It is with great regret that I announce the departure of Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications, from the Office of Research and Innovation (ORI) at Miami University. Heather has started her own consultancy, Ogmios Research Solutions, and will spend most of the next two years fulfilling a contract to provide post-award project management for a clinical trial.
Heather joined ORI, then the Office of Research Advancement and Scholarship (OARS), in 2012 after several years in multiple roles at the University of Cincinnati. Heather has been the foundation of our research communications activities and has led a number of initiatives in support of researchers at Miami, including the New Faculty Grant Planning and Support (GPS) program, the Research & Innovation Report blog (formerly known as the OARS Research News newsletter and the OARS Research News blog), the Research & Innovation Annual Report of Extramural Funding and delivering funding opportunity information to researchers through the Funding Alert System, which she devised.
Heather regularly built relationships across campus to leverage expertise and knowledge across disciplines, catalyze research collaborations, and bring external proposal development and support resources to researchers. Heather shared with me that she is most proud of her efforts to transform the connective tissue of the research enterprise across Miami. She added, “Although the university’s motto is prodesse quam conspici, my job over the last eight years has been to help make Miami research more conspicuous. It has been an honor to help facilitate the work that animates Miami’s researchers, scholars, and creators and to amplify the impact of their discoveries and insights beyond the university.”
In addition to supporting researchers and advocating for research across the University, Heather has been active in national research professional development activities through the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA). She also provides formal training in the development of research ideas for funding through ENG 413/513 – Grant and Proposal Writing, offered this spring semester.
Heather’s final day within ORI will be Friday, January 29, 2021. In celebration of Heather and all of her contributions to Miami, we will have a virtual farewell on Wednesday, January 27, 2021, from 4-5:30pm.
We welcome all to join in wishing Heather luck on her new venture and the interesting opportunities in her new role.
Be sure to check out the deadlines and events coming up this month:
January 1 . . . . . . . . . . New Year’s Day: Federal agencies and Research & Innovation are closed January 18 . . . . . . . . . Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Federal agencies and Research & Innovation are closed January 29 . . . . . . . . . Application deadline: Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) program for juniors and seniors
I am thrilled to announce that in FY 2020 Miami University set a new record for extramural funding: $26,951,278.
Although it is my privilege, as Interim Vice President of Research & Innovation, to announce this wonderful news, credit for the achievement is due in large part to the leadership of former VPRI Jim Oris, who retired on the last day of FY 2020. The year’s unprecedented level of funding is a culmination of Jim’s nine years of service to Miami’s research community, as a strategic thinker, an advocate, and a builder of relationships.
Even more directly responsible for the year’s success are the faculty and staff who applied for funding. They poured countless hours into gathering preliminary data, writing proposals, and developing relationships with sponsors. As a principal investigator myself, I know that each award of funding can represent five or ten – sometimes even more – proposals that were submitted but not funded. I also know that these low funding rates can make the proposal development process seem thankless. So, I will take this opportunity to extend a sincere thank you to the researchers, scholars, and artists behind every one of the 314 proposals Miami submitted in FY 2020.
Breaking down our record year
Total funding in FY 2020 increased by nearly $3 million over FY 2019, a gain of more than 10%. Most of our divisions also saw increases. The College of Engineering & Computing led the way, more than doubling last year’s funding to achieve a total of $3.1 million. Significant gains were also seen by the College of Education, Health, & Society (up 70%), Research & Innovation + the Graduate School (up 20%), and the Middletown Campus (up 13%).
Although federal funding has been declining nationwide, our direct federal funding held fairly steady over the past year. Where the decline in federal funding may be more evident is in the 42% reduction in funds received from colleges, universities, and research institutions. This funding often comes in the form of subcontracts for work on projects sponsored by federal agencies. Fortunately, these losses were offset by increases in other sources of funding, including a tripling of funding from governments other than the federal government and the State of Ohio.
In keeping with a historical trend, the overwhelming majority of FY2020 external funds were awarded in support of research activities. Funding for research, public service, and student financial aid all increased, but the biggest percentage gain — 92% — was in funding for fellowships.
