Research and Innovation Digital Newsletter February 2021


I’m pleased to start out this newsletter with an update on our first equipment repair and upgrade grant program. Thanks to the college Dean’s for reviewing the proposals and the people who applied and contributed cost share, we were able to stretch our funds from ORI and in total fund almost $68,000 in repairs and replacements. We plan to run this program again later this semester.

As another reminder, FRACCA grant applications are due February 12.  You can also volunteer to be a FRACAA reviewer at InfoReady, it’s a great way to learn about review or give back and help your colleagues. 

Also, our application deadline has been extended for consideration for the 2021 class of Presidential Innovation Professorships (formerly named professorships) for current WMU faculty at InfoReady and are due by 5 pm February 23, 2021.  Lastly, we are extremely excited to announce our inaugural Interdisciplinary Team Excellence Enhancement Grant.  Following our work establishing Innovation Networks, this is the next step to showcase and advance excellence in research and creative scholarship at WMU.  We look forward to seeing the teams, established and new, that investigate this opportunity for funding up to $350,000.

Regards, Terri Kinzy

Inaugural Interdisciplinary Team Excellence Enhancement Grant (ITEEG)
The Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) is pleased to announce the inaugural Interdisciplinary Team Excellence Enhancement Grant (ITEEG). This program is an extension of the efforts made in the last few years to develop networks of faculty, staff and students around areas of research and creative scholarship where multi and inter-disciplinary approaches can result in innovative and more efficient advances. This new program will stimulate the creation of interdisciplinary research and creative scholarship groups around any topic that is likely to be supported by future external funding such as federal, state and private funding.  ITEEG will provide $100,000 in funds provided by ORI and the Office of the President Meader endowment to initiate activities to advance the team.  And additional pool of funds of up to $250,000 is available from funds provided by ORI, the Meader endowment, and the office of the Provost for equipment to support the team’s pursuits. The application is available on InfoReady, and lays out the request for information about the team membership, organization, activities, other support and funding opportunities.  Teams will be supported by ORI during the course of their grant and will assist in hosting an Innovation Networking Session to bring together members of the WMU community around the team’s research topic. In addition, ORI will host an introductory webinar on team development and the program on Friday February 19th at 10am.  Proposals are due March 23, 2021 at 5 pm. 

Consumers Energy Foundation Funding Priorities for 2021
The Consumers Energy Foundation's funding priorities in 2021 are people, planet and prosperity.  For more information on the foundation's grantmaking and application process go to  Contact Tiana Gee, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, University Advancement with any questions.

Discovery Acceleration Workshop
"Discovery Acceleration Workshop Monday, February 22nd at noon.  Lucy Deckard from Academic Research Funding Services will join us to discuss pursuing funding from the Department of Defense.  She will show steps to identifying DOD funding opportunities and program officers, how to approach program officers, writing proposals and where to find more sources of information about the DOD.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID:  99043986526

Passcode:  wingrants

Technology Development Fund Awards
The Office of Research and Innovation, via its Technology and Commercialization Committee is pleased to announce it has granted two Technology Development Fund awards.  The awards were given to Pablo Gomez and his research proposal titled "Development of Transmission Line Fault Location Technology for Electric Power Systems", and Lina Sawalha for her research proposal titled "Optimization of Hybrid 3D Metal Printer Process Using Machine Learning".  

The Technology Development Funds are intended to be used to bridge the gap that often exists between research-stage technologies and technologies that are closer to being licensed by a corporation, or that may be ready for private investment as part of a start up company.   These awards are supported in part by the Monroe-Brown Fund provided to ORI.

Please note; to be eligible to apply for the TDF next year, disclosure of potential intellectual property to ORI is required (see

Help Us Help You! Remember to Follow the Internal Deadlines for Proposal Submissions
ORI has established internal deadlines for all proposal submissions. In a nutshell, the deadlines require the PAF to be routed to your research officer 7 business days prior to the sponsor deadline, all ancillary documents to be submitted to our research officer 5 business days before the deadline and the final proposal documents be submitted 2 business days before the deadline.

Our goal at ORI is to help you submit the highest quality proposal to the sponsor to give you the best chance of a positive review and funding decision. This requires not only excellent technical preparation from you as the PI, but also careful review on the administrative side from ORI, as well as completing the internal approval process via the PAF.  Meeting the internal deadlines provides ORI staff with adequate time to properly review your proposal for any issues that could prevent submission or cause the proposal to be returned without review. It also helps us avoid the stress and panic that is caused when these issues are discovered at the last minute. 

Also, remember, these deadlines are the latest these documents should be submitted. It is never too early to be communicating with your research officer about a planned submission, working with them on your budget or submitting documents for them to review!  If you have any questions about the internal deadlines or anything else related to submitting a proposal, please contact your ORI research officer.

Apply for the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award (FRACAA)
The application for the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award will be available in InfoReady on December 1, 2020.  Submission deadline is 5 p.m. Feb. 12, 2021.  More information regarding the FRACAA program can be found on our website.

Libraries to Reopen Learning Glass Studio by appointment
The University Libraries has reopened the Learning Glass Studio in Waldo Library. Learning Glass allows instructors to record high-quality videos while teaching and writing on a clear board. This unique presentation style mimics what students may experience in a face-to-face classroom with their instructor writing on a whiteboard.

The studio offers unique opportunities for teaching and creative scholarship. See Learning Glass in action.

MTRAC AgBio Funding Opportunities
The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Ag & Bio is the first in a series of specialized statewide commercialization programs with in-depth domain expertise in specific areas of research. Translational research funding to accelerate the commercialization of high potential Ag & Bio technology is available to innovators at institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers, and hospital systems throughout Michigan. 

The MTRAC AgBio Innovation is pleased to announce the extension of its Spring 2021 AgBio Starter Grant proposal deadline to March 12, 2021.

Individual project direct cost budget limits are up to $25,000 for Starter Awards. MTRAC Ag & Bio eligible projects must relate directly to applications in the agriculture industry, as well as bioprocessing and/or bio-based materials (including veterinary medicine).

For Starter Grant Application Details, please see: MTRAC Ag & Bio Starter Award Application
Proposal Due: March 12, 2021

Researchers interested in submitting an MTRAC proposal are encouraged to contact Program Director Joseph Affholter ) or Program Assistant Weian Ou for more information and pre-proposal consultation. Informational group webinars available upon request.

2021 Facilities and Administration rate proposal is underway
ORI has kicked off the steps to prepare our proposal to re-negotiate our federal facilities and administrative rate.   We have established an advisory team to help us work across WMU to make this as efficient as possible and identified college contacts.  The first step is a space survey, which will be initiated in the next month.  This requires data such as identifying all occupants of selected research space, their activities (i.e. between teaching and research in the space) and the funding associated with the space.  Departments whose space is selected for the survey will get instructions, training and supporting material from our office.  WMU has not done this for more than eight years, however it is mandatory we complete the process this year. Thanks to Betty McKain and Shellie Mosher for leading up this process.   

2021 Virtual Spring Convocation
The 2021 Spring Convocation date has been decided!  Mark your calendars for April 16, 2021 from 9 to noon. Look for more details in the next couple of weeks.