Research and Innovation Digital Newsletter September 2020

From the Vice President
Hello and welcome to our latest version of our Office of Research and Innovation newsletter. There’s a lot of interesting information in the newsletter and I hope you’ll take the time to peruse it. I’d also like to highlight a few new things happening in our office. First, I am very pleased to announce that the Western Michigan University Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center (BRCC) is now part of ORI. You can now find BRCC as we call it right on our website and connect directly to its executive director Steve Haakenson or his executive assistant Bernadette Ballard-Reid to learn more about how WMU is contributing to advancing startup companies in Michigan. BRCC provides critical early stage funding to new companies with a focus in the life sciences and medical devices broadly defined.  Welcome to the team Steve and Bernadette. Second, look forward to some very exciting news in the next few weeks about access to advanced computing for researchers at Western Michigan University. While we are still working out the process for utilization, our office has purchased several nodes on the new super computer that is currently being installed at MSU ICER: Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research. We will be providing information about how to request access to pilot this resource and the working group we are developing to both assure efficient utilization and continuation of this asset as well as working to bring together WMU researchers working in this critical area. Last, I’m sad to announce that Melanie Greer, whom many of you know for her hard work on our internal grant programs, has decided to retire early. Never fear, we will continue to support these programs and there’s information about the SFSA program as part of this newsletter. You’ll also notice that the FRTF & PPPE information is posted, and we have now moved to all online submission via email.  Please make sure to check that information out, and we look forward to Bonnie Gabriel assisting our faculty with these 2 programs and setting up SFSA and FRACAA accounts. Bonnie has just joined our office from the Evaluation Center. We look forward to her support of our research and creative scholarship activities here at the University in her role as Business Manager. Well it may be overstated to say these are difficult times, however we want to remind you that you are not in this alone and if our office can help to advance your research and creative scholarship please reach out to anyone on the team for assistance. They’re all very easily accessible via remote systems, and we do offer in person socially distance appointments on Wednesdays at Walwood Hall if needed. Thanks for reading and be well.

Terri Kinzy 

Summer ecrt confirmation period opening soon
The summer (May 15 through August 14, 2020) ecrt pre-review period is now open. Please refer to Grants and Contracts website for step by step instructions. Before clicking the pre-review button, please make sure all payroll, direct or cost share, for the project is reflected. If not, please contact Grants and Contracts at Pre-review will need to be completed prior to the opening of confirmation, which is scheduled for September 29.

Fall release time for grants
Please make sure Planned Effort forms for fall have been submitted to Grants and Contracts. Please refer to Grants and Contracts website in the forms section. If the forms have not returned the department will be responsible for completing the JES for each pay period missed.

Only One Competition for Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA)
The Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA) application process is open at Western Michigan University. The SFSA supports research and creative scholarship that enhances and sustains the scholarly reputation of WMU faculty.  For academic year 20-21 there will only be ONE competition with applications due November 30, 2020; however, the total amount allocated to fund these grants has not changed. Applicants can request up to $2,000. Awarded grants will start February 1, 2021.  Complete and submit an application online at For more information about SFSA please visit our website.           

Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Excellence Award
Western Michigan University recognizes the contribution of hands-on research and creative scholarship performed by undergraduate students in the education process and the advancement of our discovery mission.  The WMU Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Excellence Award will support WMU undergraduate students to pursue projects with faculty or staff members on campus.  Students may participate in research during the fall, spring or summer sessions.  If interested please visit our website for more information.

Introduction to Customer Discovery training
WMU ORI will be offering Introduction to Customer Discovery (ICD) training this fall using the Business Model Canvas.  ICD provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about customer discovery interview process and business model design.  The customer interview process is one of the first steps in commercialization of any product or technology.  The course is a joint sponsorship with Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University.  This collaboration provides for eligibility for teams to participate in the national I-Corps program sponsored by NSF.

ICD training will be held late afternoon/early evening on Oct 12, Oct 19, Oct 26, Nov 2, and Nov 9.

If you are interested for consideration to participate, please contact Steve Weber, Ph.D., Director Technology and Commercialization.

Unique collections at Zhang and Waldo Library available by appointment
WMU Libraries is excited to offer researchers the opportunity to make appointments and safely access the unique resources in the Regional History Collection, University Archives and Special Collections.

To help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, the University Libraries has closed the Zhang Legacy Collections Center and Rare Book Room in Waldo Library for 2020-21 or until conditions improve. Make an appointment for safe access to these collections.

Stay up to date on the Libraries by visiting the library updates web page and following WMU Libraries on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. View the Libraries' event calendar to register for a virtual workshop.

