September 2023 Newsletter

September 2023 newsletter

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to a new academic year at Western Michigan University. September is always an exciting month for all of us! This month’s newsletter will cover the inaugural Bronco Innovators Challenge; personnel changes in our office, including the addition of the Small Business Development Center to ORI; and researcher and research highlights. I would also like to draw your attention to news on updating bio sketches and the Effort Certification and Reporting Technology (ECRT) confirmation period. We are also hosting an event to provide participants with information on budgeting better while preparing proposals. Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA) started accepting proposals to support creative scholarship.

We also included news on two programs offered by the Graduate College: Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants and Graduate Writing Circles. We conclude our newsletter with valuable information from University Libraries.

I look forward to working with you to increase the impact of our research, innovation and creative scholarship enterprise in serving our community. As always, our mission and vision, built on our five core values, will guide us. 


Remzi Seker, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Innovation

Spring 2023 Bronco Innovators Challenge a success

We had a very successful inaugural Bronco Innovators Challenge, created to provide WMU students an opportunity to experience business creation. The challenge judges awarded five students for their viable and innovative business ideas. They were provided opportunities to learn from our mentors in residence (MIRs) and to interact with staff and the vice president for research and innovation. The awardees were Wesley Banks, Renee Cilluffo, McKenzie Covington, Jacob Paquette and Imani Williams. When you see these young entrepreneurs, extend a congratulations for their innovative spirit and hard work. The next Bronco Innovators Challenge will start mid-October. We will provide more information in our following newsletter.

Summer ECRT confirmation period opens

The summer (May 15 through Aug. 14, 2023) ECRT pre-review period is open. Refer to the Grants and Contracts webpage for step-by-step instructions. Before clicking the pre-review button, make sure all payroll, direct or cost-share for the project is reflected and accurate. If not, please contact Grants and Contracts.

Pre-review will need to be completed prior to the opening of confirmation, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 21: In-person Graduate Writing Circles Begin

Sept 26: Summer ECRT opening of confirmation

Sept. 28: Registration due for Budgets, Backstops, and Beyond

Sept. 29: Research carrel applications due

Oct. 20: Last day to submit NSF biographical sketch, current and pending (other) support

Funding opportunities for graduate students

The Graduate College offers two funding opportunities that support graduate student scholarly activity, the Graduate Student Research Grant and the Graduate Student Travel Grant, which are both due Oct. 10. There are two award cycles for the 2023-24 academic year, one each in fall and spring. Graduate students can learn more about these grants at an information session Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 3 to 4 p.m. in Walwood Hall. Find workshop details and RSVP

Check out the full list of grants, scholarships and fellowships available through the Graduate College

Apply for a Waldo Library research carrel

Faculty and graduate students are invited to apply for a research carrel in Waldo Library. Research carrels are appointed for one year for active research and writing. The application deadline has been extended to Friday, Sept. 29, for the 2023-24 academic year. Apply for a carrel

Changes announced in ORI

  • Dr. Christine Stamper has been with our office since March 2022 and was promoted to research development administrator. 
  • Joanne Mih has taken over the position of coordinator research data. She will be monitoring and processing all internal grants. 

Southwest MI SBDC relocates to the ORI, names new regional director

The Southwest Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has relocated to WMU’s Office of Research and Innovation and named Bonnie Gabriel as the regional director. In her new role, Gabriel, along with her staff of dedicated business consultants, will direct and support the economic development efforts of small businesses throughout the seven counties of Southwest Michigan.

Services provided by the Southwest MI SBDC include one-on-one guidance and consulting on small business topics, including starting a business, writing a business plan, small business loans, financial management and cash flow, business marketing, growth strategies, legal issues and human resources management.

Every year, the Southwest MI SBDC works with more than 500 small business clients interested in determining feasibility, working on profitability and accessing funding sources for their business ventures. The Southwest MI SBDC assists its clients in accessing more than $15 million in capital for new business ventures that create new jobs and focuses on assisting existing businesses in their growth. The SBDC has designated Tech Teams and Growth teams along with the tools to give clients the resources they need to improve profitability and increase sales.

To offer the vast array of services provided through the center, funding is provided by both the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

Find more information or contact the Southwest MI SBDC office at (269) 387-6004.

Researcher and research highlights for August

Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Michelle Suarez and co-PIs Dr. Ron Cisler and Dr. Adriana Degani, $1,820,000, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

  • The Youth Mental Health Interprofessional Networking and Workforce Development project will bring together 11 professionals and faculty from different disciplines to create and deliver mental and behavioral health content to an interprofessional group of students.

PI Dr. Maureen Mickus and co-PI Dr. Nancy Hock, $634,244, Health Resources and Services Administration.

  • The Health Career Opportunity Program's goal is to provide educational and economic support to students interested in occupational therapy, preparing a diverse, culturally sensitive and skilled occupational therapy workforce.

PI Dr. Alvis Fong and co-PIs Dr. Steven Carr, Dr. Ajay GuptaDr. Shameek Bhattacharjee and Dr. KC Chen, $499,867, National Science Foundation.

  • Building on the success of a pilot study, we aim to propel CyberTraining research to the next level through developing immersive experiential-learning materials (ELMs) to promote AI readiness (AIR).

