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Upcoming Event

Collaborative Collision: Mental Health & Well-being

Collaborative Collisions are interdisciplinary networking events for FSU researchers. These events allow researchers from all disciplines to come together to discuss possible collaborations. The goal of all Collaborative Collision events is to provide an atmosphere that promotes discussions about research expertise and individual/departmental contributions. This particular event is geared towards FSU faculty working on, or interested in, projects related to mental health and well-being. The event takes place on April 10th, 2018 from 10am to 12pm. Please register for the event on the event page. Registered participants are asked to fill out introductory slides using the template provided on the event webpage by April 5th at 5pm and email them to Mike Mitchell (

Time to start thinking about the NSF CAREER program

It's NSF CAREER time again! 

As you may know, OPD assists faculty with all sorts of proposals.  While we are always happy to assist with any proposal, we provide particular focus on the NSF CAREER program during the spring semester, and up until its deadline in July.  We do this for several reasons.  First, it is a unique opportunity for new faculty. NSF CAREER awards provide five consecutive years of consistent and stable funding, and allows faculty member to focus on  research and its integration with teaching.  Secondly, the number of CAREER award recipients at the University is monitored in a number of national data bases. As such, these awards significantly enhance FSU’s reputational standing in the broader community thereby contributing to our Top 25 effort. 

If you are in a research area that is funded by the NSF, I hope you will consider applying.  Usually faculty apply in their second year, though there are exceptions on both sides.  You don't want to wait too long in your career because the CAREER program allows faculty three attempts which much be done prior to tenure.  Wait too late, and you lose an opportunity.  If you are undecided about applying, please note that FSU provides a $5,000 increase to the 9-month base salary of any faculty member who receives an NSF CAREER award. Another good reason to consider this program.

We have many ways we assist those applying, including a kickoff workshop which will be happening in March.  Additional details and registration can be found at .  Also, please check out our CAREER toolkit for additional information.  You can find that at . 

Questions?  Reach out to OPD staff anytime.   

Upcoming Research Networking Event: Educational, Justice, and Health-Related Challenges facing Underserved Populations

This event will be held on Friday morning Feb. 23rd, 2018 at 8:30 – 11:00 AM at the Student Services Building, Room 203.  The purpose of this event is to provide faculty who have a research interest in educational, justice, and/or health-related challenges facing underserved populations the opportunity to share their research interests with one another, find potential research partners, and identify funding opportunities they may want to pursue collaboratively.  We are capping this event at 50, so if you are interested, be sure to register ASAP!  Go to our site to register.



NIH Regional Seminar 2017

If you haven't been to a NIH Regional Seminar before, you are missing out! 

The seminar held last week in Baltimore, MA was super informative and exciting!  Researchers and research administrators attending the event were able to ask their questions and learn from approximately 65 NIH and HHS staff.  These staff members consisted of NIH policy officials, grants management, program and review staff, and representatives from the HHS Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), and the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG). 

The goal of the NIH regional seminar is to 1) demystify the application and review process, 2) clarify federal regulations and policies, and  3) highlight current areas of special interest or concern.  Topics ranged from general grant writing tips to an in-depth peer review mock study section.  Critical information on NIH policy updates were provided for clinical trials, including the revised proposal section on scientific premise and goals to reduce sex bias in cell and animal research with changes to prior standards for rigor & reproducibility

The best part of the conference by far, other than the hotel providing coffee this year, was the option to meet one-on-one with NIH and HHS staff.  The conference provided an area with small tables with two chairs to allow a sort of speed dating environment between attendees and presenters.  Attendees had an opportunity to sign up to meet for 15 minutes with a long list of diverse and experienced NIH and HHS staff members.  These one-on-one conversations were invaluable to me, and would be highly beneficial for any junior faculty!

 The next regional seminar will be held in May of 2018 in Washington, DC.  I hope you will consider attending this event!  Also, don't forget to check out the FSU internal program (Funding Agency Travel Program) to assist Faculty with travel for meeting with program officers. 

Fall 2017 National Science Foundation Grants- Virtual Conference

Experience the Fall 2017 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants Conference virtually.  The upcoming conference in Phoenix, AZ on Nov. 13-14 will be webcast live to the research community.

Topics will include NSF's purpose/mandate/organizational structure, funding opportunities, how and when to prepare a proposal, the merit review process, award management, policy updates, the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Inspector General, the CAREER program, and international research.  Don't miss out on this valuable opportunity!

Click here to register.  Check out the complete agenda here.

For successful virtual participation, verify the system requirements below prior the beginning of the conference.

    • Most recent version of Google Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge, or Safari
    • Operating system: Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.7 +, or Ubuntu 10 +
    • Internet connection with 1 + Mbps
    • It can help to close other tabs, browsers, and programs while streaming the live webcast.  It also may help to hardwire your Internet connection, instead of using a wireless network connection.

