Physics at Kansas State University (KSU) and part of the Kansas and Nebraska Track 2: Collaborative Research: Imaging and controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures has been creating gold nanowires for the other physicists and chemists involved with the grant. One of Dr. Flanders’ EPSCoR research contribution is to create and supply nanowires to be used for experiments in both Kansas and Nebraska that involve electronic transfer.  This research was briefly discussed in an earlier Blog Post, Manhattan High School Student Explores Growing Nanowires. However, a new usage of his gold nanowires has emerged and these nanowires are now being used in a novel device, developed by KSU researchers, that could play an important role "during electrode and organ transplant procedures." The device uses Dr. Flanders' gold nanowires to manipulate and sense characteristics of individual cells.
Topographical Image of Gold Nanowire
Source: Nanotechnology 18 (2007) 175707
     These gold nanowires are 1,000 times smaller than a human hair with a diameter of less than 100 nanometers (cells in hair are about 10-20 micrometers in diameter, while red blood cells measure about 7 micrometers).  The Kansas State University article Growing gold: Researchers develop gold nanowires for biomedical procedures provides a more detailed explanation of the nanowire growth processes as well possible benefits the nanowires can contribute to the biomedical community.
   For more information about Dr. Flanders' gold nanowires and their biomedical research impacts, go to the KSU News article: Growing gold: Researchers develop gold nanowires for biomedical procedures.  The growing nanowire research has also been published in the journals Applied Physics Letters as well as Nanotechnology, and has been presented at meetings of the Materials Research Society and the American Physical Society.

The patent for the device was issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative Issue a Challenge


Generation Nano:  Small Science, Superheroes

   The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) are excited to continue Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes! This competition asks high school students to choose a societal area to focus on and then design nanotechnology-enabled gear for an original superhero.
   Students can envision gear that is grounded in current research but not yet possible, allowing them to learn about the potentials and limitations of real-world nanotechnology. Students will first identify one societal mission from a list of four to address and then submit an entry with three parts: a written section, a short comic strip and a video. 

Contest Details: 
  • Who: A competition for high school students -- individuals or teams of two or three
  • What: A written entry, a 90-second video and a 2-3 page comic strip introducing the superhero and the student's nanotechnology-enabled mission.
  • When: Competition opens Oct. 5, 2016; Submissions are due by Jan. 31, 2017, 11:59 p.m. EST
  • Where: Learn more and submit entry at www.nsf.gov/GenNano
  • Why: To promote early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Contact the Generation Nano team at gennano@nsf.gov.
Follow the Competition at #GenNano 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kansas State University Distinguished Professor of Physics Creates a Unique Research Opportunity for Fort Hays State University Professor and Students

  As part of the Kansas NSF EPSCoR Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures Track 2 Grant's Education, Outreach and Diversity Small College Research Initiative, Dr. Itzik Ben-Itzhak, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Kansas State University (KSU), invited  Dr. Jack Maseberg, Associate Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University (FHSU), to participate in a research collaboration.  The purpose of this initiative is to encourage grant participants to work with small college faculty across the state to advance their career development, strengthen their curriculum and facilitate hands-on research opportunities for their students.
Equipment used in the Collaborative Experiments
  Last April, Dr. Maseberg and some of his students traveled to the KSU campus to conduct unique Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics experiments at the KSU James R. Macdonald Laboratory (JMR) with Dr. Ben-Izak's research team. According to Dr. Maseberg, "this research collaboration involved designing and performing an experiment to measure the Doppler-free kinetic energy release spectrum of diatomic molecules dissociated by double ionization (using either ultra-fast laser pulses or bunched charged-particle beams)." This specific project was chosen because it was a relatively simple experiment that could be easily understood by any undergraduate physics student. Dr. Maseberg stated that it was particularly beneficial for his students to be "able to visit the JMR Lab and be involved in experiment design, construction, data collection, and data analysis." In addition, his students were exposed to equipment and tools not available at FHSU, and they were able to participate in AMO research that would normally be outside of the scope and capabilities of the FHSU Physics Department.

Sam Devore, Summer AMO REU student
   As an unexpected favorable outcome of this collaboration, one of Dr. Maseberg's students who visited the lab in the spring, Sam Devore, applied and was accepted to continue work with Dr. Ben-Itzak as a participant in the KSU AMO Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. After his spring visit, Sam gave a 50-minute public talk to the FHSU Physics Department discussing the initial experiments and the preliminary results. This presentation exposed the FHSU student body to the KSU Physics Department's AMO research possibilities, and encouraged FHSU students to explore future undergraduate and graduate research opportunities at KSU.  Sam will be giving another talk summarizing his entire experience just prior to his graduation in the spring of 2017 as part of his FHSU Physics Senior Seminar.
   Dr. Maseberg commented that this outreach initiative was of great benefit to him and his students. Specifically, it taught his students how to collect data on site and then process it remotely at their home campus. In addition, it exposed his students to the culture and benefits of collaborative physics research. As for his benefit from participating in the initiative, Dr. Maseberg he added, the ultimate goal of the collaboration for him "is to eventually publish the joint findings in a peer-reviewed journal article."

Funding for this Collaborative Research Experience was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The Grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce and prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Hosts the 2016 Kansas and Nebraska Track 2 Review

Kansas and Nebraska 2016 Review
   Researchers participating in the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCOR Track 2 Collaborative Research: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules and Nanostructures met in Lincoln Nebraska on September 12, 2016 to discuss their progress and present their accomplishments from year 2 to a grant review panel. Members of the review team included, Dr. Louis DiMauro from Ohio State University; Dr. Mark Stockman from Georgia State University; Dr. Tamar Seideman from Northwestern University as well as an evaluation expert, Dr. Cindy Dunn from the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation at Kansas State University. The evaluation process involved questioning, challenging and providing feedback to the researchers as well as examining the scientific progress each team had made since the last review on May 27, 2015.
The panel questions team members
   Dr. Anthony Starace began the day by presenting a general overview of the accomplishments the AMO teams had made over the last year.  Then, Dr. Itzik Ben-Itzhak, (KSU) and Dr. Martin Centurion (UNL) discussed their team's scientific progress related to the Thrust 1 research initiative: Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms and Molecules. Following the Thrust 1 presentationDr. Herman Batelaan, (UNL) and Dr. Carlos Trallero (KSU) presented their scientific progress as it related to the Thrust 2 research initiative: Ultrafast Electron Control by Light in Nanostructures.  The morning session concluded with a presentation by the Education, Outreach and Diversity Coordinators, Lindsey Moore (UNL) and Rosemary Blum (KU) showcasing the grant's successful collaborative educational programs as well as the positive impact the programs have had on K-12 students and teachers, undergraduate researchers and small college faculty.
Students explain their research at the Poster Session
   Following a luncheon that encouraged panel members and participants to conduct round table discussions, 35 Students from both states presented their grant funded research at the afternoon Poster Session. The days events concluded with the review panel traveling to campus and touring the University of Nebraska Extreme Light Laboratory.
Review panel tours the UNL Extreme Light Laboratory
   On the following day, September 13, 2016, the review panel met with the Thrust Team Leaders and EPSCoR representatives to provide their feedback. The review team was very impressed with the research and the results accomplished by the collaborative team during year two. They were also very supportive of the teams' AMO investigations and outreach programs and encouraged the researchers to inquire about additional funding so that the work could continue beyond the scope of this grant.

Funding for this research was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."