PI Dr. Patricia Reeves and co-PI Dr. Jianping Shen, $15,020,199, U.S. Department of Education.

  • Western will work with statewide partners and collaborators to scale-up a model for school renewal leadership that produced statistically significant growth in leadership practices and student proficiency rates on state assessments of English language arts in a randomized trial.

PI Dr. Stephanie Peterson, $4 million, state of Michigan.

  • WMU’s Kalamazoo Autism Center will use funds for the expansion and development of services to include evidence-based biobehavioral assessment treatment services for children with severe intellectual developmental disabilities and severe problem behaviors.

PI Dr. Selena Protacio and co-PIs Dr. Virginia David, Dr. Rena VanDerwall and Dr. Kate LaLonde, $908,677, U.S. Department of Education.

  • Western, along with three high-need partner districts, developed Project Preparing Educators to Teach All Learners program. The project is designed to recruit, prepare and retain a diverse group of scholars who will be dually certified.

PI Dr. Cindy Linn, $337,300, U.S. Department of Defense.

  • This study, building on a previous DOD award, could lead to short-term field treatments after blast exposure to the eye and could lead to longer effects using daily eye drops that significantly improve vision in soldiers that experience blast exposure in combat.

Support for Faculty Scholars Award is open for proposals

Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA) supports creative scholarship and research that may not lead to external funding but enhance and sustain the scholarly reputation of WMU and the faculty principal investigators. The competition is now open in InfoReady, though funding amount and due date are pending until later in September. For more information, email ORI internal funding or view the SFSA webpage.

National Science Foundation grant application information available

Friday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m. is the last day to submit the National Science Foundation (NSF) fillable PDF format for the biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support.

Proposers currently may prepare the biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support using either SciENcv or the fillable PDFs.

View the NSF biographical sketch and current and pending (other) support websites for more information. In addition, look for more information from our office next month.

Fall release time for grants

Please make sure Planned Effort forms for fall have been submitted to Grants and Contracts. The Planned Effort form should reflect the period of time the individual is working on the grant. If there are questions about the time frame someone is planning to work, email grants services.

These forms need to be completed prior to the work being done. If ECRT is confirmed with the release time missing, the department may not be able to recover the release time savings.

Refer to Grants and Contracts webpage in the forms section. If the forms have not been turned in, the department will be responsible for completing the JES for each pay period missed.

Graduate Writing Circles begin

Graduate Writing Circles provide community, accountability and a dedicated time for all graduate students to gather with peers to work independently either in-person or virtually. Students have shared that co-working has helped to increase their motivation, set SMART goals and reduce a sense of isolation. If you know a graduate student who could benefit from some dedicated writing time, please encourage them to attend:

  • In-person Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. starting Thursday, Sept. 21. Join for part of the day or for the entire day Meet in Walwood Hall. Coffee, tea and light snacks are provided.
  • Virtual Writing Circles have begun Mondays from 1 to 4 p.m. Supplement your writing time with a virtual option, or join if you are remote and cannot attend the in-person circles.

Budgets, Backstops and Beyond!

Have you ever wondered why a grant award does not have funds budgeted for admin support? Or what to do if you need to process a graduate student appointment and the grant is not officially awarded yet? Come have continental breakfast with ORI staff and your colleagues from across campus from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Room 2209 of the WMU Student Center and get these and other important questions about grant administration answered. Register by Thursday, Sept. 28

You will learn:

  • How budgets are developed at the proposal stage including allowable costs, direct costs and why F&A matters.
  • Connect the pieces of the budgeting puzzle, pre-award estimates to actual spending.
  • Tips on interpreting GLOW for grants.
  • Quick guide for what forms to use for what situation.
  • Who to contact in ORI when you have questions.

Custom maps available through WMU Libraries

The University Libraries offer free custom mapping and geographic information system (GIS) services to WMU faculty, staff and students. Using a GIS, our map specialist will work with you to analyze and visualize your geospatial data.

We can help you create maps and graphics to include in publications, dissertations and theses or other research and teaching projects. Learn more about mapping services

Data Anonymization Workshop Series available

The McGill Digital Research Services Hub is delighted to invite all researchers and students to a series of online workshops on data anonymization, presented by national and international subject matter experts. This workshop series will provide attendees with an overview of data anonymization, as well as demonstrations of data anonymization tools for both qualitative and quantitative data.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • What is data anonymization and why is it important?
  • What makes data anonymization so challenging?
  • How to anonymize data in practice.
  • Available tools and resources.

This online workshop series is free and open to all researchers.  All workshops will be presented in English with simultaneous French interpretation.

Find more information and register for sessions

Keep us in the loop

ORI is very interested in hearing about the accomplishments of our faculty in the areas of research and creative activities. For example, we have a wall with copies of journal covers highlighting the work of our faculty, students and staff. If your work has been featured, please print a high-quality 8 ½ x 11-inch copy of the cover, sign it and send it to Remzi Seker or Kelli Bond for inclusion on the wall.  

In addition, we love to hear about awarded fellowships, notable awards outside of the University, honor society memberships and special activities that we can highlight. It's easy for us to know grants, but it's very important for us to highlight all of the achievements at WMU. Don't forget—Provost Julian Vasquez Heilig would also like copies of your books!