Congratulations to Doug Kessler on Lifetime Achievement Award

Doug Keszler

Doug Kessler showing a thin film.

Doug Kessler is a renowned Materials Chemist who recently retired from Oregon State University. The College of Science awarded Doug a Lifetime Achievement in Science Award.

I had the pleasure of working with him in his NSF funded Center for Chemical Innovation, the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC).  He’s moved on to working in his companies and helping a new biomaterials center get launched.

Congratulations, Doug on both your award and your retirement.



Guidance on data management plans


The Division of Chemistry (CHE) offers the following guidance for CHE investigators to consider when developing required Data Management Plans (DMPs) for their proposal submissions. This document is a supplement to the data management plan requirements summarized in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG)1, and has been developed to aid Principal Investigators (PIs) in Chemistry in developing effective, complete, and competitive DMPs. It is important to recognize that while all DMPs should address the five categories of information specified in the PAPPG, they should not be generic. Each DMP should be appropriate for the particular set of data, metadata, samples, software, curricula, documentation, publications, and other materials generated in the course of the proposed research. DMPs should reflect best practices and standards for the proposed research and types of data being generated, whether experimental, computational, or text-based. DMPs are subject to peer review. Please contact a CHE Program Officer if you have any questions related to DMPs in the program context. For more information on the history of the DMP requirement, and NSF’s expectations for the dissemination and sharing of research results, see this document’s appendix.

For more information see the Chemistry Newsletter, NSF17113


All proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled “Data Management Plan,” as described in the PAPPG Part I Section II.C.2.j. Any specific instructions and exceptions to the two-page limit will be found in specific Program Solicitations. A proposal without a supplementary DMP will not be accepted. A valid DMP may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, provided that the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. If proposers feel that the DMP cannot fit within the 2-page limit, they may also use part of the 15-page Project Description for additional data management information.

  • Any costs associated with implementing the DMP should be explained in the Budget Justification.
  • The DMP will be reviewed as an integral part of the proposal, considered under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for relevance to the scientific community.

CHE-supported research covers a broad spectrum of communities of investigators, and each community has its own best practices. CHE is aware of the need to provide flexibility to reviewers and Programs in assessing the quality of individual DMPs. The standards for DMPs are evolving to accommodate changing standards and expectations, and CHE relies on the merit review process to determine which DMPs best serve each community. CHE will continually revise this Advice document accordingly.

The DMP should clearly articulate how the investigators plan to manage and disseminate data generated by the project, taking advantage of emerging information technologies and cyberinfrastructure. The plan must include sufficient detail for evaluation of its appropriateness and feasibility during merit review. DMPs often include existing practices of the principal investigator’s laboratory and the larger research community. CHE strongly encourages innovation that, where appropriate and practical, enables efficient and effective data sharing and management to stimulate and promote scientific advances.

Confused about NIH renewals vs resubmissions?

Reposted from NIH OER Communication (22 April 2019)

Dr. Harold A. Scheraga at Cornell University holds one of the longest running R01 awards. In 2018, Dr. Gia Maisuradze and Dr. Shalom R Rackovsky joined Dr. Scheraga as multiple-PD/PIs on his grant titled Internal Bonding of Proteins. The most recent competing segment has a grant number of 2 R01 GM014312 62A1. There are two things of note in that grant number. First, it is in its 62nd year – that is an impressive run of funding by any measure. Second, it was the resubmission (A1) application that was funded, not the original renewal. Sometimes an application just needs some tweaking and, after addressing reviewer feedback, the subsequent resubmission application receives a favorable funding decision. It happens at all stages of a career – from a new investigator’s first application to renewals for our most distinguished investigators with long funding histories. With that in mind, it’s important to understand the resubmission rules.

Here are the basics …

  • Only a single resubmission (A1) of a competing newrevision or renewal application (A0) will be accepted.
  • Following an unsuccessful resubmission (A1) application, applicants may submit the same idea as a new(A0) application for the next appropriate new application due date (see NOT-OD-18-197 for exceptions).
  • Resubmissions (A1s) must be submitted within 37 months of the last competing newrevision, or renewal(A0) application.

