Research and Innovation Digital Newsletter May 2021

Dear colleagues

It’s hard to believe the semester is over, and we can all take advantage of summer weather for research and creative scholarship or a well-deserved vacation.

One important event to watch out for is a town hall this summer. The majority of the town hall will focus on sharing the results on our review of the research or “R” positions. Of course, we will have some time for questions on that and other topics. This information is of interest to not just faculty but also department staff who are involved in hiring research positions. 

On the forward-looking front, we are in the middle of reviewing our interdisciplinary grant applications, and we look forward to sharing information on this project soon and how you can engage with the winning proposal. We are also completing the equipment repair and replacement program review. I am pleased to announce that program will continue in FY 2021-22.

I’m excited to announce that Dr. Amy Naugle, professor of psychology, will be staying in our office for a second year as a faculty fellow.  We want to thank Amy for her hard work last year on the research restart process and our conflict of interest process and policy review and look forward to her contributions in the coming year.

Best wishes for a great summer,

Terri Goss Kinzy, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Innovation

HPCHub access opens
HPCHub, the WMU access system to the MSU computing cluster, is available for faculty, staff and mentored student use. View more information.

Volunteers for the new ORI OIT Advanced computing committee can contact Terri Kinzy. Learn more about using MSU’s High Performance Computing Center which WMU has access to during MSU's hands-on introductory workshop Wednesday, May 12. See how this "super computer" can positively affect your research.

Space Utilization Survey underway
Western is in the process of negotiating the University’s FY 2021-22 facilities and administrative cost proposal. The F&A cost proposal is negotiated with the federal government typically every four years with provisions for extensions of up to four years. F&A cost rates are based on the WMU’s actual operating costs. Using guidelines provided by the federal government, WMU captures and calculates F&A costs. The costs are allocated to different activities, especially research or teaching, proportionately.

Space data is one of the most important factors in determining the F&A rate. University facility costs are primarily allocated especially between teaching and research, according to how University space is utilized. The space utilization survey is underway in some departments with external research funding. The space utilization survey gathers data on the specific use of campus space. We have representatives from each college assisting with the data collection required to complete the space survey and expect to have the survey completed by Wednesday, June 30.

You may be contacted to answer questions about who is in your assigned research space and how they are paid based on information we have provided the colleges. Note that this is strictly for the F&A proposal, and you will be asked to determine the use of space between instruction and externally funded research, not internally funded or unfunded research.

Your college representatives have had training, and they or our Grants and Contracts leads are available if you have any questions. View reference documents for preparation of the survey on the ORI website.

Human subjects research at WMU continues
Human subjects research at WMU continues to open in phases, with all necessary precautions being followed to protect research participants and research staff. Due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in Michigan, all in-person data collection is receiving additional review, and the IRB strongly encourages researchers to conduct their studies virtually. Currently, only the following in-person data collection protocols are being approved for implementation:

  • Professional service relationships (e.g., clinical services, practicums, etc.)  where research would not add any additional risks to participants in a study.
  • Research which will provide a potential direct benefit, with additional precautions to protect and minimize risks to research participants and research staff.

More information can be found on the IRB website. Note that a research restart plan must also be submitted and approved before the IRB can approved a protocol.

OLLI offers professional development opportunities for graduate students
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute invites graduate students to consider professional development opportunities by volunteering and sharing your research with an audience of lifelong learners. OLLI is designed for mature adults who love to learn and are committed to engagement that promotes health and wellness. Visit our website to learn more. For questions, contact Dr. Toni Woolfork-Barnes.

Departmental Equipment Insurance changes posted
As promised, a brand-new equipment insurance program has been created and is effective immediately. It covers $63 million of University equipment without the need to opt-in with Business Services and at no premium cost to the departments. View the website for program specifics. Current program participants will be refunded two months of their premium for the current fiscal year.

2021-22 WMU All-University graduate student awards announced
The Graduate College and the Graduate Studies Council have announced the recipients of the 2021-22 All-University Graduate Research and Creative Activities Awards and the Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Awards. Results are posted here.

Graduate Research and Creative Activities Awardees:
Austen York—master's, geological and environmental sciences
Evgeniya Kozhevikova—master's; music, performance
Huang Wu—doctoral; educational leadership, research and technology
Jackline Onyango—master's, chemistry
Kai Harris—doctoral; English, creative writing
Kalani Gates—doctoral; psychology, clinical
Mohammed Hashim—doctoral, geological and environmental sciences
Nicole Mason—master's; English, creative writing
Roshan Javanshad—doctoral, chemistry
Xingzhe Zhang—doctoral, electrical and computer engineering

Graduate Teaching Effectiveness Awardees:
Cody Edgerton—master's; music, conducting
Emile Van Meter—doctoral, chemistry
Kai Harris—doctoral; English, creative writing
Katherine E. Brown—doctoral, sociology
Kristen Foley—doctoral; Mallinson Institute for Science Education, geosciences
Nicole Mullis—master's; English, creative writing
Tabitha DiBacco—doctoral; psychology, clinical

Board of Trustees Fountain renovation planned
The Board of Trustees Fountain near Waldo Library will be renovated this summer and work will continue through 2022, impacting access to the library from the north near Sangren Hall. Access from the south will continue to remain open. Follow signage posted on the fencing for an alternative route to Waldo Library. Check for open hours before your visit. Read about the project.

Spring ecrt pre-review period opening soon
The spring (Jan. 1 through May 14) ecrt pre-review period will open on Tuesday, June 8. Refer to the Grants and Contracts website for step-by-step instructions. You will want to begin reviewing spring for any missed faculty, staff or student time, whether direct or cost share on grants. For questions regarding spring time that should be charged to a grant, contact your restricted fund accountant in Grants and Contracts or email.

Foreign funding disclosure reminder
As a reminder, it is important that all sources of funding are disclosed on all grant applications, especially federal grants. This includes funding from foreign entities even if the funds do not come to WMU but support the applicant or their work, including work outside the United States. If you are unsure, please speak with your research officer for guidance. Many federal agencies are changing their other support forms, so make sure you follow the most recent version. More information is available.

New eRA platform for pre-award and IRB is coming
We are excited to announce that ORI—with help from a committee composed of faculty, staff and administrators—has selected Cayuse, a cloud-based research suite, to modernize our research administration processes at WMU. The new eRA platform will greatly improve efficiencies and reduce administrative burden for faculty and staff. The implementation of IRB and pre-award modules has started with rollout expected this summer and fall, respectively. Watch for more information in the coming months. For questions, contact Sarah Pratt or Julia Mays. We look forward to introducing this exciting software to you.

NSF Virtual Grants Conference to be held in June
Join the National Science Foundation for the Spring 2021 NSF Virtual Grants Conference, to be held Monday through Friday, June 7-11. Registration is open and free. We anticipate sessions will reach capacity quickly, so we encourage you to register as soon as possible. Conference sessions are designed to give faculty, researchers and administrators key insights into a wide range of current issues at NSF. NSF program officers will be providing up-to-date information about specific funding opportunities and answering attendee questions. More information is available at this site.