October 17, 2011
California State University San Marcos has received a $1.95 million award from the National Science Foundation for a project titled “Increasing STEM Talent through Regional Partnerships, Recruiting, and Retention.” Faculty members Charles De Leone and Edward Price will use the funding to develop a program that applies a comprehensive, multi-institutional approach to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and graduates in North San Diego County. The project includes a partnership with Palomar Community College, and a major focus will be to increase the participation of active duty service members, veterans, and underrepresented minority students in STEM. GRC congratulates CSU San Marcos on its success in this highly selective NSF competition.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grants Policy Statement — which answers most every question about the management of NIH awards — was revised this month. The new guide is applicable to all NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods beginning on or after October 1, 2011. (Note that the October 2010 GPS should be used as the standard set of terms and conditions for NIH grants and cooperative agreements with budget periods between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.)While the new GPS does not introduce new material for the first time, it does incorporate new and modified requirements, clarify certain policies, and implement changes in statutes, regulations, and policies implemented during FY 11. A summary of significant changes is available online.NIH publishes interim grants policy changes in the NIH Guide, and GRC will continue to provide member alerts. For general NIH information, contact Linda Anthony at email@example.com. Direct specific questions to the NIH Division of Grants Policy at GrantsPolicy@mail.nih.gov.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have established a new program, Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER), to support scientists in developing countries who work with NSF-funded scientists at U.S. institutions. Applications must be submitted by the developing country principal investigator, not the U.S. partner, by November 30, 2011.PEER is intended to build scientific capacity and empower researchers in developing countries to use science and technology to address local and global development challenges. Awards are expected to range from $30,000 to $50,000 per year for one to three years. A few larger and more complex projects may receive up to $100,000 per year for up to three years. The funding may be used to conduct research, train students and faculty, and equip laboratories and field stations.The National Academies will administer the PEER program on behalf of USAID and NSF. Research topics of particular interest include food security, global health, climate change impacts, disaster mitigation, biodiversity, and renewable energy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have announced that 35 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have submitted applications to the new Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. GRC member institutions in these states are encouraged to contact their governor’s office now to identify the state’s lead agency and determine ways to participate: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge will provide $500 million to states “that are leading the way” in education reform for high-need children from birth to age five. Proposals must address five key themes:
States took part in a series of technical assistance calls during September and October. Transcripts from these, and the answers to frequently-asked questions, will be helpful to colleges and universities proposing to take part in their state’s Race to the Top effort.
As part of the America Invents Act (AIA), which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in September 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce, is required to conduct studies and report on a wide variety of topics, including patent infringement, prior user rights, international patent protection, and post-grant patent opposition rules. The agency plans to collaborate with inventors and members of the general public with a background in patent, copyright, and trademark litigation to create the rules that will be implemented under the AIA. An October 7, 2011 Federal Register notice addresses the study of prior user rights. The agency is seeking comments on the following topics by November 8, 2011:
A webcast on these issues is scheduled for October 25, 2011 in Alexandria, VA. The event will be accessible by webcast, as will two public hearings (October 27, 2011 in Alexandria, VA, and November 1, 2011 in Los Angeles) on international patent protection for small businesses.The USPTO expects the new law to increase demand for its services significantly, and has posted over 1,000 new patent examiner jobs and 50 administrative law judge positions on USAJobs.com. GRC is following the potential impact of patent reform on the work of research and sponsored programs administrators. Staff members were invited to attend an October 19, 2011 intellectual property breakfast hosted by the National Law Journal and will also participated in an October 25, 2011 Association of University Technology Managers event on patent reform. Contact Sandy George at email@example.com or Meg Cantwell at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information, or view patent reform details online.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published the latest “Philanthropy 400,” an annual ranked list of the charities that raise the most money from private sources. This index serves as a barometer of the nation’s philanthropic mood, and the organizations appearing on it are the recipients of one of every four dollars contributed to nonprofit organizations.Contributions have grown by a modest 4.7 percent this year, up from last year’s figure of 3.5, but the Philanthropy 400 are still making up ground lost in the recession. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this group of organizations raised eight percent more in 2010 than they did in 2007. David Yarnold, president of the National Audubon Society (number 319) told the <Chronicle>, “Our major-gift fundraising was flat, and that is good news because a lot of organizations weren’t [even] able to stay flat.” Yet Yarnold remains “very wary about the economy. We all wake up at night worrying about it.”As expected, there was significant variation among methods and outcomes of the Philanthropy 400 organizations. Groups funded primarily by gifts of stock or donated products performed significantly better than nonprofits heavily dependent on cash gifts. The Schwab Charitable Fund, supported largely by investment donations, climbed 15 slots, to number 7 on the list, by raising $926.4 million in 2010, a jump of more than 92 percent.Arts organizations have not fared as well. “We have seen a lot of corporate support evaporate,” says Amy Purvis, development director at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (number 277). “There are far fewer corporate foundations these days, and any gifts [we receive] are coming more from marketing. Six-figure sponsorships of exhibitions have dried up.” Attracting small donors through mailings, canvassing, and advertising to make up for the loss of corporate funding can be expensive and time-consuming. “We had to go into social media,” says Todd Hendricks, senior vice president for development at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (number 172). The society’s donations increased 10.2 percent last year, one of a handful of nonprofits to make double-digit gains, and it expects another increase of at least 10 percent this year. “Right now, it is hard to tie fundraising directly to social media, but some of our content is reaching two or three million fans [who come to our website], and we know it is raising money, [although] we cannot track it. [The recession] was not a time to turn down the message. It was time to turn it up.”