Research Alert | June 7, 2012

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Financial Conflict of Interest Policy Change Forthcoming

The University of Texas at Austin is in the process of finalizing a revised Objectivity in Research policy that must be implemented by Aug. 24, 2012. The new policy will incorporate changes to meet updated federal requirements governing disclosure and reporting of Financial Conflicts of Interest and will affect all UT Austin researchers.

The university’s revised policy requiring disclosure of financial interests applies to all individuals who are involved in the design, conduct or reporting of research. There are additional disclosure requirements for researchers funded by the Public Health Service (PHS) and staff working on PHS-funded studies.

For information on the new PHS policy, see the list of Frequently Asked Questions at the National Institutes of Health website. At the university, the Office of Research Support is providing updates on its Conflict of Interest page. The web page will soon contain links to a required training module, a web-based financial interest disclosure form and information on face-to-face training that will be offered.

The ORS will host a webinar about the policy. It will be from noon-1:30 p.m., July 11, 2012 at NOA 5.318. For more information and to register, go here.

Research Opportunities

Important University Research Deadlines

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The University of Texas at Austin Stimulus Package Web page is online.

Funding Sources

Department of Defense

DOD logo


DOD FY12 Peer Reviewed Cancer Career Development Award
Deadline: Sept. 12, 2012

FY12 Spinal Cord Injury Research Program

Department of Energy

Second Generation Dark Matter Experiments (PDF)
Deadline: July 6, 2012

Opportunities in Basic Plasma Science (PDF)
Deadline: July 16, 2012

National Institutes of Health

Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) Research Centers of Excellence
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, Aug. 14, 2012; Application, Sept. 14, 2012

National Science Foundation

David Laude

Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections
Deadline: Oct. 19, 2012

International Collaboration in Chemistry between US Investigators and their Counterparts Abroad
Deadlines: Preliminary Proposal, Aug. 1, 2012; Proposal, Oct. 16, 2012

Energy for Sustainability
Deadline: Feb. 19, 2013

Arts, Humanities and Culture

Social Science Research Council
DPDF Faculty Field Competition
Deadline: Oct. 3, 2012

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Fellowship
Deadline: Aug. 15, 2012

Other Funding Opportunities

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Research Grants
Deadline: Nov. 15, 2012

Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know.]

Chemist Wins Powe Award

Guangbin DongGuangbin Dong, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been selected for a 2012 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. He is one of 30 researchers selected for the award, which is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

The recipients, each of whom is in the first two years of a tenure track position, will receive $5,000 in seed money for the 2012-2013 academic year to enhance their research during the early stages of their career. Each recipient’s institution also matches the ORAU award with an additional $5,000.

News and Information

Office of Sponsored Projects Offers Classes on Grant Lifecycle

Learn about the ins-and-outs of submitting sponsored research grants and what to do when you get one in classes offered by the Office of Sponsored Projects.

SP101 Life Cycle of a Sponsored Research Grant - Preaward will be held from 9-10:15 a.m. Aug. 7, 2012 at NOA 5.318. SP102 Life Cycle of a Sponsored Research Grant - Postaward will follow from 10:30-11:45 a.m. For more information and to register, go to the OSP website or register directly at TXClass.

Study Confirms Benefits of a Research University to Student Success

About 89 percent of all undergraduate students and 94 percent of seniors participate in some type of research while at The University of Texas at Austin, according to a new study from the Office of Assessment for the university’s Division of Student Affairs. Based on a survey of 13,120 undergraduates, the report reveals that 71 percent of students agree that the university is strongly committed to undergraduate education.

The data confirm that students who are more engaged in research activities have higher grade point averages (GPAs), are more likely to graduate within four years and have plans to attend graduate school. Additionally, the study showed that the university’s prestige is important to most students when applying for a job or graduate school.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

Washington Post
June 4, 2012
HEADLINE: The ups and downs of being an empty-nester

Karen Fingerman (Karen Fingerman, professor in the Department of Psychology and in Human Development and Family Science, reports that things might not change all that much for parents when the kids leave home.)

Not necessarily, says psychologist Karen Fingerman, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. “There is no data showing ‘Oh, no, people go to pieces when the kids leave home,’ ” she says, noting that research has demonstrated that an empty nest is associated with a range of benefits for the whole family, including improved marital relations, reduced conflict between parents and children, and enhanced well-being. “Even good transitions can present challenges, but what we know is that most people get through this adjustment very well and even end up thriving."

Research Project

The Land Unknown: Assessing Data Requirements for Modeling Change in the Antarctic Ice Sheet with an Emphasis on the Subglacial Bed

Charles JacksonRESEARCHER:Charles Jackson, research scientist, Institute for Geophysics, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT: $276,289

Among the most dramatic changes now underway in the polar cryosphere is the several-fold speedup of Greenland and West Antarctic outlet glaciers. Computational models of ice sheets face considerable challenges in correctly simulating these events, which in turn, limits glaciologists' and climatologists' ability to predict change. The challenge arises from limited knowledge of key variables, for example, the shape of the land surface beneath the ice.

Data limitations present two problems; first, important details of ice behavior may be missed and second, models may produce results that compare well with observations but do so for the wrong reasons. The goal of this project is to use these uncertainties themselves as a guide to identifying which types of data are most important to producing useful projection of future ice sheet change. The work is focused on two regions, the Aurora basin in East Antarctica, where new high resolution data have recently become available, and the catchment surrounding South Pole station deep in the interior of East Antarctica, where ice flow that is currently sluggish may have been faster in the past.

Among the most dramatic changes now underway in the polar Bayesian inference may be used to investigate formally the contributions of various model attributes to uncertainty in model projections by synthesizing information from different sources of data, modeling results, and corresponding error information. Here, an ice sheet model will be asked to identify the regions and processes that have the largest influence on ice flow and thickness change, according to an appropriate range of boundary conditions and initial model states.

The approach will allow us to create and analyze correlation maps showing relationships between various boundary conditions and model outcome in selected study areas. Those parameters or regions that are most important should dominate the scatter in model projections of change. The associated posterior probability density will provide guidance on how to design observational strategies to meet specified scientific criteria.

The Research Alert is an electronic publication from the Office of the Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin. It includes news of research honors and awards, news of research programs and deadlines, researchers quoted in news media, a listing of funding opportunities and a look at a current research project. It is available by e-mail and on the Web.

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