30 November 2014

Since Fall Semester is winding down, I attempted to get as much work done as possible in this month. What sets faculty apart from graduate students is the expectation to bring external funding. The change is not earth-shattering, but it still requires a lot of time commitments to prepare convincing proposals. While I was sitting down at the keyboard to draft the proposal for the Layman Awards, The Grant Application Writer’s Workbook - USDA-NIFA version came to my attention. As the proposal deadline was around the corner and a year-long Research Development Fellows Program had even not started yet, I decided to give it a try.

In retrospect, I am very glad to find this Workbook because I have learned quite a lot of new tips and also gained tremendous insights as to how the grant review process actually functions as I leaf through the book. I believe it would be a good investment to obtain a copy of this series, especially for those who has never gone through a formal training on grant writing. I felt the need to try NSF and NIH versions as well. Thanks to the Workbook, I successfully submitted my proposal for the Layman Awards on Friday, November 14. On a related note, I attended a NURAMP session titled “Elective 5 - Electronic Submission Systems” on the 4th, which was the third NURAMP session I participated in this semester. I was acquainted with the two electronic submission systems: Grants.gov and FastLane. Unfortunately, we have been informed that our multi-disciplinary grant proposal submitted to the Nebraska Research Initiative was not funded. I have no doubt that we will be able to channel this rejection into a new step and hopefully find a place to fund the idea.

The second highlight of the month was that I gave a research presentation at a company. While I am not going to elaborate my talk here, I want to note that it was my pleasure to share my past and current research projects as well as the research program I am striving to develop at UNL.

Several events including two big meetings took place in Lincoln this month. Big Data Symposium: ‘From Data to Knowledge’ was held at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center between November 6 and 7. The other was Sheep Genomics Workshop co-hosted by UNL, USDA, and USMARC. I was fortunate to meet the National program leader of the Animal Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics section for the first time. The workshop provided me a chance to familiarize myself with a pool of sheep geneticists in the US. Participating in Search process orientation seminar was a requirement for faculty serving on a search committee. On Monday, November 24, I completed the orientation where I got to learn the clear distinction between ‘Minimum Required Qualifications’ and ‘Preferred Qualifications’. Also, I attended the 2014 Annual Research Fair Faculty Recognition Luncheon at the Nebraska Union Centennial Room on the 19th as a member of RDFP. I became acquainted with a faculty member from the Department of Plant Pathology through this luncheon. During the Thanksgiving hiatus, I completed two mandatory online training sessions assigned by Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) for all employees: Core-Injury & Illness Prevention Plan and Core-Emergency Preparedness.

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