Where folks seem to get a little confused is when dealing with the steps following an unfunded resubmission.

If your resubmission of a new application is not awarded, you can try again as a new application. Remember, not to mention your previous submission or reviewer feedback anywhere in your application – not even the cover letter. By all means, make any changes necessary to address reviewer feedback and strengthen your application, just don’t explicitly point out what you changed or why. When you submit your new application, it will be treated like we’ve never seen it before – fresh application number and no comparisons to previous submissions.

Now, here is the tricky-bit. If your resubmission of a renewal application is not awarded, then you must come back in as a new application on a due date for new applications. You get the original renewal application (A0) and the single resubmission of the renewal (A1) and that is it. If neither application is awarded, you lose continuity with your previous award. Your new application can talk about your preliminary data and publications, but don’t frame it as your accomplishments on your specific aims or your productivity under the past award. Your new application must not include a Progress Report or Progress Report Publication List or mention that it follows your resubmission of a renewal.

Thankfully, Dr. Scheraga and his colleagues did not have to face this reality, but had their resubmissionapplication not received funding, their next award would have been under a different grant number and in year 1, not 62.

For more information on this topic, check out our Resubmission Applications page.

Did you notice more notices?

You might have noticed an increased use of Guide notices, rather than full program announcements to alert the community of specific research topics of interest. This is not a new concept. Some NIH Institutes/Centers (ICs) have been using this approach for many years. We are just formalizing it a bit and expanding its use across all ICs. We even gave these notices a proper name – “Notices of Special Interest.”

Let’s face it, NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) are not “pithy.” It’s not surprising given the amount of information covered in them. But apart from indicating a specific research topic, many aspects of program announcements are the same from one FOA to the next, especially when it comes to the logistics and expectations for submitting and administering an application.

Notices of Special Interest highlight areas of scientific interest and point to existing active FOAs (often parent announcements) for the submission logistics. This allows the ICs writing the notices and the applicants using them to really focus on the unique aspects of the opportunity.

The process for submitting an application remains the same. You complete the application form package associated with the FOA designated in the notice using all available guidance. You may find the guidance in the application guide, FOA, and/or a Guide notice conflict. FOA instructions win over instructions found in the application guide. Guide notice instructions win over both the FOA and the application guide.

Let’s look at an example. Notice of Special Interest NOT-AG-19-012, like most of these notices, requires the notice number in the Agency Routing Identifier field (4b) on the SF424 R&R form. Our application guide instructions for the Agency Routing Identifier field, however, indicate to “skip the field unless otherwise specified in the FOA.” The notice instruction wins over the application guide. Your application must include “NOT-AG-19-012” in the Agency Routing Identifier field to be considered for that specific initiative.

One other item worth noting is that an IC may issue a Notice of Special Interest that points to an FOA that they don’t normally participate on. This is OK – remember notice guidance wins and the notice says the IC will accept applications for the specific initiative in the notice. Including the notice number in the Agency Routing Identifier field alerts our Receipt & Referral staff of your intentions regarding IC assignment.

In a few weeks, we’ll be giving our Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices emails a facelift and include a special section highlighting Notices of Special Interest. If you don’t already receive these emails, you should take a minute to subscribe. They are a great way to stay on top of all the notices and FOAs we publish in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts. We’ll make additional incremental changes to our resources over the coming months to ensure you have visibility to all funding initiatives whether they are announced in full FOAs or via notice.

Sheri Cummins
Communications & Outreach
NIH Office of Extramural Research

Writing a conference proposal?

Conferences, symposia, workshops and more

Are you writing a conference proposal? Conference grants are quite helpful for researchers as it brings us together to discuss cutting edge topics, train students and postdocs to hone their presentation or writing skills, serves as career development, networking and so much more. When writing a conference proposal, your program manager may tell you to put the funds in participant support. The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called “Uniform Guidance“) on participant support is terse. Institutions vary on how to interpret federal guidelines on participant support. At OSU, this line item has severe restrictions, so make sure that your conference meets OSRAA’s policy on what can be considered a ‘participant’. Below are some tips when assembling a conference proposal.

