Monthly Update From the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development


U of A Expands Applied Research and Innovation Agreements

Photo by Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has expanded its Applied Research and Innovation Agreements (ARIA) to include an option that permits the sponsor to lock in a license for any resulting intellectual property at the time the agreement is written.

“In an effort to turn discovery into development, the U of A now offers three research agreement options that provide certainty and flexibility to industry partners through all stages of research and development,” said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development.

The new agreement removes ambiguity of who may own and manage any Intellectual Property (IP) created as a result of the project, allowing the sponsor to capture and retain exclusive right to the work without additional negotiations.  This new and simplified agreement, called IP Upfront, was developed to attract sponsors by removing a significant contract friction point.

Ten faculty participated in an initial training session in December to equip these investigators with the information regarding the new option, the advantages the U of A has to offer a potential sponsor, confidentiality requirements, and the process by which an agreement is prepared. Additional information and training sessions are planned for the spring semester.



Evolutionary Ecologist Uses NSF Grant to Investigate Species Diversity, Abundance  

A damselfly from the genus Enallagma. Copyright R. Steven Krotzer

As an evolutionary ecologist, Adam Siepielski is interested in combining evolutionary and ecological studies to understand what shapes the diversity and abundance of species in an environment.

“One of the most important biological questions is why there are often so many ecologically very similar species found together in an environment,” said Siepielski, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “Given the recent uptick in species extinction rates and thus loss of species diversity on this planet, understanding how biodiversity can be maintained has gained a sense of urgency on the part of biologists.”

Siepielski is in the third year of a research project supported by a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the contributions of ecological and evolutionary processes in the community structures of the damselfy, an abundant insect similar to the dragonfly that is smaller and has a slimmer body.

Siepielski was awarded the NSF grant when he was on the faculty at the University of San Diego and $202,000 was transferred to the U of A when he joined the biological sciences faculty last fall.



Researchers Identify Species of Bacteria Linked to Lameness in Broiler Chickens

Douglas Rhoads, University Professor of biological sciences. Photo by Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas.

Researchers in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences, and Arkansas High Performance Computing Center have identified a species of bacteria that had never before been associated with lameness in broiler chickens, bringing scientists closer to finding a way to prevent infections.

Using genetic tools and chickens raised on wire flooring, the research team determined the bacterium Staphylococcus agnetis is significantly involved with a condition leading to lameness in those broiler chickens, said Douglas Rhoads, University Professor of biological sciences and director of the Cell and Molecular Biology interdisciplinary graduate program at the U of A.

The bacteria had been associated with inflammation of the mammary gland in cattle but not in the legs of broiler chickens. Rough estimates are that lameness in the Arkansas poultry industry could cost growers about $20 million a year due the loss of birds, Rhoads said.

The team published its findings on Nov. 25 in PLOS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science.

“Lameness in broiler chickens is a significant animal welfare and financial issue,” Rhoads said. “This is the first report of this poorly described pathogen in chickens.” 




RSSP Faculty Training Available for Pivot, RazorGrant, NSF/NIH Biosketches, NSF PAPPG

Photo by Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas.

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is offering training sessions this spring semester for faculty who are interested in finding external funding for their scholarship.

The sessions will focus on: RazorGrant; Pivot, a resource for identifying, tracking, and sharing grant-funding opportunities; NSF and NIH biosketch formats; and changes to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.

NSF PAPPG sessions are scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Jan. 21 in Bell Engineering, Room 2269, and 10:30 a.m., Jan. 22 in Mullins Library, Room 104.

Pivot training sessions are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Jan. 20; 3:30 p.m., Feb. 2; 10:30 a.m., Feb. 18; and 3:30 p.m., March 7. All sessions will be held in Arkansas Union, Room A354. RazorGrant training sessions are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Jan. 21 and 3:30 p.m., Feb. 16. Both sessions will be held in the ARKU, Room A354.

Biosketch workshops schedule: 10:30 a.m., Jan. 19, J.B. Hunt, Room 234; 3:30 p.m., Feb. 4, Mullins, Room 104; 3:30 p.m., March 2, Mullins, Room 104; 10:30 a.m., April 4, Mullins, Room 104.




Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
205 Administration Building
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

The Office of Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development has added several electronic distribution lists relating to subjects of interest to the University of Arkansas research community. More information about the types of lists and registering for them can be found here.

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty and staff in December, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.

  • Bryan Hill, $1,703,037, Arkansas Department of Education
  • *Adam Siepielski, $202,024, National Science Foundation
  • Jingyi Chen, $99,594, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • William I. Fox, $95,000, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • J.D. Willson, $61,933, Weyerhaeuser
  • Roy A. McCann, $60,000, Entergy Corp.