Why we do what we do
Miamians are so dedicated to securing external funding because that funding enables work that couldn’t happen without it. Each proposal represents a potential intellectual breakthrough, transformative learning experience, or consequential service. These things are at the heart of our mission as a university. Directly or indirectly, they make lives better, and unparalleled extramural funding means unparalleled accomplishments on behalf of the citizens of Ohio, our nation, and the world. Following are some examples.
Louis DeBiasio Mathematics
DeBiasio received a grant from NSF for research that leads to better understanding the mathematical structures at the heart of combinatorial problems with implications for computer science and network design.
Ann Dell’Aria Art
Dell’Aria received funding from the non-profit arts organization FotoFocus to curate a public art exhibition featuring moving images projected onto buildings at Miami University. The exhibition engages the concept of “shedding light” onto a topic of conceptual, political, or social importance.
John Femiani Computer Science & Software Engineering
Femiani was engaged by In-Depth Engineering Corp. to design algorithms that can be used in the development of a mine-detection system. Femiani’s approach augments conventional machine learning with novel techniques.
Andrew Jones Chemical, Paper, & Biomedical Engineering
Jones received funding from PsyBio Therapeutics to enhance and evaluate the commercial viability of a cost-effective psilocybin production method. Matt McMurray, of Psychology, is a co-investigator. Psilocybin is perhaps best known as the compound responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of so-called “magic” mushrooms. But it is also increasingly recognized as a clinical treatment for substance abuse and addiction, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as reported in the following media outlets:
The expense of conventional production methods — including cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms — has been a barrier to more widespread clinical use of psilocybin. The Jones lab’s cost-effective technique promises to increase access to this treatment option by enabling the development of affordable pharmaceutical drugs.
Michael Lipsitz Economics
Lipsitz received funding from Duke University to contribute to analysis of the effect of non-compete agreement (NCA) enforcement on labor markets, workers’ earnings, and mobility. The analysis includes effects on workers bound and not bound by NCAs and disparate effects on men and women workers.
Jessica McCarty Geography
McCarty received a grant from NASA to map changes and model the future trajectory of land-coverage and land-use in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. McCarty’s departmental colleague Stanley Toops is a co-investigator.
Subedi received funding from from UTHealth to contribute to research on the links between telomere biology and obesity, aging, and cardiometabolic disease risk. Results of the study will inform the assessment of risk, prevention, and treatment of accelerated aging and chronic disease. This funded research is part of the Fels Longitudinal Study, which was begun in Ohio in 1929. Now managed by UTHealth at the University of Texas, it is one of the longest and largest human health studies in the world, and has been the foundation of over 1,000 publications.
Woodruff received funding from SUNY Buffalo to evaluate perceptions and experiences of graduate students and postdoctoral associates involved in an NSF-funded interdisciplinary program involving 10 universities, three research institutes, three national laboratories, and an industry partner.
Matt Saxton Biological Sciences
Saxton received funding from The Ohio State University to contribute to research on how microbes metabolize the herbicide glyphosate. Insight into this process is critical to understanding how herbicide use may contribute to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie and other bodies of water.
This is both my first and last reflection on Miami’s external funding success. Provost Jason Osborne recently named Alicia Knoedler as Vice President for Research & Innovation, effective November 1, 2020, and it will be her perspective you read in our next annual report. But even if I never have another chance to offer the people behind the numbers official thanks and congratulations, I want them to know that I will always be grateful for and proud of their contributions.
The New Faculty Grant Planning and Support (GPS) program is a professional development program designed to support new tenure-track faculty in developing competitive applications for extramural funding programs. Specifically, the program:
Helps new faculty map out a plan for which funding opportunities to target in their first five years at Miami
Offers new faculty grantsmanship mentorship and support
New Faculty GPS consists of two phases.
Phase 1 – Individual Development Plan
In Phase 1, each participant works with an external consultant to create an individual development plan (IDP). The IDP will include goals for teaching, research, and service, and will emphasize external grant-seeking. IDPs are meant to be living documents that can grow and change as participants move through the early stages of their careers.