When writing a conference grant, consider the following:

  1. What is your goal? Is this training, discussion on a specific cutting edge topic, information gathering, progress report, policy guidance, something else?
  2. Who is your audience? Researchers? Students (training), invited speakers? Policy Makers? Administrators?
  3. What will the audience get out of it? Will you have moderators or speakers? Will the speakers participate in other parts of the conference? Will this be a ‘train the trainer’ type of proposal?
Nomenclature of the Conference attendee

Please note that these definitions are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, you should consider the proposal language when describing attendees’ roles if you plan to budget their expenses under Participant Support Costs. For example, you might say faculty participants rather than panelists or speakers and explain what they will be doing and learning throughout the event, not just during their session.

Adapted from:

  • Registrant – a person who is formally registers for a meeting or conference, usually for a fee
  • Attendee – one who is present or attends a function or a person who participates in a meeting
  • Participant – one that participates, shares or takes part in a meeting
  • Learner – one that gains knowledge, comprehension or mastery through experience or study; someone who learns or takes knowledge or beliefs; one that is learning; one that is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values or preferences (e.g. a ‘student’ or a participant)
  • Speaker – a student, postdoc, faculty or researcher who gives an oral or poster presentation of her/his project in a moderated session at a conference or other meeting (note that by OSRAA guidelines, this description is not a participant and thus would not be reimbursed under participant support).
  • Lecturer – a speaker of authority who presents a topic to an audience for learning purposes
  • Moderator, Facilitator – one or more individuals who lead a group of participants for training purposes (thus not a participant). In some cases, this person may charge a fee for their professional services as a consultant
  • Keynote Speaker – a person of authority with credentials in a field to give a high level overview of his/her career or work
  • Plenary Speaker or Facilitator – someone with authority to stimulate input and discussion by participants to come to conclusion for action
Types of conferences
  • Conference
  • Symposium
  • Seminar
  • Colloquium
  • Workshop
  • Roundtable

Conferences can be large society meetings (e.g. SACNAS, ACS, AAAS), smaller annual conferences for Centers or targeted focus groups (Wikipedia)

  • Attendees/participants are students, academic, industry or government researchers, sometimes administrators
  • Participants submit abstracts to present data (oral or poster), engage colleagues, get feedback, learn to hone presentation skills, learn from others in the field, network
  • Attendees could be a speaker in one session and a learner/participant in another session
  • Conferences usually have one or more keynote or plenary speaker(s). These speakers are lecturers who present a high level overview of their own work or career.

A Symposium is a meeting or small scale conference in an academic setting where participants are experts in their fields. The experts present or deliver their opinions or viewpoints on a chosen topic for discussion. Symposia are particularly good for student speakers as it allows them to practice and get feedback on their own work.

Seminars, Colloquium 
  • Seminars are a type of conference or other meeting typically designed for training. Departments often host regular seminars of student speakers or invited guests.
  • Colloquia are informal meetings or seminars on a broad topic usually led by a different lecturer at each meeting.
Roundtables and Workshops
  • Round table discussions: Participants discuss a specific topic. Each person around the table interactively participates.
  • Workshops are usually interactive training where participants actively engage in activities rather then passively listening to a lecturer. Workshops are usually moderated by a lecturer or facilitiator.

The Young Investigator Award for Isabelle Logan in College of Science


Congrats to College of Science postdoc, Isabelle Logan on her Fellowship with the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

Signaling pathways regulated by nitrated proteins as novel therapeutic targets for neurofibromatosis type 2
Nitrated proteins are a novel category of NF2 tumor targets as they play a key role in schwannoma growth and are not present in normal cells. The goals of this project are to investigate the regulation of signaling pathways by nitration and to identify the specific nitrated protein(s) that support NF2 tumor cell survival. Besides NF2, these proteins could be new targets in conditions such as glioblastoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer, where protein nitration is involved in proliferation.

Awesome work!

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Stay up to date on the spread of the coronavirus disease. The CDC has a link with helpful guidance on what you should know, situation updates and information for various groups.

Google Scholar reports (as of 9 March 2020) over 3400 articles published on COVID-19.

The World Health Organization published a Laboratory biosafety guide related to COVID-19

Posted in OSU