Data Librarian maintaining state hospital COVID-19 data online
To help preserve COVID-19 data for researchers now and in the future, Daria Orlowska, data librarian and assistant professor in the University Libraries, captured and compiled the data in a downloadable file format that allows users to view and analyze it more efficiently.

Orlowska's Michigan Hospital Tracking dataset focuses on Michigan hospital occupancy and personal protective equipment availability. She also developed a Coronavirus Michigan COVID-19 Overview Tracking dataset that aggregates demographic data of confirmed and potential COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

Both data sets are free to access and download through GitHub. They will continue to be updated daily as reports are made available by the state. Read more about this story.

Faculty Grant Reviewers Needed
If you are interested in serving as a faculty reviewer for the Graduate College for the 2020-2021 academic year, please contact Diana Berkshire-Hearit. Faculty reviewers are needed for the research grants and virtual conference grants, as well as for fellowships and scholarship awards. All reviews will be done virtually using InfoReady.

Graduate Student Research Grants
The Graduate Student Research Grants support graduate students engaged in independent scholarly research, scientific inquiry, inventive technology and artistic/creative scholarship. Students can apply for the fall award cycle of the Graduate Student Research Grant through Oct. 28 at 5 p.m.

Graduate Student Virtual Conference Grant
The Graduate Student Virtual Conference Grant temporarily replaces the Travel Grants during the university travel suspension in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Graduate Student Virtual Conference Grant application is available and the deadline for the fall award cycle is 5 p.m., Oct 28.

NSF Approved Formats Go into Effect October 5
Reminder: Effective October 5, 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will begin enforcing the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1) requirement to use NSF-approved formats for the preparation of the Biographical Sketch and Current and Pending Support proposal documents. Contact your ORI research officer if you have questions.

eRA Commons Accounts Required for Students and Post-docs
All students and post-docs that commit effort on NIH grants are required to have active eRA Commons accounts. Required annual and final progress reports cannot be submitted by the PI without these accounts. In order to assist with this, our office will require any student (undergraduate or graduate) or post-doc being appointed to a grant to create an eRA Commons account prior to being paid on the grant. If you have any questions, please contact your ORI research officer.

NIH Funding Seminar is Virtual this Fall
Each spring and fall NIH holds a grants seminar where they typically have 2 days of in-person sessions on many topics related to NIH grants. The sessions are targeted both at research administrators and at faculty PIs. This fall, the NIH grants seminar is being held virtually and is free to attend. This is a great opportunity for faculty that may apply to NIH to learn more about NIH programs and the application process. The agenda includes sessions such as "Navigating NIH Programs to Advance Your Career", "Grant Writing for Success" and  "Let's Look at Peer Review". More information and registration is available on the seminar website.  

Updated ORI assignments
As a result of reorganization within ORI, some of the job duties performed by Melanie Greer have now been turned over to other staff members within ORI.  Please contact the following for assistance:

Kelli Bond with questions regarding Faculty Research Travel Fund (FTRF), Publication of Papers and Exhibition of Creative Works (PPE), Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Awards (URE) or any general questions.
Bonnie Gabriel with questions regarding payment from Internal Funding awards.
Kay Mortellaro with questions regarding Support for Faculty Scholarship Awards (SFSA) and Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award (FRACAA).
Sarah Pratt with questions regarding grants.
Steve Weber with questions regarding Intellectual Property or Technology Development Fund (TDF).

Covid-19 Response Grants Webinar Series
Western Michigan University’s College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with WMUx, is launching a new webinar series surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. "College of Arts and Sciences Research Webinar Series: COVID-19 Pandemic Research at WMU" is focused on the various research projects that the college's faculty are working on to better understand the long-term effects of the current global pandemic.

The University’s Office of Research and Innovation has recently awarded five grants for research related to the pandemic. These projects cover a range of fields of study, from religion to the future of higher learning.

Listed below are the Fall 2020 webinar series, the series will continue into Spring 2021:

“Factors motivating the timing of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders by U.S. Governors”
Dr. Matthew Mingus, professor of public administration
Thursday, Oct. 15 at noon | LINK TO WATCH

“Moderators of social isolation and mental health outcomes during COVID-19”
Dr. Brooke Smith, assistant professor of psychology, and Alex Twohy, graduate student in psychology.
Thursday, Nov. 12 at noon | LINK TO WATCH

Newest member of ORI
We'd like to welcome our newest member of the ORI staff - Bonnie Gabriel who has assumed the duties of the Budget Analyst Sr. position as of September 14.  Bonnie has been with WMU since 2014 where she worked as the Senior Financial Assistant in the Evaluation Center. She received her Bachelors in Business Administration in Management and her Masters in Finance from Walsh College.  Bonnie is also a Certified Associate in Project Management (AZMP) from the Project Management Institute. Please extend a warm welcome to Bonnie.