Phase 2 – Proposals for External Funding
Faculty who are selected to participate in Phase 2 will work one-on-one with a consultant-mentor to develop competitive proposals for external funding — one in each of their five years of participation. The consultant-mentor will provide a complete and comprehensive review of the draft application, and provide:
An overview of important elements of the proposal
Constructive criticism on the draft proposal
Guidance on exploring different options for the research agenda and other elements (e.g., education, professional development) that need to be integrated into certain proposals.
Each Phase 2 participant is expected to work with Research & Sponsored Programs to submit at least one proposal for external funding per year of participation and will submit a brief report to their dean and Research & Innovation annually.
Community meetings and other opportunities
Community meetings will be open to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 participants. All participants are expected to attend these meetings in their first two years of participation. Attendance is optional for those in their third through fifth years of participation. Meetings will be held approximately once a month during the academic year.
The overarching goal of these meetings is to build a community of support, so not all meetings will include formal programming. When formal programming is offered, topics will be selected by participants, and may include:
Talking to program officers
Developing proposal budgets
Developing broader impacts plans for NSF proposals
Tips/advice from funded researchers
Agency-, program-, or opportunity-specific information
Research-related intellectual property – publications and patents
Research ethics and integrity
Research computing support
Programming may be delivered by Research & Innovation staff, other Miami faculty or staff, the participating consultants, or other experts.
New Faculty GPS is not a writing workshop. However, faculty who would like additional peer support and accountability may choose to join other program participants in optional writing groups. Additional program-specific opportunities for networking and professional development may occasionally be offered, and participants are among the first to be notified about opportunities Research & Innovation makes available to Miami’s broader research community.
Results from previous cohorts
The GPS program began in 2018-2019, and in 2019-2020, we welcomed our second cohort of participants. The majority of participants have reported feeling more confident about future proposal submissions. Many participants also said they had or would apply to a “bigger” or more competitive program and that their proposals were of higher quality than they would have been without their participation in the program. The following were things participants mentioned especially liking about the program:
“The accountability and support.”
“[Having an] experienced consultant to work on identifying opportunities and writing applications.”
“Access to consultants and more connection with [Research & Innovation].”
“I have loved working with my consultant, and I also enjoyed some of the professional development sessions quite a bit.”
“The flexibility and feeling that the program is responsive to my needs.”
“The program helped familiarize me with different resources available at Miami University.”
“Learning about the variety of research happening across campus.”
“[The] sense of community.”
Application for 2020-2021 cohort
New Faculty GPS is open to tenure-track faculty (including librarians) in their first or second year of appointment. All eligible faculty were emailed directly with an invitation to apply to the program. Any eligible faculty member who did not receive an email invitation should contact me at johnsthb@MiamiOH.edu or 9-1760 if they are interested in applying. Applications are due by 8:00am on Monday, September 28.
Alicia Knoedler will become Miami University’s vice president for research and innovation (VPRI) on Nov. 1.
She is the former executive associate vice president for research and executive director of the Center for Research Program Development and Enrichment at the University of Oklahoma.
Knoedler will replace Michael Crowder, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, who is leading the Office of Research and Innovation on an interim basis.
Jason Osborne, Miami’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said Knoedler specializes in crafting, leading and implementing initiatives of strategic value to research across all disciplines and a diverse range of research organizations.
“Dr. Knoedler is a national leader in developing university-based research enterprises and talent. She has had substantial success in helping individuals craft career-long scholarship trajectories, has a strong record of supporting underserved disciplines like the arts and humanities, and has led efforts to diversify research leadership nationally,” Osborne said. “I believe she will quickly empower our faculty, staff and students toward more competitive, successful and impactful research programs, fellowships and awards.”
Prior to her positions at the University of Oklahoma, she served to develop and grow research capacity within various roles at Pennsylvania State University and the University of Notre Dame.
Knoedler wrote in her cover letter for the position that she has cultivated and leveraged nontraditional opportunities in developing her approach to research leadership. She recently served as the director of team innovation within Exaptive, Inc.
