Research Update for Chairs and Directors - January 11, 2022

Dear Chairs and Directors, 

Happy new year! We hope you found opportunities to rest and recharge over the winter closure. As always, you are welcome and encouraged to share the updates and reminders in this message with faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students who may find the information and links helpful. 


Transition announcement

As announced in December, Kam Moler has been named transition dean of the new school focused on climate and sustainability. This will allow her to put all of her energy into preparing for a Sept. 2022 opening of the school as the search for the long-term dean continues. As she takes on this new role, Kam has stepped back temporarily from her role as vice provost and dean of research. Starting this month, David Studdert is serving as acting vice provost of research, responsible for research policy, compliance, ethics and integrity issues university wide. Tim Stearns is serving as acting dean of research, responsible for overseeing the eighteen independent labs, centers, and institutes and the three shared facilities that report to the Vice Provost and Dean of Research organization. David and Tim will pick up the baton on this monthly letter, and they are looking forward to working with our research community in their new capacities.


Health and safety update

As outlined in messages on Wednesday and Friday of last week, the university has put several policies in place to limit transmission of the Omicron variant on campus and support the resumption of in-person academic activities. Updated policies include a phased return to in-person instruction for undergraduates, as well as changes to our isolation strategy to allow more undergraduates to isolate in their regular assigned housing.


The university has also implemented short-term limitations on campus events and gatherings, including a prohibition on indoor events and gatherings until January 28. Essential academic and administrative meetings and trainings can continue, but conferences, social events, and other gatherings should be moved outdoors, moved online, or rescheduled. School and unit leaders have also been encouraged to provide flexibility in work settings, where feasible, through the end of January. 


As we confront the challenges posed by the Omicron variant, we want to take this opportunity to encourage all members of our research community to get boosted, if you have not done so already; to adhere to testing policies; and to wear a well-fitting, high-quality face covering (N95, KN95, or KF94) indoors and whenever you are near others.


Funding opportunities spotlight

Below are a few prominent sponsored research funding opportunities to spotlight this month. A longer list curated by the Research Development Office (RDO) is available here.



In addition, the NSF Convergence Accelerator is soliciting ideas for FY2023 opportunities by Feb 28 (DCL NSF 22-021). This program accelerates solutions toward societal impact through a multi-step process, including ideation, workshops, and Phase I planning and learning cohorts, followed by Phase II research and development. Topics for the main NSF FY2022 call for Phase I & II proposals were just announced (see DCL 22-036) and the solicitation is expected soon. A joint NSF-DOD call for Phase I & II focused on operating through 5G infrastructure is open (NSF 22-538; NOI due to NSF by 02/16/2022). 


Stay safe and be well, 

Tim, David, Serena 


Tim Stearns, Acting Dean of Research; Frank Lee and Carol Hall Professor of Biology and Professor of Genetics


David Studdert, Acting Vice Provost of Research; Professor of Health Policy and of Law


Serena Rao, Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration, Vice Provost and Dean of Research