On the Importance of Time Management

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since coming over to academia from government, it’s that faculty are “very busy” nearly all of the time. So much so that it’s almost become a running joke with me, and I routinely have to prepare myself for the answer of “I’d love to, but I’m very busy right now” when asking faculty if they are interested in a certain funding opportunity, or inviting them to workshops.

Of course that’s not to say that they aren’t actually busy. Between classes, committees, research, grant applications, publications, and that little thing called their own lives, it’s a wonder that faculty are able to accomplish anything at all. I believe that the secret to success lies in good time management skills. Without being able to effectively manage time, the life of a faculty member would be nearly impossible. Especially when trying to fit time for writing in with everything else.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of advice and resources out there for those of us who struggle with this. Perhaps as a graduate student you read one of the over 1,700 “dissertation writing” guides available on Amazon. Or maybe you’ve recently checked out one of OPD’s grant writing manuals. Or maybe you regularly follow the Chronicle of Higher Education and saw their recent article on “How to Make Time for Research and Writing”. Or maybe you just talk to colleagues and mentors.

No matter where you turn for time management help, the recurring theme you’re likely to run into is the distinct lack of a common theme. Everyone’s advice is different, and that’s because this is one of those things that is highly specific to individuals. What works for you is likely not going to be what works for me, and vice versa. The important thing is to discover what that routine or method is, and then stick with it. And of course, ask for help if needed.

Broader Impacts

Broader Impacts

Many of you, especially those who have worked with the National Science Foundation, may be familiar with the term “Broader Impacts”. Since 1997, all NSF proposals are evaluated based upon two merit review criteria: 1. Intellectual Merit, or the potential contributions to the scientific field and 2. Broader Impacts, or the potential contributions to society. It’s important to note that while NSF is widely viewed as being only interested in the advancement of science, this is a common misconception. Reviewers are instructed to consider both criteria, and we at OPD have seen many a proposal rejected due to a lack of attention to the broader impacts.

A very common question though is what are broader impacts? Many PI’s have difficulty making the connection between their scientific research and the impact that it can have on society. Often times faculty fall back on rather basic education and outreach plans, or maybe describe a potential commercial application of their research. Worse, some faculty develop “canned” or “boilerplate” broader impacts plans, and recycle them for nearly every proposal. According to NSF:

“Broader impacts may be accomplished through the research itself, through the activities that are directly related to specific research projects, or through activities that are supported by, but are complementary to the project. NSF values the advancement of scientific knowledge and activities that contribute to the achievement of societally relevant outcomes. Such outcomes include, but are not limited to: full participation of women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); improved STEM education and educator development at any level; increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology; improved well-being of individuals in society; development of a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce; increased partnerships between academia, industry, and others; improved national security; increased economic competitiveness of the United States; and enhanced infrastructure for research and education.”

It’s also really important that we take a step back and consider why broader impacts matter. Keep in mind that every dollar that comes to you from NSF (or any federal agency) are taxpayer dollars. We, as a society, have determined that our collective interests will be served by providing funding for scientific research. So we invest billions of dollars every year in order to enable the United States to be a leader in scientific research.

However, if the public does not readily see the value in scientific research it undermines the belief that science benefits us all. This has become increasingly prevalent in the last two decades, to the point that a large percentage of the American public now supports massive cuts to research budgets. The remedy to this is broader impacts activities. It is imperative that modern researchers spend time to communicate the value of their work, and the impact that it has on the everyday American. It is no longer enough to stay in a lab or office and analyze data and write papers. Researchers must make a concerted effort to describe how the research they are conducting (which might as well be magic to some) is both relevant and beneficial to society.

One of the challenges in doing this is having the right connections, and knowing where to start. In order to help FSU faculty with this, OPD recently held the first annual Broader Impacts Fair to bring together groups from around Tallahassee, and at FSU, who may be able to help faculty with broader impacts activities. Nearly twenty groups with a wide array of specialties attended, and have offered to partner with FSU faculty wherever possible.

For more information check out OPD.FSU.EDU/BroaderImpacts


New NSF CAREER Resource Available!

For all of our NSF CAREER proposal writers: OPD has purchased access to a great webinar by the folks at Academic Research Funding Strategies. You might recognize them as the writers of the monthly Research and Grant Writing Newsletter, and the New Faculty Guide to Competing for Research Funding.

This webinar is entitled How to Write Successful NSF CAREER Proposals. I HIGHLY recommend taking a look, these guys put out a really good product and are used by many universities across the country.

Details for accessing the webinar recording can be found on the NSF CAREER Toolkit, or by contacting me directly (can’t post it on an open website - sorry!). Good luck and happy finals week!

Establishing and Managing Interdisciplinary Research Teams Panel Discussion

A few weeks ago, the College of Education hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Establishing and Managing Interdisciplinary Research Teams”. For those who missed it, it was very good and included an excellent panel of faculty members including Feng Feng Ke from Education, Neil Charness from Psychology, Rick Feiock from Public Administration and Policy and Gail Bellamy from Medicine. Below are the questions presented, and a summary of the advice given.