“What appeals to me about the VPRI position at Miami University are the needs for a holistic approach to strategically advance research/scholarship/creative activity, innovate in areas of research support and operations, embolden researchers at all levels to pursue research challenges of significant relevance and value across a variety of contexts and stakeholders, and assist in the production of and advocacy for collective research outcomes,” she wrote.
Knoedler earned a bachelor’s degree psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and a master’s and doctorate in cognitive psychology from Purdue University. Her research interests focus on various memory processes and optimal conditions for remembering as well as dynamic team behaviors and the contributions of team translators as catalysts within research teams.
Osborne noted that over the course of her career, Knoedler has developed a number of programs in support of the development and expansion of research, scholarship and creative activity.
She co-led Oklahoma’s statewide collaborative EPSCoR Track 1 Research Infrastructure Improvement Award, funded by the National Science Foundation, which focused on the socio-ecological approaches to studying climate variability in Oklahoma.
Knoedler also served on the Oklahoma Governor’s Science and Technology Council, which reports to the Oklahoma secretary for science and technology.
In service and leadership to research development at the national level, Knoedler is a founding member, former member of the board of directors and was president and immediate past-president of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP). She was recently named one of 13 NORDP inaugural fellows.
Knoedler has collaborated with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ (APLU) Council on Research to develop and lead training, professional development and leadership opportunities for senior research leaders and those aspiring to such positions.
She is a member of the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s business and operations advisory committee and vice chair of the NSF-wide committee on equal opportunities in science and engineering, drawing a connection between the NSF’s commitment to broadening participation and the commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging from audiences, institutions and organizations across the nation.
Collaborators from another institution may be added to a Miami University IRB protocol using the personnel form. Miami requires persons engaged in research using humans as subjects to complete training using the CITI online system. Prior to submitting the personnel form to the Research Ethics and Integrity Office, the collaborator will need to complete the training or, if they have completed it at another institution, affiliate their CITI account with Miami University. Below are the steps to complete this process on CITI’s website:
Log into your CITI account.
On the home page, scroll down and select “Add Affiliation.”
Select “Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).”
Select “Humans as Subjects IRB Basic Course.”
Complete any modules highlighted in blue including three electives
Once the additional modules are complete, our office will receive the completion report from CITI the next day.
University Senate charges the Committee on Faculty Research (CFR) with supporting and encouraging the development of research and creative activity at Miami University. In carrying out this charge, the CFR administers programs that support and celebrate faculty research and creative activities. Application to these programs is made through Research & Innovation. The CFR Program Guidelines provide information, eligibility criteria, and application procedures for these programs.
Faculty Research Grants Program
The Faculty Research Grants Program encourages proposals addressing new avenues of research and scholarship, either for the investigator or for the institution, initiating new projects and pilot studies, or testing novel or transformative research/creative ideas. In keeping with broader university-wide diversity and inclusion efforts, a portion of available funds will be reserved for research, scholarship, and creative activities in the areas of social justice, human rights, diversity, and inclusion.
University Faculty Scholar & University Junior Faculty Scholar Awards
The University Faculty Scholar and Junior Faculty Scholar Awards programs celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding Miami researchers each year. Exemplary Miami faculty members are nominated by their peers to be recognized for superior research and scholarly activities. The deadline for Research & Innovation to receive nominations for the University Faculty Scholar and Junior Faculty Scholar Awardsis Friday, December 4, 2020.
Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, & Performance Costs (PREP) Program
In addition to these faculty recognition programs, the CFR oversees the Publication, Reprint, Exhibition, and Performance Costs (PREP) Program, which provides reimbursement for certain costs associated with research and creative activity. PREP applications may be submitted at any time during the year.
The Committee invites you to apply for support from these CFR programs and to nominate colleagues you believe are qualified for the University Faculty Scholar or Junior Faculty Scholar Award. Degree and rank at the date of application shall determine eligibility. The Committee encourages proposals from all disciplines and campuses at Miami University.
Programmatic questions may be directed to Rick Page, 2020-2021 CFR Chair (513-529-2281). Administrative questions may be directed to Research & Innovation (513-529-3600).