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Research Newsletter
January 20, 2015  

National Science Foundation (NSF) & American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS)

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) have launched the Beyond the Box National Digitization Innovation Competition. The initiative will award $1 million to the individual or team who develops a novel way to accurately and efficiently capture digital images of insect specimens and their associated data from a standard museum drawer of insects.

The Beyond the Box Digitization Challenge has been designed to stimulate individuals or teams to solve a problem that is hindering scientific research and innovation - the inability to quickly and accurately digitize specimens and associated data in a standard tray of insects in a natural history museum. Solving this problem will help advance research as well as contribute to improved public health, environmental management, and agriculture by providing scientists, farmers, health care providers, and citizen scientists with access to our nation's insect collections. Moreover, the solution to this problem will almost certainly find additional applications in scientific and commercial settings. The winning entry will receive up to $1 million for the development of a hardware and software system that automates digitization of pinned insect specimens, without damaging the specimens--one of the most challenging biocollections digitization tasks.

Visit the Beyond the Box website for more information on the challenge.

 
Sparta Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

CWRU's Office of Research Administration has recently added a page to its website listing answers to some of the common questions we get from Sparta users. These Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQs, range from what to do for specific error messages to how to handle common confusing situations in Sparta. We will continue to add to these FAQs, and are always open to suggestions. These questions are searchable with your browser search feature so you can look for specific keywords if you like.

The FAQs can be found at http://research.case.edu/Prop_Dev/Sparta/SpartaFAQ.cfm or on the research.case.edu website under the Sparta Info link. If you have specific questions or are having issues, you can always reach the Sparta support team at sparta@case.edu.

 
New Biographical Sketch Format Required for Grant Applications

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that a new biographical sketch format is to be used in all grant applications with due dates on or after January 25th, 2015.

See the NIH Guide notice for more details: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-024.html

 
Shipping Abroad in Compliance with Export Regulations

The federal export control laws can apply when regulated items are being shipped abroad. Before shipping a device, materials, or other items abroad, CWRU personnel should contact either the Environmental Health and Safety Office or the Compliance Office so that an employee trained in export compliance can determine whether an export license is needed prior to making the shipment.

These are the steps that all CWRU researchers should follow when planning to make an outgoing international shipment of items or materials:

  1. The CWRU Principal Investigator works with the CWRU Technology Transfer Office (“TTO”) to determine whether a Material Transfer Agreement (“MTA”) is needed prior to the shipment. The CWRU PI initiates this by submitting a completed MTA Review Form found at https://research.case.edu/forms.cfm#tech_mgt.
  2. If the Technology Transfer Office determines that an MTA is needed between CWRU and the overseas organization to receive the items or materials, the Principal Investigator and TTO work together to put it in place. Once the MTA is completed and signed by CWRU and the recipient organization, the Technology Transfer Office will forward a copy of the final contract to the PI. The PI should keep a copy of the final MTA for easy reference. Note that MTAs not only help to ensure compliance with the federal export laws, but they also protect investigators’ intellectual property rights.
  3. Before making the shipment overseas, the PI should contact the CWRU Environmental Health and Safety Office. This step is necessary so that the Environmental Health and Safety Office can analyze the contents of the shipment in light of the export regulations and determine whether the shipment can proceed immediately, or whether federal pre-authorization is needed. If the Technology Transfer Office determined that an MTA was needed, then the PI should provide Environmental Health and Safety with a copy of the signed MTA so that it can match the requested shipment with the formal contract.
If you have questions on how the export regulations impact specific international shipments, contact the Compliance Office: Lisa Palazzo, Director of Export Control and Privacy Management, at 368-5791, or Boyd Kumher, University Chief Compliance, Export Control and Privacy Management Officer, at 368-0833; or email exportcontrol@case.edu.

For more information on the export control regulations, including the full text of CWRU’s Export Control Policy Statement, visit http:www.case.edu/compliance/exportcontrol/.

Questions regarding Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs), should be addressed to Andrew Jarrell in the Technology Transfer Office, Andrew.jarrell@case.edu, 368-1401.

 
Limited Submission Reminder: NSF Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR)

Key Deadlines: March 23, 2015, 5:00pm (CWRU Internal Submission Deadline), July 13, 2015, 5:00pm EST.

The Collections in Support of Biological Research (CSBR) Program provides funds: 1) for improvements to secure, improve, and organize collections that are significant to the NSF BIO-funded research community; 2) to secure collections-related data for sustained, accurate, and efficient accessibility of the collection to the biological research community; and 3) to transfer collection ownership responsibilities.

The CSBR program provides for enhancements that secure and improve existing collections, result in accessible digitized specimen-related data, and develop better methods for specimen curation and collection management. Requests should demonstrate a clear and urgent need to secure the collection, and the proposed activities should address that need. Biological collections supported include established living stock/culture collections, vouchered non-living natural history collections, and jointly-curated ancillary collections such as preserved tissues and DNA libraries.

For more information on this limited submission opportunity, visit the Office of Research Administration website.

 

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