Question 1: How do you identify and recruit research team members from other disciplines?

• Establish trust through networks • Build relationships now, before the RFP comes out • Your students can help you with connections as they have peers working with other faculty • Look at the project, figure out what you need to get accomplished

Question 2: And how do you recruit external partners?

• Get involved with community organizations and government agency working groups • Immerse yourself in activities—interdisciplinary and with other institutes • Present your work through organizations. Be brave. Look up experts and contact them.

Question 3: How do you delegate tasks to team members during the grant proposal preparation process?

• As PI, lead the writing, create a draft, know the others’ language/lingo • You must lead, don’t just delegate—and make sure the proposal is written in a single voice • Get together, in person if possible. Build rapport • Try using “round robin writing” • Everything slips (timing wise). Make sure you have a buffer in your timeline.

Question 4: How do you keep team members on task as the research is being conducted?

• Regular meetings. Tasks and Milestones set. • Much reminding • Don’t just meet to meet. Show progress reports (peer pressure. Make sure everyone’s bosses are aware of the success of the project • Have hierarchies of command on big projects.
• Don’t let your teams fall apart. Have events to keep the group cohesive.

Question 5: What if they don’t behave?

• Confront your colleagues • If you have to, be prepared to cut out a node. • This is why you need to know people well BEFORE you ask them to be on your team. • Intervention – control the purse strings. • Budget for backup personnel if possible. You might be able to even use an advisory board member or a great grad student to fill the gap.

Question 6: How do you share information and documents among researchers?

• Email • Remember, you will need to communicate in the way the least tech literate person can work • Try to work with tech savvy people • Hire a student to take meeting minutes or get someone to take notes.

Final tips:

• Make sure your project is sustainable. Don’t collaborate with an outside entity and leave them hanging when the project ends. • Be responsible. Do reading in others’ areas. Make the effort. • Create small projects to bring people together before the big projects come along.

Interested in learning more? Check out the video at:

DOD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI)

Since last November, one of the things we’ve been telling researchers is to look beyond their normal avenues of funding for other possibilities. As it seems we will be dealing with lower federal research budgets (significantly so for some agencies), it is more important than ever for a researcher to diversify their funding portfolio.

One of the agencies we’ve been recommending faculty look at is the Department of Defense. While the stereotype of DOD is that they only fund research to make explosions bigger and jet fighters faster, the reality is that DOD has a broad research agenda covering everything from physics, engineering, and medicine to economics, communications, and social sciences. Nowhere is this more evident than in the annual DOD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) program.

MURI is a broad funding opportunity consisting of 24 different topic areas, most eligible for a maximum award of $1.5 million per year for 4-6 investigators. As the M in MURI implies, these are expected to be multidisciplinary teams, with faculty from a few different departments.

Over the last few weeks OPD and the Office of Research have been contacting those that we thought might have an interest, but anyone who is interested in leading or being part of a MURI team is encouraged to sign up on OPD’s FOCUS webpage.

The list of MURI topics is as follows:

Army Research Office Topic 1: Integrated Quantum Sensing and Control for High Fidelity Qubit Operations Topic 2: Novel solid- state materials and color centers for quantum science and engineering Topic 3: Controlling Protein Function Using Dynamic Chemical Switches to Modulate Structure Topic 4: Consolidation of Novel Materials and Macrostructures from a Dusty Plasma Topic 5: Embodied Learning and Control Topic 6: Coevolution of Neural, Cognitive, & Social Networks: Mind-Body-Community Connections Topic 7: Network Games Topic 8: Modeling Interdependence among Natural Systems and Human Population Dynamics

Air Force Office of Scientific Research Topic 9: Physically Viable Learning for Control of Autonomous Dynamical Systems Topic 10: Nanoscale Vacuum Field Effect Transistors Topic 11: Molecular-scale Studies of Liquid-Solid Interfaces in Electrochemical Processes Topic 12: Electromagnetic Non-reciprocity via Temporal Modulation Topic 13: Heterogeneous Interfaces: Route to New Optoelectronic Properties Topic 14: Piezoelectric Nanoenergetic Materials with Adaptable and Tailorable Reactivity Topic 15: Advanced Mean-Field Game Theory for Complex Physical & Socio-Economical Systems Topic 16: β-Ga2O3 as a High-Critical Field Strength Material for Power Systems

Office of Naval Research Topic 17: Predicting and Validating Pathways for Chemical Synthesis Topic 18: Synthetic Microbial Electronics Topic 19: Automated Technical Document Comprehension Topic 20: Materials for Smart Multifunctional Superstructures [(MS)2] Topic 21: Advanced Optical Materials that Create Force from Light Topic 22: In situ Microstructural and Defect Evolution below the Micron Scale in as-Deposited Metal Alloys Topic 23: Enhancing Thermal Transport at Material Interfaces Topic 24: Self-Assessment of Proficiency for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems