Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report FY 2007 TABLE OF CONTENTS by chenmeixiu

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									                    Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report FY 2007


                               TABLE OF CONTENTS


                                       Page Number             Number of Pages


Table of Contents                      1                       1

Executive Summary                      2                       9

Appendices                             10                      63

   1. State Committee & Advisory Council Membership (3)
   2. Scientific Collaborators (1)
   3. Management Activities (9)
   4. Activities and Findings (8)
   5. Outreach Activities (1)
   6. Publications (1)
   7. Scientific Contributions (2)
   8. Annual Conference Agenda (2)
   9. AAAS report (25)
   10. Evaluation Framework (10)
   11. Budget Report (2)
                     Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report FY 2007


                                  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


In its first year, the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement grant:
“Catalyzing a Life Sciences Research, Education and Innovation Network (RII2),” has
galvanized the state’s efforts to build a life sciences research platform and to develop the human
capital necessary to grow and sustain its research capacity. The early success of the program is
founded in a strong network of the state’s 11 institutions of higher education, government
agencies and industry partners. These partner institutions recognize the value added by NSF
EPSCoR and the unique opportunity the program provides for creating a research, education and
innovation network in Rhode Island.

   1. Partnerships
   Partnerships are key elements for developing the state’s innovation capacity; providing the
   necessary linkages to build a statewide system for innovation.

       1.1. RI-NSF EPSCoR Partnership
       The Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII2) proposal
       was awarded in May, 2006 for $6.75 million over three years. The state quickly
       leveraged this investment, allocating $1.5 million to promote collaborative research and
       enhance R&D –related economic development opportunities. As part of this effort, the
       Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) established the Rhode
       Island Research Alliance Collaborative Research Awards Program. Thirty-two scientists
       across 15 institutions have received funding for a total of eight collaborative research
       projects. Winners of the inaugural competitive award program include academic and
       industry scientists in medicine, engineering, chemistry, biology, oceanography and
       environmental science. Researchers from the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Center for
       Proteomics were awarded funds to purchase an electro-spray injected tandem mass
       spectrometer devoted to proteomics research support. The equipment will be centrally
       housed and maintained within the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Center for Proteomics at
       Brown University.

       1.2. Rhode Island State EPSCoR Committee and Rhode Island EPSCoR Advisory
            Council
       The Rhode Island collaborative research network is well represented by the state’s
       standing governance and advisory committees: the Rhode Island State EPSCoR
       Committee and Rhode Island EPSCoR Advisory Council. The State Committee makes
       certain that EPSCoR funded programs are clearly integrated and aligned with the state’s
       research infrastructure and economic development objectives. The NSF EPSCoR
       Advisory Council represents all 11 of the state’s institutions of higher education. This is
       likely the first time scientists and administrators from all eleven institutions have come
       together for a single purpose -- to build the state’s life sciences research and education
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


      capacity. Seven of the schools contribute to and receive direct support from the NSF
      EPSCoR RII2 grant (Brown University, Community College of Rhode Island, Providence
      College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University, and
      the University of Rhode Island). (See Appendix 1 for list of State Committee and
      Advisory Council participants.)

      1.3. Research Collaborations
      The NSF EPSCoR and INBRE programs have begun to identify economies of scale that
      can be achieved through collaboration. In determining both the industry standard and
      value added capabilities necessary to build a competitive life science research platform,
      NSF EPSCoR identified key pieces of equipment in adjacent NIH INBRE and COBRE-
      funded facilities that could be leveraged to enhance existing capacity in standard life
      sciences technologies. Researchers engaged in EPSCoR and INBRE programs are
      currently making use of the new equipment, and INBRE has provided the proteomics
      core with videoconferencing equipment so that short courses and seminars can be
      accessed from both campuses. (See Appendix 2 for list of scientific collaborators).

  2. Goals and Objectives
  The two primary goals of the Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR project are:

          Attain national prominence and competitive research excellence in the life
          sciences;

          Foster and support the synergistic integration of research, education, innovation
          and communication to build a strong statewide network of RI EPSCoR partners.

  The objectives proposed to meet these goals were intended to most effectively address
  RI’s major barriers to research success: 1) insufficient /inadequate lab space; 2) lack of
  critical mass; 3) lack of state of the art instrumentation, 4) lack of training, 5) ineffective
  collaboration across institutions, and 6) lack of a coherent plan for the development of
  research capacity. The grant objectives are to:

      Establish centralized core facilities in proteomics, genomics and marine life sciences;

      Establish the RI EPSCoR Academy to develop the human capital necessary to build and
      sustain growth in life sciences research and education, and to develop the NSF EPSCoR
      communication network.

   3. Project Milestones
   The program is off to a strong start, with implementation mechanisms in place to meet the
   project objectives in Year 1.

      3.1. Creation of Statewide Core Facilities
      The first objective of RII2 is to build a centralized, cost effective research platform that
      will serve researchers state-wide, and to make targeted investments at 4-year partner
      institutions to support individual faculty research. The recent review of RI NSF EPSCoR



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


      conducted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) stated,
      “These resources have been well designed and are effectively serving a community of
      investigators. Brown and URI are to be commended for their substantial financial
      contributions to build (or renovate) physical spaces, to acquire new equipment, and to
      provide personnel for these core resources,” (see Appendix 9).

         3.1.1. Core Facilities Management
         Each core facility is managed by a team of URI/Brown faculty Co-Directors. In Year
         2, core facilities managers will be co-funded by NSF EPSCoR, Brown University and
         the University of Rhode Island.

         Faculty Management Teams:
            Dr. Edward Hawrot, Brown University, Co-Director, Center for Proteomics and
                   Genomics
            Dr. David Rowley, URI, Co-Director, Center for Proteomics
            Dr. Jennifer Specker, URI, Co-Director, Center for Marine Life Sciences
            Dr. David Smith, URI, Co-Director, Center for Marine Life Sciences
            Dr. David Nelson, URI, Co-Director, Center for Genomics
            Dr. David Rand, Brown University, Co-Director, Center for Genomics and
                   Marine Life Science, Co-Director, Graduate Student Fellowship Program
            Dr. Scott Nixon, University of Rhode Island, Co-Director, Graduate Student
                   Fellowship Program

         3.1.2. Rhode Island Research Centers for Genomics and Proteomics
         The proteomics and genomics core facilities have been established and all equipment
         budgeted for year one has been purchased. Brown University and the University of
         Rhode Island have dedicated space for core facilities operations at 70 Ship Street,
         Providence, and at the NSF initiated Genomics Sequencing Center in Kingston (MRI
         Grant No. DBI 0215393) now the Rhode Island Genomics and Sequencing Center
         (RIGSC). Management plans are in place for both facilities. URI and Brown
         University Co-Directors will ensure that the management plans for the two facilities
         are cohesive. A website has been developed for the proteomics core facility, and the
         genomics core has updated its existing website to reflect the new fee structure and the
         EPSCoR designation and mission as well as newly funded equipment and
         capabilities. These websites will be linked to the central EPSCoR website
         (http://biomed.brown.edu/epscor_proteomics ; http://www.uri.edu/research/gsc/ ). (A
         detailed list of equipment and status of management plans appear in Appendix 3. )

         3.1.3. Rhode Island Center of Excellence in Marine Life Sciences
         Establishment of the marine life sciences core facility is the most challenging of the
         three cores, but is well underway. A consulting firm has been identified to provide
         mechanical engineering services for the research aquarium facility including seawater
         cooling and distribution systems. Equipment to outfit the aquarium will be purchased
         once design work is completed. An NSF facilities upgrade grant and university match
         awarded to Dr. Specker provided Siemens high efficiency boilers, a high capacity hot
         water heater used for seawater systems maintenance, walk-in freezer, emergency



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


         power service and new trench drain. Space has been allocated for a central prep lab
         and lab equipment is being purchased in order for work to begin this summer (see
         Appendix 3 for list of equipment). Management plans for the Center are being
         developed, and information to access the existing facility and newly funded
         equipment is being advertised on the Graduate School of Oceanography website
         (http://www.gso.uri.edu/seawaterfacilities/). This information will be linked to the
         proteomics and genomics core facilities websites as well as to the central EPSCoR
         website.

         3.1.4. Institutional Research Support
         Targeted investments were made to support research at five, 4-year partner
         institutions. Subcontracts were initiated at the start of the granting period, allocating
         resources for faculty summer support; travel to scientific conferences and training
         seminars; and for supplies and equipment. All 4 schools developed internal review
         procedures to select faculty to be supported by the grant, and successfully allocated
         funds. In the case of Rhode Island College (RIC), the timing of the grant precluded
         faculty summer support, but an exception was made to provide faculty release time
         during the academic year. The cultural change that this step represents is significant,
         as it was the first time that RIC allowed faculty release time for scientific research.

         3.1.5. Research Outputs
         Detailed descriptions of the activities and findings resulting from work supported by
         NSF EPSCoR appear in the Appendices and entered in FastLane as text):
         o “Activities and Finding” (Appendix 4)
         o “Outreach Activities” (Appendix 5)
         o “Publications” (Appendix 6)
         o “Scientific Contributions” (Appendix 7)

      3.2. Establishment of Rhode Island EPSCoR Academy
      Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR proposed to establish the Rhode Island EPSCoR Academy as
      the home for all integrative research, education and outreach activities. Academy
      programs were prioritized to compliment the development of the state-wide research
      platform. These programs are intended to address the need to develop a pipeline of
      students and faculty trained in new research technologies. Therefore, activities initiated in
      Year 1 included: 1) faculty training and support; 2) graduate research fellowships; 3)
      undergraduate research, education and training centers; 4) faculty diversity workshop;
      and 5) mechanisms for communicating among participants to build and sustain the
      growing EPSCoR network.

         3.2.1. Undergraduate Research, Education and Training Centers
         The Rhode Island Center for Undergraduate Research, Education and Outreach in
         Marine Life Sciences has been established at Roger Williams University. Operating
         plans will be developed by the recently hired coordinator, Dr. James Lemire, in
         conjunction with strategic planning involving RWU faculty (a retreat was held for
         this purpose in January, 2007). Already, there is active student participation in Center
         activities. Outreach efforts have included site visits by several groups of high school



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


         students and teachers. The AAAS noted: “…our panel was impressed with the energy
         of the activities and student participation we observed during our visit.

         The Community College of Rhode Island has overcome significant institutional and
         cultural barriers to establish the Rhode Island Education and Outreach Center for
         Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing. Many of the initial challenges have been
         addressed, including the recent allocation of central laboratory space. The hiring
         process for a Center Coordinator was initiated in April, 2007. Current Center
         initiatives are to support and improve technical skills training, and to expand outreach
         efforts. The first plan will be accomplished by leveraging an NSF funded
         Biotechnology Certificate Program Implementation grant to develop
         biomanufacturing curriculum modules, and by addressing critical gaps in available
         supplies and small equipment. Ongoing outreach efforts include developing
         cooperative strategies with life sciences industry, STEM recruitment and retention
         strategies, and dissemination of information about educational and research
         opportunities. CCRI’s EPSCoR PI, Josephine Pino represents the program on the RI
         High School Biotechnology Advisory Committee. This group is responsible for
         developing HS teacher biotechnology training and curriculum for the Rhode Island
         Department of Education (RIDE) “Biosciences Academies.” RI NSF EPSCoR will
         partner with RIDE and partially fund this activity in Year 2.

         3.2.2. Faculty Advancement
         Short Courses and Seminars in new technologies are currently being developed by
         core facilities directors and faculty from all of the participating institutions. We have
         begun by identifying common training needs so that faculty at participating
         institutions can take full advantage of the new core capabilities, and related
         technologies to advance their individual research. Core facilities managers to be
         hired in Year 2 will assist with delivery of the workshop series. Videoconferencing
         equipment on loan from the URI INBRE program will be used to engage faculty and
         students across campuses.

         Technical training is currently being provided on an ad hoc basis via on-line manuals,
         by faculty and graduate students, and by the facility manager in the more firmly
         established genomics sequencing center. These mechanisms will become more
         formalized once core facilities managers are hired at Brown and GSO in Year 2.

         Genomics core facility (RIGSC) users have been informed of new sample submission
         requirements for DNA sequencing and fragment analysis. Standard operating
         procedures have been completed for most applications. RIGSC provides on-going
         training in instrument operation and sample preparation for research procedures such
         as real-time PCR analysis. In the proteomics core, Joao Paulo, a graduate student in
         the MCB program at Brown, attended a Biacore training session. He has been
         maintaining the instrument, and he has performed initial pilot studies. Joao also has
         trained additional users including graduate students in the Jogl and Mierke laboratory
         (Brown). Joao was an undergraduate at Providence College and has a Master's degree
         from URI. The instrumentation will be included in courses at Brown University and



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


         Providence College. On line training manuals have been developed for the
         Proteomics core and are now available via their website.

         3.2.3. Graduate Student Fellowship Program
         The University of Rhode Island and Brown University have standardized tuition and
         stipend levels so that graduate students participating in the EPSCoR fellowship
         program will work as a cohort. Students are being cross-trained in inter-disciplinary
         techniques that support the central marine life sciences focus. This will allow them to
         utilize an array of new technologies that support a broad range of life sciences
         disciplines.

         A standardized recruitment and review procedure was developed by the URI/Brown
         EPSCoR graduate student coordinators. In Year 1, a Brown University graduate
         student, Robert Haney was supported to work with Dr. David Rand, and at URI, two
         students, Caitlin Fogarty and LeAnn Pritchard were supported to work with Dr.
         Bethany Jenkins during the 2007 spring semester and continue into the summer.

         These students were trained in the skills of molecular biology, molecular population
         genetics, bioinformatics and environmental analysis; in the new areas of
         environmental microbiology; in the use of facilities supported by the Genomics and
         Marine Life Sciences cores; and trained to set up and operate a state of the science
         membrane inlet mass spectrometer.

         This summer, we will send 3 URI and 2 Brown graduate students to a training session
         being held in Boston on the topic of “Current Trends in Microcalorimetry.” This will
         be an important opportunity for them to both learn of the cutting-edge research in one
         of the fastest growing biophysical methods being used today in the life sciences, and
         also will provide them with a chance to meet with peers as well as many leading
         researchers.


         3.2.4. Diversity Recruitment and Mentoring
         RI EPSCoR determined that a successful effort to recruit and mentor minority
         students and faculty in the research focus areas would depend on developing a strong
         mentoring network. This necessitates working with programs already in place at
         participating schools.

         The first RI EPSCoR Institutional Diversity Workshop is planned for September
         2007. The event program is being developed with the assistance of the URI, NSF
         funded minority recruitment coordinator, Dr. Padma Vencantraman. Dr.
         Vecantraman’s background is in marine biology and science writing. The EPSCoR
         event will be timed to coincide with URI’s “Annual Diversity Coordination Meeting,”
         held for the first time last year. Graduate student program directors and deans of
         STEM schools will be encouraged to attend.
                                              Draft Agenda




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


          o Panel discussion: “Lessons Learned” -- student recruitment and successful
            recruitment strategies,” (invited moderator: Dr. Valerie Wilson, Director of the
            Brown University Leadership Alliance );
          o Presentation: “Opportunities for Active Recruitment,” and discussion of a work in
            progress “graduate student recruitment and retention guide,” (Dr. Vencatraman);
          o Presentation: “Encouraging Students of Color – a URI Success Story,” (Dr.
            Jennifer Specker (RI NSF EPSCoR Faculty Co-Director) and Catalina Martinez
            (graduate student);
          o Panel discussion: “Providing a Welcoming Environment for Faculty and Students
            from Underrepresented Minority Populations,” (invited moderator: Dr. Barbara
            Silver, URI NSF ADVANCE program director).

          In its first year, RI NSF EPSCoR engaged 8 faculty members, 9 students and 1 staff
          member from diverse backgrounds. While it is the intent of RI NSF EPSCoR to
          increase the number of students and faculty from underrepresented minority groups
          participating in the program, this will not be the only measure of success. Metrics are
          being developed to ascertain the frequency and effectiveness of contacts made; and
          the efficacy of recruitment and retention efforts. Baseline data is currently being
          collected, but not surprisingly, is not readily available.

   4. Communication
   RI NSF EPSCoR recognizes the value of effective communication vehicles for long-term
   sustainability of the EPSCoR network. In Year 1, two projects were initiated that will assist
   the state’s collaborative research efforts.

      4.1. Annual RI EPSCoR Research Conference
      The first annual RI NSF EPSCoR Research Conference "Expanding Rhode Island's
      Research and Development Capacity through Collaboration" was held on April 12, 2007
      in Providence. The conference was presented by RI NSF EPSCoR and the Rhode Island
      Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC). Conference management was
      provided by the Gordon Research Conference. Recognizing that research that cuts across
      disciplines and institutions is regarded as key to conducting the multidisciplinary projects
      supported by federal and commercial funding programs, this forum was designed to
      provide an opportunity to discuss best practices for collaboration, learn about available
      tools and resources, and to stimulate networking among participants. It was attended by a
      diverse audience of 148 researchers, business and community leaders. RI NSF EPSCoR
      gratefully acknowledges the participation of Dr. Kathie Olsen, Deputy Director of NSF,
      who served as key note speaker, Dr. James Gosz, Senior Program Director for NSF
      EPSCoR who joined Dr. Olsen to provide perspective on challenges faced by researchers
      in the current, highly competitive funding environment, and Mr. George Lennon, NSF
      Public Affairs Director who presented on the topic “Tools and Resources to Make
      Collaborative Research a Reality.” (See Appendix 8 for program agenda.)

      Gordon Research Conference and RI NSF EPSCoR are planning a workshop to provide
      researchers with information about developing and taking part in Gordon conferences
      with the intention of increasing participation by Rhode Island researchers.



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007



       4.2. RI EPSCoR Website
       RI EPSCoR is partnering with the RI Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)
       to develop and maintain a central website and relational database described in the RII2
       grant, that will provide multiple entry portals to the state's various complex research
       programs and initiatives such as core facilities equipment and usage, research data,
       statistical information, access to student research opportunities, etc. This partnership will
       allow us to expand the activity described in the NSF EPSCoR RII proposal to include
       statewide resources beyond those within NSF EPSCoR, allowing for greater
       collaboration among the state's scientists and with industry. It will also ensure
       sustainability of the project as STAC will institutionalize this activity by maintaining and
       populating the database on an ongoing basis, and beyond the NSF grant period. [Refer to
       AAAS recommendations to expand capabilities?]

   5. Sustainability
      Institutional support to sustain the efforts initiated by this grant is evident.
      Brown and URI have provided funds to construct /renovate lab space for the core
      proteomics facilities at 70 Ship Street, Providence, and in the new Center for
      Biotechnology and Life Sciences which will house central core facilities for genomics
      work. URI broke ground for the Center in March, 2007. The URI Graduate School of
      Oceanography has allocated lab space and is supporting the renovation of aquarium
      facilities partially funded by an NSF Facilities Upgrade grant recently awarded to Dr. J.
      Specker (see Appendix 3) and NSF EPSCoR. Participating institutions have also
      dedicated lab space and provided faculty release time to support the project, notably
      CCRI and Roger Williams University, host institutions for NSF EPSCoR undergraduate
      research and education centers (.5fte of each coordinator position will be funded by the
      host institutions).

       Searches at URI have been approved for 2 faculty hires planned for Year 1. Brown has
       made 2 faculty hires in The Center for Computational Molecular Biology; 2 faculty hires
       in the Environmental Change Initiative; 1 faculty hire in The Center for Genomics and
       Proteomics/Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Searches
       are ongoing in CCMB (one position) and ECI (one position).

       Several applications for external funding have been submitted to NSF, NIH and the RI
       Research Alliance to support NSF EPSCoR initiated projects. An NIH S10 will provide
       partial support for the purchase of Circular Dichroism Spectrophotometer: Jasco J-815 in
       the proteomics core facility (Dr. Dale Mierke); an electro-spray injected tandem mass
       spectrometer funded by the RI Research Alliance will also support proteomics research in
       the EPSCoR core facility (Drs. D. Rowley, E. Hawrot).

  6.   Evaluation
       6.1. AAAS Evaluation and Assessment
       The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conducted a review
       of Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR during January 2007. The purpose of the review was to
       evaluate the program and provide guidance for its future success.



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007



      AAAS found the program to be well established with some obvious strengths and
      opportunities for advancement. Overall, the review process provided an invaluable
      external perspective. The panel’s specific recommendations for developing business
      models to ensure sustainability of the core facilities and suggestions to build on the
      planned communications mechanisms were particularly valuable. Meetings are planned
      with EPSCoR researchers and with the university and college presidents/provosts to
      review the report and discuss next steps. (See Appendix 9 “Assessment and Review of
      the Rhode Island EPSCoR, Final report of the AAAS Review Panel, February 2007.”)

      6.2. Evaluation Framework
      A comprehensive evaluation framework has been developed by Ninigret Partners, a
      consulting firm specializing in business model development and evaluation. The
      framework utilizes an input-output chain to track quantitative and qualitative progress
      within the grant period, and to project future outcomes. (See Appendix 10 for a detailed
      presentation of the framework.)

      Data collection and reporting functions will be web-based, supported by a relational
      database to allow collection from multiple sources and include reporting capability to
      diverse audiences. Qualitative data will be collected using on-line surveys (e.g. faculty
      and student/fellow satisfaction; communication & outreach efforts). Quantitative data
      will be collected using on-line templates based on the input-output chain framework (e.g.
      facility usage, research activities, etc.) at regular intervals. Once collected, dated will be
      aggregated to produce reports to RI EPSCoR Management, NSF EPSCoR Office and
      diverse RI audiences.

   7. Conclusion
   At the conclusion of Year 1, the progress of this project is substantial. RI NSF EPSCoR has
   successfully matched NSF’s investment in people, tools & ideas by continuing to develop the
   Rhode Island EPSCoR collaborative network. The very positive external review provided by
   the American Advancement of Science confirms that the project is on an appropriate and
   successful course.

  8. Fiscal Management (Spreadsheet is Appendix 11)
  Year 1 management priorities are reflected in the revised budget, with funds to support the
  establishment of core research facilities and associated education and training programs
  taking precedence. Fiscal management is sound, with eight subcontracts to participating
  institutions now in place. As of May 31, 2007, 65% of the total budget will have been
  obligated. The remaining budget is earmarked in large part for 1) salary -- a search has been
  initiated for the CCRI center coordinator; RWU center coordinated was hired in January,
  2007; the search for the RI EPSCoR academy director position has been approved and is
  being initiated; and 2) equipment –the Center for Excellence in Marine Life Sciences can not
  purchase equipment for climate control and flowing seawater regulation until engineering
  studies are completed and space is allocated for the prep lab. Within the last month, the bid
  process to hire a consulting firm has been completed, and GSO has now allocated space for
  the prep lab. It is expected that the remaining balance of $568,000 for this facility will be



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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


  spent quickly once the engineering designs are completed. We will request carry over of
  funds to complete these initiatives at the start of year 2. A detailed budget report is provided
  in Appendix 11.




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007

Appendix 1: Rhode Island State EPSCoR Committee, Executive Committee and
Advisory Council



Rhode Island State EPSCoR Committee

Paul J. Choquette (Chair)
Chairman and CEO, Gilbane, Inc.

Thomas M. Ryan (Co-Chair)
Chairman and CEO, CVS Pharmacy, Inc.

Dr. Clyde Briant (Co-Chair)
Vice President for Research, Brown University

Dr. Jeff Seemann (Co-Chair and Project Director)
Dean, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island

Saul Kaplan
Executive Director, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

Nancy Langrall
Policy Director for United States Senator Jack Reed

Dr. Richard H. Nadolink
Chief Technology Officer, Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Dr. Thomas J. Rockett
Member of the Board of Governors of Higher Education and Vice Provost Emeritus,
University of Rhode Island

William A. Walaska
Senator, State of Rhode Island Senate

Dr. George M. Happ (Ex-Officio Member)
Project Director, Alaska EPSCoR




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007



Rhode Island EPSCoR Executive Committee

Kip Bergstrom
Executive Director, Rhode Island Economic Policy Council

Dr. Clyde Briant
Vice President for Research, Brown University

Saul Kaplan
Executive Director, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

Dr. Kenneth Payne
Director, Rhode Island State Senate Policy Office

Dr. Jeff Seemann
Dean, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007



Rhode Island EPSCoR Advisory Council

Dr. Edythe Anthony
Chair, Department of Biology, Rhode Island College

Dr. Jack Costello
Department of Biology, Providence College

Dr. William Ferrante
Associate Provost, New England Institute of Technology

Deborah Grossman-Garber
Director of Undergraduate Programs and Academic Outreach, College of the Environment and
Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island

Pamela Harrington
Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Rhode Island School of Design

Dr. Jeff Hughes
Associate Dean, Arts and Sciences, Roger Williams University

Dr. Dan McNally
Chair, Department of Science and Technology, Bryant College

Dr. Stanley Thompson
Academic Dean/Principal, Times2 Academy

Dr. Denise Yordy
Chair, Department of Biology, Community College of Rhode Island

Dr. Valerie Wilson
Director, Leadership Alliance
Brown University

Dr. Lisa A. Zuccarelli
Chair, Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences & Department of Chemistry
Salve Regina University




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Appendix 2: Scientific Collaborators


Dr. Bongsup Cho (URI)
Dr. Robinson W. Fulweiler (URI)
Dr. Anne Giblin, Marine Biological Laboratory (SN)
Dr. Bethany Jenkins (URI)
Dr. Hans Paerl, University of North Carolina (SN)
Dr. Rebecca Page (Brown)
Joao Paulo (Brown)
Dr. Wolfgang Peti, (Brown)
Dr. Tatiana Rynearson (URI)
Yana Reshetnyak (URI)
Natia Tsomalia (Brown)

Additional collaborators listed in Appendix 4
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                               5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                  ACTIVITY

RESEARCH PLATFORM
Genomics Core Facility

Equipment Purchased                        Applied Biosystems 3130xl genetic analyzer
                                           Eppendorf epMotion 5075 automated pipetting system
                                           Eppendorf Mastercyler thermal cycler with gradient heating block

Other Funds Expended                       None

Personnel Hired                            N/A

                                           The RIGSC is accessed by card reader door locks with permissions provided as needed; The fee structure for
                                           DNA sequencing and fragment analysis has been revised and reduced to reflect lower consumable costs and
                                           future revisions will be applied when necessary based upon historical evidence for lower costs; When the update
Status of Management Plans                 of the RIGSC website is complete, it will be linked to the EPSCoR website.

                                           We are updating our existing website (www.uri.edu/research/gsc) which has been active since January 2004 to
                                           reflect the new fee structure and the EPSCoR designation and mission as well as newly funded equipment and
Website Development                        capabilities.

EPSCoR Projects Initiated                  see Appendix 4: "Activities and Findings"

Applications for External Funding          Rand, D., STAC proposal with T. Rynearson

Proteomics Core Facility

Equipment Purchased                        Surface Plasmon Resonance: Biacore T-100
                                           Isothermal Titration Calorimetry: Microcal VP-ITC
                                           Differential Scanning Calorimetry: Microcal VP-DSC
                                           Circular Dichroism Spectrophotometer: Jasco J-815 (partial support to complement an NIH S10 award to Dale
                                           Mierke)


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   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                 5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                  ACTIVITY

Other Funds Expended                       • NIH S10 to provide partial support for purchase of Circular Dichroism Spectrophotometer: Jasco J-815
                                           • Brown University providing funds for renovation of area (567 sq ft.) on third floor at 70 Ship Street to serve
                                           as Proteomics Facility.

Personnel Hired                            Search initiated

                                           Access to core facility regulated with key cards which are now available to guest researchers. Active advertising
Status of Management Plans                 via word of mouth and through webpage. Fee structure being developed.
                                           Brown University Division of Biology & Medicine to provide 50% support for Facility Manager as of June 1,
                                           2007.

                                           http://biomed.brown.edu/epscor_proteomics; scheduling will be on-line in the next few weeks; active discussion
Website Development                        about pricing is ongoing.

EPSCoR Projects Initiated                  see Appendix 4 : "Activities and Findings"

Applications for External Funding          Several RI Research Alliance Award applications, NSF applications, NIH applications

Marine Life Sciences Core Facility

Equipment Purchased                        Bay Instruments Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometer, Optical O2 sensors
                                           Design firm has been identified for the installation of a new 40 ton chiller and a new seawater distribution
                                           system which will also include a new aeration distribution and electrical service to make the Aquarium safer and
                                           more friendly to users.
                                           Automated seawater filtration system under review

Other Funds Expended                       NSF Facilites Upgrade grant awarded to Dr. Specker
                                           1.) installation of two new high efficiency boilers with Siemens controls to support marine research during
                                           winter months
                                           2.) installation of new high efficiency, high capacity hot water heater used for seawater systems maintenance.



                                                                                                                                                 2
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                 5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                  ACTIVITY
                                           3.) installation of new chilling system for the “minus 20” walk-in freezer. Freezer contains ice and snow core
                                           samples from the North and South poles, zooplankton and water samples from around the world, sediment
                                           samples, sea birds and mammals whose cause of death awaits analysis, etc.
                                           4.) installation of new trench drain grating to provide wash down capability and increase lab cleanliness
                                           --NSF Match
                                           1.) Installation of emergency power service to Aquarium to protect valuable experiments and fish held at the
                                           facilities and to protect equipment during power outages.
                                           --Dr. Wilga awarded a grant (~$150K) for the installation of a laminar flow tank to study fluid dynamics and
                                           marine organisms

Personnel Hired                            Interviews for seawater facilities technician are scheduled for March 2007

Status of Management Plans                 In progress

                                           Existing website (http://www.gso.uri.edu/seawaterfacilities/) is being updated to include new EPSCoR
Website Development                        designation, newly funded equipment and capabilities.

EPSCoR Projects Initiated                  see Appendix 4 : "Activities and Findings"

Applications for External Funding           Proposal submitted to RI Science and Technology Committee in collaboration with Prof. Bethany Jenkins, URI,
                                           and Prof. Warren Prell, brown University.

Institutional Research Support
Roger Williams University
Faculty Research Supported                 Faculty: Dale F. Leavitt (see Appendix 4 : "Activities and Findings")
                                           Collaborators: Dr. Leavitt was invited to expand his USDA Conservation Innovation Grant from 1 to 3 years
                                           and from $25K to $75K, partly as a result of the preliminary work that was conducted over the summer as a
                                           component to his EPSCoR Summer Project. He also wrote a proposal and received a grant from the Island
                                           Foundation ($25K) to continue oyster restoration work into 2007. Dr. Leavitt has also submitted one other
                                           proposal for oyster restoration work (RI-CRMC) and is in the process of writing a third to USDA. Lastly, Dr.
                                           Leavitt is a co-PI on a proposal to the state RI-EPSCoR match RFP.




                                                                                                                                                 3
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                             5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                ACTIVITY
                                            Faculty: Brian Wysor (see Appendix 4 : "Activities and Findings")


                                            Faculty: Scott Rutherford (see Appendix 4: "Activities and Findings")


                                            Faculty: Richard Audet (see Appendix 4 : "Activities and Findings")


Equipment/Supplies Purchased                Faculty Benefiting from Equipment Purchases:
                                            Sean Colin, Avelina Espinosa, Timothy Scott, Dale Leavitt, Marcie Marston, Stephen O’Shea, Skip Pomeroy ,
                                            Scott Rutherford , David Taylor, Thomas Sorger , Paul Webb, Brian Wysor

Travel for Faculty Collaboration/Training   None reported

Providence College
Faculty Research Supported                  Faculty: Elizabeth Arevalo (see Appendix 4: "Activities and Findings")
                                            Students: Lisa DiPietro 2007, Elizabeth Benz 2007, Veronica Bernardo 2008, Inyene Essien 2007
                                            Partner Organizations: Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Duke University – OTS

                                            Faculty: Patrick Ewanchuk (see Appendix 4: "Activities and Findings")
                                            Students: Elisabeth Riley 2007
                                            Partner Organizations: Northeastern University
                                             Brown University

                                            Collaborators: Dr. Geoffrey Trussell, Northeastern University, Dr. Mark Bertness, Brown University

                                            Faculty: John Costello (see Appendix 4: "Activities and Findings")
                                            Students: Karla Feitl 2007, Ronald Strohsahl 2007, Emily Abbott 2008, Christine Newton 2008
                                            Partner Organizations: Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island, New England Aquarium,
                                            California Institute of Technology, Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory, University of Dubrovnik, Croatia,
                                            University of Sao Paulo, Brazil



                                                                                                                                             4
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                ACTIVITY
                                            Collaborators: Dr. Sean Colin, Roger Williams University, Dr. Barbara Sullivan, Dr. Dian Gifford,
                                            University of Rhode Island, Mr. Steve Spina, New England Aquarium, Dr. John Dabiri, California Institute of
                                            Technology, Dr. Monty Graham, Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory, Dr. Adam Benovic, Dr. Davor Lucic,
                                            University of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Dr. Antonio Marques, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Equipment/Supplies Purchased                None reported
Travel for Faculty Collaboration/Training   None reported

Rhode Island College
Faculty Research Support                    1) A RIC-EPSCoR Faculty Support Committee has been established. This committee consists of two members
                                            of the Biology Department faculty (including the Chair), two members of the Physical Science faculty (including
                                            the Chair) and the Interim Director of the Office of Research and Grants Administration.
                                            2) This committee has overseen the allocation of research release time for the spring semester of 2007. Four
                                            members of RIC’s full-time faculty have each been granted 3 FLH of reallocated time, representing release from
                                            ¼ of the normal teaching load. This time is subsidized at the rate of $6000 (direct cost) per faculty member
                                            from funds received from RI-EPSCoR. The following faculty members (and their projects) were identified for
                                            support:
                                            Faculty: Dana Kolibachuk (Associate Professor of Biology) – for a project involving biochemical and
                                            molecular analysis of polyhydroxyalkanoic acid accumulation in a marine organism, Vibrio parahaemolyticus

                                            Faculty: Eric Roberts (Assistant Professor of Biology) – for a project involving identification and sequence
                                            comparison of a cellulose synthase gene in a marine alga, Porphyra yezoensis .

                                            Faculty: Glenisson de Oliveira (Associate Professor of Physical Sciences) – for a project involving metal
                                            replacement effects in the metalloprotein enzyme C-terminal Src Kinase (Csk)

                                            Faculty: John Williams (Professor of Physical Sciences) – for a project involving chemical synthesis of
                                            biologically active compounds and their toxicological analysis by Kirby-Bauer antibacterial screening

Travel for Faculty Collaboration/Training   3) This committee has allocated funds to support travel that is consistent with RI-EPSCoR’s goals and
                                            objectives:



                                                                                                                                                5
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                 5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

               ACTIVITY
                                                  -- Dr. Thomas Meedel (Professor of Biology) for international collaboration with Dr. Hitoyoshi Yasuo at
                                           the Oceanological Observatory of the Universite Pierre and Marie Curie in Villefranche-sur-mer, France. Their
                                           collaborative research focuses on developmental biology in the marine organism Ciona intestinalis.

                                                  -- Dr. Roland de Gouvenain (Assistant Professor of Biology) for presenting a paper at the 8th Symposium
                                           on Botany Research in Baja California and Adjacent Areas. This was held at the Universidad Autonoma de
                                           Baja California in Ensenada, Mexico, where Dr. de Gouvenain collaborates with Dr. Jose Delgadillo.


Salve Regina University
Faculty Research Support                   Faculty: Sandor Kadar
                                           Title: Guided inquiry assignments for general chemistry Lab
                                           Re-designed seventeen traditional lab experiments to fit a guide inquiry model of education
                                           Worked two months in summer with two students
                                           Collaborations will be extended to RI colleges once all 35 labs are switched over to this method.
                                           EPSCoR Funding: two months summer salary

                                           Faculty: Sarah Matarese
                                           Title: Immunohistochemistry of Nematocyst Discharge in a Snail, Cratena pilata
                                           Studied the stinging cells of marine nudibranch that has a delicate ecological balance with another marine
                                           animal, a coelenterate, common to RI.
                                           Worked two months in summer with one student. Based on this work there will be a future collaboration with
                                           Dr Leon Collis at Wood’s Hole, MA, summer 2007.
                                           EPSCoR Funding: two months summer salary

                                           Faculty: Jameson Chase
                                           Title: The Effect of Anthropogenic Disturbance on the Breeding Success of the Canada Warbler: a species of
                                           concern
                                           Collaborators: Steve Faccio of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Woodstock, VT and the Silvio O.
                                           Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (Hadley, MA), Nulhegan Basin Division (Island Pond, VT) - Keith
                                           Weaver (Manager)



                                                                                                                                                6
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                 5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                ACTIVITY
                                             Using a well-established model of studying bird migration and the effects of human on that migration, Dr. Chace
                                             will apply his knowledge of warbler migration to seabird life here in RI.
                                             EPSCoR Funding: two months summer salary

Equipment/Supplies Purchased                 None reported
Travel for Faculty Collaboration/Training    None reported

EPSCoR ACADEMY
I. DEV HUMAN CAPITAL
Faculty Hires                                URI: searches approved for 2 faculty hires planned for Year 1
                                             Brown: 2 faculty hires in CCMB; 2 faculty hires in ECI; 1 faculty hire in CGP/MCB; searches ongoing in
                                             CCMB (one position) and ECI (one position)
Cross Trained GR Res. Fellows Prg (2)        Robert Haney (Brown University); LeAnn Pritchard (URI)
Education Center for Marine Life Sciences    Operating plans are being developed in conjunction with institutional strategic planning
  Coordinator                                Hired January 2007
  Materals and Supplies
Outreach Training Center                     see Appendices 5: "Outreach Activities"
  Coordinator                                Search approved February 2007
  Materials and Supplies
Short Courses in New Technological           Program being developed
Applications
Institutional Diversity Workshop              Plans are in place for a workshop designed with the assistance of URI's NSF funded minority recruitment
                                              coordinator who will conduct the workshop. Brown's Director of the Leadership Alliance is working with RI
                                              EPSCoR management to include EPScoR students supported in Year 2 in the Leadership Alliance annual
                                              summer conference.
# of Faculty/Students/Staff participating who Faculty: 8 (1 ADVANCE hire); Students: 9; Staff: 1
are women; members of underrepresented
groups

III. INNOVATION NETWORK




                                                                                                                                                 7
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

               ACTIVITY
Annual Research Conference                 Annual research conference held April 12, 2007: "Expanding Rhode Island's Research and Development
                                           Capacity Through Collaboration."
                                           Presented by: Rhode Island’s NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and
                                           The Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC)
                                           Conference Management provided by the Gordon Research Conference

Dissemination / Communication              RI EPSCoR is partnering with the RI Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) to develop and
                                           maintain a central website and relational database as described in the NSF EPSCoR RII grant, that will provide
                                           multiple entry portals to the state's various complex research programs and initiatives such as core facilities
                                           equipment and usage, research data, statistical information, access to student research opportunities, etc. This
                                           partnership will allow us to expand the activity described in the NSF EPSCoR RII proposal to include statewide
                                           resources beyond those within NSF EPSCoR, allowing for greater collaboration among the state's scientists and
                                           with industry. It will also ensure sustainability of the project as STAC will institutionalize this activity by
                                           maintaining and populating the database on an ongoing basis, and beyond the NSF grant period.



MANAGEMENT
Staffing
  Associate Project Director               Hired
  Academy Director                         Position description under review January 2007
  Research Manager                         Hired
  Media Design                             Hired
  Project Assistant                        Hired

EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT
AAAS Review                                see Appendix 9 :" Assessment Review of the Rhode Island EPSCoR, Final Report of the AAAS Review Panel,
                                           February 2007"
Development of Evaluation Framework        see Appendix 10 : "RI EPSCoR Framework Assessment"




                                                                                                                                                8
   Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                                                                                  5/15/2007
   Appendix 3: Management Activities

                 ACTIVITY
Data Collection, Performance Monitoring and Data collection and reporting functions will be web-based, supported by a relational database to allow collection
Documentation of Progress Toward Stated     from multiple sources and include reporting capability to diverse audiences. Qualitative data will be collected
Project Goals                               using on-line surveys (e.g. faculty and student/fellow satisfaction; communication & outreach efforts).
                                            Quantitative data will be collected using on-line templates based on the input-output chain framework (e.g.
                                            facility usage, research activities, etc.) at regular intervals (see FastLane report Appendices : "RI EPSCoR
                                            Framework Assessment"). Once collected, dated will be aggregated to produce reports to RI EPSCoR
                                            Management, NSF EPSCoR Office and diverse RI audiences.




                                                                                                                                                  9
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Appendix 4: Activities and Findings


   1. Faculty: Arevalo, Elizabeth, Providence College

      Students: Lisa DiPietro 2007, Elizabeth Benz 2007, Veronica Bernardo 2008,
      Inyene Essien 2007

      Partner Organizations: Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Duke University –
      OTS

      Project:
      1.1. Reproductive Behavior and Conflicts of Interest in the Tropical Species
           Polistes erythrocephalus

          1.1.1. Arévalo completed field work at La Selva Biological Station OTS-
                 Duke University assisted by Costa Rican undergraduate student.

          1.1.2. Screening microsatellite markers for the analysis of relatedness within
                 colony of Polistes erythrocepahlus. Assisted by one PC undergraduate.

          1.1.3. Dissecting adult female wasps to establish the reproductive status of
                 the foundresses.

      1.2. Polistes dominulus, the invasive paper wasp species in New England.

          1.2.1. In molecular lab, completing final stages of screening of populations
                 of Polistes dominulus and in the process of completing analysis of
                 relatedness within colonies. Assisted by two PC undergraduate
                 students.

   2. Faculty: Audet, Richard Roger Williams University

      Project: Pedagogical Approaches for Transferring Complex Marine Sciences
      Knowledge to Different Educational Audiences' Dr. Audet received funding to
      collaborate with Dr. Brian Wysor on developing educational modules for teaching
      marine science education. Using one of Dr. Wysor's undergraduate classes as a
      test case, the two explored various learning models and technologies most
      applicable to effectively transferring complex information and knowledge using
      pedagogically successful approaches to multiple educational levels.

   3. Faculty: Chase, Jameson , Salve Regina University

      Collaborators: Steve Faccio of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in
      Woodstock, VT and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
      (Hadley, MA), Nulhegan Basin Division (Island Pond, VT) - Keith Weaver



                                           1
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


      (Manager). Using a well-established model of studying bird migration and the
      effects of human on that migration, Dr. Chace will apply his knowledge of
      warbler migration to seabird life here in RI.

      Project: The Effect of Anthropogenic Disturbance on the Breeding Success of the
      Canada Warbler: a species of concern

   4. Faculty: Costello, John , Providence College

      Students: Karla Feitl 2007, Ronald Strohsahl 2007, Emily Abbott 2008,
      Christine Newton 2008

      Partner Organizations: Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island,
      New England Aquarium, California Institute of Technology, Dauphin Island Sea
      Laboratory, University of Dubrovnik, Croatia, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

      Collaborators: Dr. Sean Colin, Roger Williams University, Dr. Barbara Sullivan,
      Dr. Dian Gifford, University of Rhode Island, Mr. Steve Spina, New England
      Aquarium, Dr. John Dabiri, California Institute of Technology, Dr. Monty
      Graham, Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory, Dr. Adam Benovic, Dr. Davor Lucic,
      University of Dubrovnik, Croatia, Dr. Antonio Marques, University of Sao Paulo,
      Brazil

      Project:
      4.1. Physical-biological interactions underlie coastal marine plankton responses to
           climate warming (in collaboration with investigators at URI).

          4.1.1. Costello, J.H., B.K. Sullivan, D.J. Gifford. 2006. A physical-biological
               interaction underlying variable phenological responses to climate change
               by coastal zooplankton. J. Plankton Res. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbl042

          4.1.2. Costello, J.H., B.K. Sullivan, D.J. Gifford, D. Van Keuren and L.J.
               Sullivan. 2006. Seasonal refugia, shoreward thermal amplification and
               metapopulation dynamics of the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi in
               Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Limnol. Oceanogr. 51: 1819-1831.

      4.2. Swimming by medusae involves novel wake structures (in collaboration with
           investigators at RWU and CalTech).

          4.2.1. Dabiri J.O., S.P. Colin, J.H. Costello. 2006. Fast-swimming
               hydromedusae exploit velar kinematics to form an optimal vortex wake.
               J. Exp. Biol. 209: 2025-2033.

      4.3. Medusae from a variety of phylogenetically distinct lineages utilize a
           convergent swimming and foraging stratety (in collaboration with
           investigators at RWU and the U. Drubrovnik).



                                           2
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007



          4.3.1. Colin, S.P. J.H. Costello and H. Kordula. 2006. Upstream foraging by
               medusae. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 237:143-155.

   5. Faculty: de Oliveira, Glenisson, Rhode Island College

      Project: Metal replacement effects in the metalloprotein      enzyme C-terminal
      Src Kinase (Csk)

   6. Faculty: Ewanchuk, Patrick, Providence College

      Students: Elisabeth Riley 2007

      Partner Organizations: Northeastern University, Brown University

      Collaborators: Dr. Geoffrey Trussell, Northeastern University, Dr. Mark
      Bertness, Brown University

      Project:
      6.1. Investigating the potential impact of predator chemical cues in structuring the
           marine intertidal community. Specifically, we have focused on how water-
           borne risk cues from the predatories green crab (Carcinus maenas) can alter
           both snail morphology and behavior and ultimately how these changes affect
           community structure. (in collaboration with investigators at Northeastern
           University).

          6.1.1. Geoffrey C. Trussell1, Patrick J. Ewanchuk and Catherine M. Matassa.
                 2006. Habitat effects on the relative importance of trait- and density-
                 mediated indirect interactions. Ecology Letters 9: 1245.

          6.1.2. Geoffrey C. Trussell, Patrick J. Ewanchuk, and Catherine M. Matassa.
                 2006. The fear of being eaten reduces energy transfer in a simple food
                 chain. Ecology 87: 2979–2984.

      6.2. Latitudinal Variation in Rocky intertidal Community Development.
           Preliminary data suggest that our knowledge of New England intertidal
           community ecology has been strongly shaped by a limited number of studies
           conducted at few experimental locations. My collaborator and I are planning
           a large-scale set of experiments that will investigate potential differences in
           community development across a range of abiotic and biotic conditions. (in
           collaboration with investigators a both Brown university and Northeastern
           University).

   7. Faculty: Jenkins, Bethany, University of Rhode Island

      Project: My laboratory has been collaborating with Scott Nixon and Wally
      Fulweiler who have been showing that Narragansett Bay has been experiencing


                                            3
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


      ecological changes over the last decade due to a long-term warming trend. They
      have also shown that biological activity in Bay sediments is changing as well.
      There has been a marked decrease in sediment oxygen consumption and in the
      fluxes of ammonia and phosphate from sediments to the overlying water.
      Microorganisms play a major role in mediating the global nitrogen balance.
      Nitrogen (N) is removed from sediments via the activity of denitrifiers, anaerobic
      microbes that reduce nitrate (NO3-) or nitrite (NO2-) to nitrous oxide (N2O) and
      dinitrogen gas (N2) as they respire. In contrast, N-fixation is a net source of N
      from bacterial conversion of N2 gas to bioavailable forms. Until recently, it was
      universally agreed that denitrification was the dominant process in estuarine
      sediments. However Fulweiler et al. made a remarkable discovery: in the summer
      of 2006, the sediments of Narragansett Bay switched from being a net sink of
      nitrogen (denitrification dominated) to a net source of nitrogen (N-fixation
      dominated).
              Despite this dramatic shift in sediment N cycling in the Bay, nothing
      is known regarding the ecology of the microbes responsible for these changes.
      My laboratory has been using molecular biological methods to follow the activity
      and fates of the microorganisms involved in N cycling processes and provide a
      means by which to link organismal activity with N flux. Since the vast majority of
      denitrifiers and N-fixers are uncultivated, we have developed methods to target
      key genes for denitrification and N fixation pathways to determine both the
      microbial community composition and activities of specific microbes. For
      example, the Jenkins lab has found genes and expressed genes from a
      Narragansett Bay sediment sample. These genes were novel and were related to
      sequences from cultivated sulfate reducers, organisms typically active in anoxic
      environments. Our preliminary data is exciting because it identifies
      microorganisms actively fixing nitrogen in Bay sediments.


   8. Faculty: Kadar, Sandor, Salve Regina University

      Project: Guided inquiry assignments for general chemistry Lab; Re-designed
      seventeen traditional lab experiments to fit a guide inquiry model of education,
      Collaborations will be extended to RI colleges once all 35 labs are switched over
      to this method; Worked two months in summer with two students

   9. Faculty: Kolibachuk, Dana Rhode Island College

      Project: Biochemical and molecular analysis of polyhydroxyalkanoic acid
      accumulation in a marine organism, Vibrio parahaemolyticus


   10. Faculty: Leavitt, Dael F., Roger Williams University

      Collaborators: Dr. Leavitt was invited to expand his USDA Conservation
      Innovation Grant from 1 to 3 years and from $25K to $75K, partly as a result of



                                          4
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


      the preliminary work that was conducted over the summer as a component to his
      EPSCoR Summer Project. He also wrote a proposal and received a grant from the
      Island Foundation ($25K) to continue oyster restoration work into 2007. Dr.
      Leavitt has also submitted one other proposal for oyster restoration work (RI-
      CRMC) and is in the process of writing a third to USDA. Lastly, Dr. Leavitt is a
      Co-PI on a proposal to the state RI-EPSCoR match RFP.

      Project:
      10.1. 'Enhancing the shellfish resources of Narragansett Bay.' Dr. Leavitt's
             research funding under EPSCoR involved two specific objectives. They
              were:
          10.1.1. To design, construct and evaluate a modified FLUPSY (floating
               upweller system) for nursery rearing clams and oysters, where the
               electrical components are removed from the seawater and isolated to
               prevent electrolytic degradation of dissimilar metals adjacent to the
               structure. This first phase of a proposed three year project sets the stage
               during the next two years, for designing a FLUPSY that will employ
               alternative energy sources to power the system and remove it from being
               dependent on a location with shore power from the grid.

         10.1.2. To initiate the development of two oyster restoration areas (Bristol
               Harbor and Potowomut/Greenwich Bay) by surveying the proposed site,
               deploying cultch material to prepare the bottom, and readying the areas
               to receive oyster seed produced by the RWU Shellfish Hatchery and
               nursery reared by the RWU hatchery/field staff.
                     Both of these objectives involve long-term projects (a minimum of
             three years each) that will provide research opportunities for
             undergraduate students at Roger Williams University as well as other
             universities and colleges in Rhode Island. The work undertaken during the
             summer of 2006 set up two field related research programs that provided
             multiple opportunities for undergraduate students to gain experience in
             marine related research.
                     This research will continue in the summers of 2007 and 2008 to
             complete research projects focused on changes in benthic habitat as oyster
             restoration sites are populated with oysters, environmental consequences
             of re-establishing oysters in Narragansett Bay, efficacy of using alternative
             energy systems to nursery culture various shellfish species, and many
             other off-shoots from the project.
                     Dr. Leavitt has extensive documentation and photos of the
            equipment (FLUPSY) changes that were designed and constructed. These
            constructions represent the bulk of his efforts on Objective 1 of this
             project for the summer of 2006. He also has data on the oyster growth and
             survival from the summer's restoration efforts (Objective 2). There were
             thousands of oysters planted onto the field sites and he will continue
             monitoring them over the next few years.




                                           5
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007




   11. Faculty: Matarese, Sarah, Salve Regina University

      Project:
      11.1. Immunohistochemistry of Nematocyst Discharge in a Snail, Cratena
             pilata.

          11.1.1. Studied the stinging cells of marine nudibranch that has a delicate
                  ecological balance with another marine animal, a coelenterate,
                  common to RI.
                     Based on this work there will be a future collaboration with Dr
                  Leon Collis at Wood’s Hole, MA, summer 2007

          11.1.2. Worked for two months in summer with one student.

   12. Faculty: Nixon, Scott. & Fullweiler, W,, University of Rhode Island

      Project: Obtain measurements of the net flux of N2 across the sediment-water
      interface in Narragansett Bay as well as nutrient and O2 fluxes.
              Sediments in the bay appear to have switched from being a site of net
      denitrification (N2 loss) to being a site of net N2 addition to the bay through N
      fixation.

   13. Faculty: Rand, David, Brown University

      Project: Environmental genomics: developing genetic markers in marine
      organisms for monitoring and experimental work on Narragansett Bay.
             An EST Library has been surveyed using bioinformatic approaches. Some
      new markers have been developed.

   14. Faculty: Roberts, Eric Rhode Island College

      Project: Identification and sequence comparison of a cellulose synthase gene in a
      marine alga, Porphyra yezoensis.

   15. Faculty: Rutherford, Scott, Roger Williams University

      Project: 'History of Anoxic Events in Greenwich Bay: Pilot study'
              In the summer of 2003, an anoxic event in Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island,
      resulted in a significant fish kill of over one million juvenile menhaden and
      uncounted soft-shell clams. Hypoxia (<3.0 mg/l oxygen) occurs relatively
      regularly in some parts of Narragansett Bay during the summer months, but fish
      and clam kills are comparatively rare. Hypoxic and anoxic conditions periodically
      occur elsewhere in the eastern United States including the Chesapeake Bay and
      the Gulf of Mexico.



                                           6
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


              This project will seek to document the occurrence of hypoxia/anoxia in
      Greenwich Bay over the past several centuries. Unfortunately, it is not clear how
      an anoxic event will be preserved in the sediments of Greenwich Bay. There are,
      however, several possibilities that can be explored. The simplest parameter to
      measure is the percentage of organic carbon preserved in the sediments. If bottom
      waters are oxygen rich, much of the organic matter that reaches the sediment-
      water interface is respired and does not accumulate. Other parameters that might
      indicate anoxic events include: (1) layers of nearly mono-specific phytoplankton
      remains or concentrations of organic biomarkers, both of which would indicate
      large algal blooms (2) fish scales, (3) redox horizons, (4) shell hashes.
              This project provided an excellent opportunity to lay the foundation for
      future undergraduate student research and can form the basis for an expanded
      project to include other regions of Narragansett Bay and perhaps even
      Chesapeake Bay. One of the aspects that makes this project so appealing for
      student involvement is that there are several lines of work to pursue. Some
      students may be interested in identifying phytoplankton remains, either
      morphologically or chemically, others might be looking for chemical signatures
      of anoxia, still others might be interested in looking for dating markers, such as
      the Cesium peaks associated with Chernobyl or atomic bomb testing, or pollen
      species that indicate the onset of European settlement (mid 1600s).

   16. Faculty: Seemann, Jeffrey & Briant, Clyde (Peti, W.; Kausch, A.)

      Project: URI/Brown University, Rhode Island Center for Biofuel Development

   17. Faculty: John Williams, Rhode Island College

      Project: Chemical synthesis of biologically active compounds and their
      toxicological analysis by Kirby-Bauer antibacterial screening

   18. Faculty: Wysor, Brian, Roger Williams University

      Project: 'Collection and isolation of ulotrichalean green algae: a strategy to
      generate preliminary data for an NSF proposal re-submission'
              Dr. Wysor's research under the RWU EPSCoR summer faculty funding
      program involved a collaborative proposal to the National Science Foundation in
      January 2006 (NSF No.: 0614037) entitled, “RUI: Collaborative Proposal:
      Phylogeny of Ulotrichalean green algae with emphasis on the polyphyletic
      genera Monostroma and Ulothrix.”
              The goal of that proposal was to reconstruct the intra-ordinal phylogeny of
      this group of green algae based on DNA sequences from four different gene
      regions and an assessment of chloroplast ultrastructural characters. The RUI
      (Research at Undergraduate Institutions) portion of the proposal outlined a
      strategy to yield hands-on research experience to RWU undergraduates in
      molecular biology and electron microscopy.




                                           7
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


              Over the three-year duration of the proposed project 6 summer students,
      numerous independent studies students and three classes (i.e., Marine
      Phycology [BIO 355], Biology of Plankton [in development] and Botany [BIO
      210]) would be directly or indirectly impacted by this research.
      The original NSF proposal submission was ranked 'Meritorious – medium'
      indicating that it was worthy of funding, but not ranked high enough to receive a
      portion of the limited funds available. The primary weakness 'was in the lack of
      preliminary data for the multigene approach to ensure that a robust (well-
      supported) phylogeny of the Ulotrichales will potentially be realized.'
              Therefore, Dr. Wysor was awarded summer support through the RWU
      EPSCoR program to isolate, maintain and characterize uni-algal cultures that will
      be subjected to sequencing of the rbcL and 26S rRNA genes (genes for which
      scant preliminary data are currently available). It was anticipated that these efforts
      would provide the necessary data to justify the larger project and resubmission of
      the original RUI NSF proposal.




                                            8
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Appendix 5: Outreach Activities


Core Facilities:
Implementation of web pages; 'how-to' manuals to enable researchers to rapidly and successfully
work with instrumentation in core facilities.

Undergraduate Research, Education and Training Centers:
RI Education & Outreach Center for Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing (CCRI):
      - CCRI representation on RI HS Bioetchnology Advisory Committee

Faculty: John Costello, Providence College
Costello is a scientific advisor to the NSF-supported exhibit entitled Amazing Jellies (opening in
April, 2004 at the New England Aquarium and is currently on exhibit). The 1995 New England
Aquarium exhibit Jellies reached approximately 13 million viewers (Epstein et al., NEAq, pers.
comm.) and the Amazing Jellies exhibit is expected to reach an even wider audience.

Faculty: Dale, Leavitt, Roger Williams University
Dr. Leavitt's work on the RI Oyster Gardening Project has provided a number of outreach
opportunities to the public, including a day-long session where the public assisted the team in
evaluating and planting oysters into our field restoration sites (9 December 2006). This was
partially supported by EPSCoR via his summer salary.

Faculty: Scott Nixon, University of Rhode Island
One hour interview on 'Not Your Classroom' on RI Public Radio

Faculty: Lisa Zuccarelli, Salve Regina University
Public lecture series: Scientific Issues of Concern in RI: Research on topics of interest here in RI
was conducted by Lisa Zuccarelli during the summer 2006. Four public lectures on the following
topics, respectively: Pesticides and their effects on RI urban environment; RI marine ecology –
the delicate balance; mosquitoes and other vectors in health and disease; the human genome
project: what it means for you. These lectures are for the general non-scientific public and will
be held spring 2007. They will include a study guide and discussion questions.
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Appendix 6: Publications


Journal Publications:
Keller, M.S., Dancheck, B., Ju, T., Kessler, R., Hudak, J. Naim, A.C. & Peti, W., "Structural
basis for Spinophilin and Neurabin receptor interaction.", Biochemistry, vol. , (2007), p. .
Accepted

Ju, T., Ragusa, M. J., Hudak, J., Nairn, A. C., & Peti, W., "Structural characterization of the
neurabin SAM domain.", Proteins, vol. , (2007), p. . Accepted

Fulweiler, R.W. and Nixon, S.W. "Responses of benthic-pelagic coupling to climate change in a
temperate estuary.", Hydrobiologia, vol. , (2007), p. . Accepted

Fulweiler, R.W., Nixon, S.W., Buckley, B.A., Granger, "S. Climate-induced alteration of the
coastal marine nitrogen cycle," Nature, vol. , (2007), p. . Submitted

Haney RA, Silliman BR, Rand DM., " A multi-locus assessment of connectivity and historical
demography in the bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum)," Heredity., vol., (2007), p. .
Accepted

Books or Other One-time Publications:
Jenkins, B.D. & Zehr, J.P., "Molecular Approaches to the Nitrogen Cycle in Nitrogen in the
Marine Environment," bibl. (awaiting information from researcher), (2007). Book Accepted
       Collection: Capone, D. & Bronk, D.,"

Internet Dissemination:
Rhode Island Center for Genomics: www.uri.edu/research/gsc ; existing website updated to
reflect EPSCoR designation and mission as well as newly funded equipment and capabilities

Rhode Island Center for Proteomics: http://biomed.brown.edu/epscor_proteomics/
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Appendix 7: Scientific Contributions


Contributions within Discipline:

Faculty: John Costello
1. We have contributed to understanding how alterations in climate will influence coastal
   zooplankton communities that include a widespread copepod and its ctenophore predator;

2. We have contributed to understanding the biomechanical basis of swimming by an important
   group of marine zooplankton.

Faculty: Patrick Ewanchuk
We have contributed to understanding how chemical cues influence individual behavior and
intern how these changes may influence our ability to predict community change based solely on
density.

Faculty: Bethany Jenkins
Findings suggest that the current paradigm, that nitrogen fixation is not an important process in
estuarine sediments needs to be reconsidered.

Faculty: Scott Nixon & Fulweiler, W.
The long-standing paradigm of marine ecology has been that biological N fixation is unimportant
in coastal marine ecosystems. Our study has shown that this is not necessarily the case. In system
such as Narragansett Bay that has been highly productive for over a century due to
anthropogenic fertilization, a marked decline in production (due to climate change or the
introduction of advanced wastewater treatment) may result in N fixation becoming at least
seasonally very high in the heterotropgic sediments. Since N is the nutrient that most commonly
limits primary production in temperate marine waters, this fundamental change in the
biogeochemical cycling of N is of great interest and importance. Results have stimulated interest
among molecular microbiologists who will now work to see how the bacterial communities in
the sediments are switching from denitrification to N fixation and vice versa.

Contributions to Education and Human Resources:

Faculty: Bethany Jenkins
This project is training two female graduate students in the STEM disciplines.

Contributions to Resources for Science and Technology:

Core Facilities: (RICG)
Informational data from DNA sequencing and fragment analysis services is applied to research
projects by various investigators in support of the genomics research focus of participating
institutions. Instrumentation is also used by investigators to analyze samples to provide
information for their research projects.




                                                 1
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report 2007


Faculty: Elizabeth Arévalo
Participated in the NSF REU program during the summer of 2006 for the OTS-Duke University
program at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Dr. Arevalo served as a mentor for one
undergraduate on her research.

Faculty: Bethany Jenkins
Results from this work are contributing to development of informatic management tools in the
environmental life sciences.




                                              2
Appendix 8: Annual Conference Agenda
                                       Expanding Rhode Island’s Research and
                                       Development Capacity Through Collaboration
                                       Thursday, April 12th, 2007, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm (lunch included)
                                       Followed by a networking reception from 3:00 – 4:30 pm


             Date/Location:            Agenda
                   April 12, 2007
                                       Networking Breakfast
   8:00 am – 3:00 pm (Networking
        Reception 3:00 – 4:30 pm)      8:00 am – 9:00 am
       Rhode Island Convention
                       Center          Session I: Why Collaboration Matters
      http://www.riconvention.com      9:00 am – 10:15 am
                                       Rhode Island has a unique brand of business-making that is based on collaboration.
                                       Discuss the key components of the collaborative model as it applies to success in Rhode
                     Directions:       Island’s current and future research efforts. Learn why collaboration is the key to
    Please follow the link below for   research success.
     Convention Center directions:
       http://www.riconvention.com           Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, Deputy Director & COO, National Science Foundation

                                             Dr. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Tucker Gosnell Investigator, Assistant Professor of
                            Cost:                Medicine, Broad Institute
      Free and open to the public!           Mr. Dan Berglund, President, State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI)

                                       Moderator: Mr. Saul Kaplan, Executive Director, Rhode Island Economic Development
                                       Corporation

                                       Break
                                       10:15 am – 10:30 am

                                       Session II: Tools and Resources to Make Collaborative Research a Reality
                                       10:30 am – 11:45 am
                                       This session will identify the tools that are necessary to move research forward from
                                       innovation to implementation. Focus on the state and federal resources that are
                                       available to the competitive research sector in Rhode Island. Discuss ways in which
                                       these tools and resources can be applied to increase collaboration in order to make new
                                       research ideas a reality now, and for years to come.

                                             Dr. Rick Borchelt, Director of Communications for the Genetics and Public Policy
                                                 Center, Johns Hopkins University

                                             Mr. George Lennon, Public Affairs Director, National Science Foundation

                                             Dr. John Muench, S & T Program Director, Naval Undersea Warfare Center
                                                 (NUWC)

                                       Moderator: Dr. Jeff Seemann, Dean, College of the Environment and the Life Sciences,
                                       University of Rhode Island

                                       Lunch
                                       12:00 noon – 1:30 pm



Research Forum Invitation Agenda presented by EPSCoR, Science & Technology, CRC                                     1
                                       Agenda (cont’d)

                                       Session III: Best Practices in Collaborative Research
                                       1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
                                       Explore best practices at the state, regional and national level in creating a collaborative
                                       approach to research. Learn about programs, policies, and partnerships in collaborative
                                       research that can be models for Rhode Island’s scientific research community to
                                       increase program viability, and enhance the growth of the State’s competitive research
                                       sector.

                                              Dr. David Rowley, Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences, University of Rhode
                                                  Island

                                              Dr. Joseph Crisco, Professor of Orthopedics, Brown University Medical School

                                              Dr. Bethany Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Dr.
                                                  Robinson Fulweiler, Department of Oceanography, University of Rhode
                                                  Island (GSO)

                                       Moderator: Dr. Edward Hawrot, Upjohn Professor of Pharmacology, Department Chair,
                                       MPPB, Brown University


                                       Networking Reception
                                       3:00 pm – 4:30 pm




Research Forum Invitation Agenda presented by EPSCoR, Science & Technology, CRC                                         2
                 Assessment Review of the Rhode Island EPSCoR
                     Final Report of the AAAS Review Panel
                                 February 2007

Authors and Review Panel Members:

Herman Lehman, Ph.D. – Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Neuroscience,
Hamilton College

Shawn Levy, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor and Director of Functional Genomics Core,
Vanderbilt University

Alina Szmant, Ph.D. – Professor of Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina
at Wilmington

Amanda Hunt, Ph.D. – Project Director, AAAS Research Competitiveness Service


                   American Association for the Advancement of Science
                            Research Competitiveness Service
                                                   Table of Contents
I. Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 3
II. Common Themes ................................................................................................................. 4
   1. People are the most valuable resource .............................................................................. 4
   2. Communication................................................................................................................. 4
   3. Website and Advertising................................................................................................... 5
   4. Assessment Tools and Capabilities................................................................................... 7
III. Answers to Specific Questions Posed by RI EPSCoR........................................................ 9
     1. Is there sufficient institutional support for EPSCoR research activities (e.g. financial
     support, facilities, etc.)? What are the panel’s recommendations for assisting institutions
     with increasing support for research activities related to EPSCoR activities?................. 9
     2. Has each core facility set out a viable management plan that addresses the goals of
     the grant, and the needs for statewide research growth in the life sciences? ................. 10
     3. Are there enough researchers to use each facility to its potential? How can the core
     facility management teams best encourage faculty and students from across the state to
     use each facility?.............................................................................................................. 14
     4. Are the facilities on a path to support the growth of a relevant and sustainable
     portfolio of research activities within each facility? ....................................................... 16
     5. What are potential barriers to research productivity within the core facilities and/or
     research focus areas? ...................................................................................................... 17
     6. What kind of training opportunities should be provided for faculty and students to use
     core facilities? Who should deliver the training?............................................................ 18
     7. What is the current status of supporting and integrating graduate (and
     undergraduate) students from Brown and URI into EPSCoR programs?....................... 19
IV. Conclusion and final thoughts .......................................................................................... 21




                                                                   2
I. Introduction

This report details recommendations from the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) for the Rhode Island Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
(RI EPSCoR), which is in its first year of funding from the National Science Foundation. The
RI EPSCoR partnership is a network of the state’s eleven institutions of higher education,
industry, and government, designed to enhance Rhode Island’s research competitiveness in the
life sciences. The major thematic areas of the program are marine life sciences, genomics, and
proteomics.


RI EPSCoR has requested the AAAS Research Competitiveness Service (RCS) provide
guidance and assessment over the course of the grant. For this first review, RCS convened a
panel of one AAAS staff member and three external consultants, and conducted a site visit
January 21-24, 2007, to campuses within the state of Rhode Island. The panel was charged
with providing overall advice to RI EPSCoR leadership on institutional capabilities,
infrastructure, collaborations, and recruitment and training.


Overall, the panel found a well-functioning program in the early stages of development. The
EPSCoR grant has obviously been a galvanizing influence on the state – everyone we met was
knowledgeable and excited about scientific research. Various entities within the state have
made significant investments in scientific research in order to promote economic development.
This includes funds from the state government for collaborative research grants - out of 42
proposals submitted, 8 were funded. Higher education is an excellent place for innovation, as
RI has more undergraduate students per capita than any other state.


The structure of this report is as follows: after this introduction, a section detailing “common
themes” found throughout the EPSCOR visit is presented in Part II, and then the answers to
specific questions posed by RI EPSCoR are found in Part III. Part IV contains a conclusion and
final thoughts. The panel site visit agenda can be found in the Appendix.




                                                 3
II. Common Themes

1. People are the most valuable resource
The EPSCoR grant is a unifying entity that has all participating institutions excited and
involved. There is a palpable energy among the institutions from the executive leadership to the
individual investigators, and a clear motivation to leverage EPSCoR as the key catalyzing agent
for the elevation of Rhode Island’s life science research capabilities to economic and
educational prominence. The EPSCoR leadership has done an outstanding job at
communicating with all levels of state government and within each institution, laying the
necessary groundwork for success of the EPSCoR program. At every level there is a
commitment to the bigger picture. The leadership of the EPSCoR grant as well as each member
institution understands the challenges ahead as well as the value of the EPSCoR grant to
establishing a culture of life science research excellence among all Rhode Island institutions.

2. Communication
The EPSCoR program reaches across eleven institutions of higher learning, each with its own
identity and trajectory, as well as into the secondary schools and state government. Due to the
large number of people involved in the EPSCoR program, communication is critical at every
level of organization within the community. We found clear evidence of active communication
within each of the EPSCoR organizations, i.e. everyone knows the benefits of the EPSCoR goals
and appreciates the bigger picture; but sustainable interorganizational communication is vital
and needs to be developed further. There is universal agreement that a centralized
communication system needs to be developed to keep all participating institutions well informed
of both opportunities available through the EPSCoR program, as well as successes achieved
through the program. The RI EPSCoR Academy is well positioned to facilitate EPSCoR
communication efforts, and an excellent top-down communication plan is in place (including
hiring an Academy director, the development of a RI EPSCoR website, a monthly EPSCoR
seminar series, and an annual EPSCoR research conference). We strongly encourage the
Academy to continue to vigorously develop these communication mechanisms and set hard
deadlines for their deployment. In addition, we see value in a bottom-up approach - the best
way to build synergy and encourage collaboration is to get researchers in the same room
together. To facilitate more individual interaction originating from the EPSCoR facilities
themselves, we suggest the following:

                                                4
1. Focused seminars. Small seminars organized by topic can be very useful in promoting
collaborations. Topics can include things like grant writing, confocal microscopy, and targeted
scientific subjects (i.e. neuroscience). When the core managers are in place, ask them to be
involved in the design and planning of monthly seminars focused on the tools within their
respective cores. These above-mentioned seminars should rotate between the campuses to
promote visitation, and be advertised widely.
2. Clearly articulate a list of research equipment and capabilities. In addition to a complete and
strong presence on the web, the core managers should develop a poster describing their facilities
and equipment. We envision one poster that would describe one research project, outlined from
start to finish, which incorporates and describes the capabilities of each instrument within all of
the cores. This poster could then be presented by core managers or student workers at all of the
science fairs, research days, etc. in the state.
3. Newsletter promotions. As new equipment is acquired, it should be actively promoted in the
Academy newsletters and e-mail communications, the main website as well as core website.
Directed examples should be provided to illustrate how the new equipment may benefit the
diversity of investigators that are involved with the RI EPSCoR. You could also have a round
table lunch or dinner discussion focused on the instrument and its capabilities. These meetings
should include both the technical capabilities of the instrument as well as broad scientific
applications to attract both obvious users as well as potential users that may not have considered
the applications of such an instrument to their research.
4. Tie the development of these activities to future funding allocations. The value of open and
frequent communication to the success of this program can not be over-emphasized.

3. Website and Advertising
Advertising of the EPSCoR program across the institutions is an important task that requires
continuing effort and development as the RII grant continues. The ideal communication scheme
will be multifaceted to both effectively reach all interested parties and to maintain the goals of
the EPSCoR program. For example, the same newsletter or communications that detail the
research resources that are important to faculty will not be as suitable for use with state
government interested in economic markers or to the citizens of Rhode Island who are interested
in educational opportunities to support a change of career into the life sciences. Therefore, a
communication program with four main target audiences is recommended:


                                                   5
       Audience 1: Faculty and staff at participating institutions
       Audience 2: Faculty and students at Rhode Island’s primary and secondary schools
       Audience 3: The general public of Rhode Island
       Audience 4: The elected officials of Rhode Island


Each audience should be targeted at defined intervals to establish consistency in the program.
The timeline for targeting each group would be dependent on the needs of that group. For
example, a monthly newsletter (described in more detail below) would be appropriate for
Audience 1, the faculty and staff at participating institutions, while a yearly report would be
appropriate for the Audience 4, the elected officials of Rhode Island. The timing for
communicating with Audience 2 and 3 would be dependent on the material that would be
communicated.


A centralized website should be developed with content appropriate for each of the audiences
mentioned above. We understand that the development of this website is in progress and
encourage it to proceed as quickly as possible. The website should be easy to find and include
the NSF logo on its pages. In addition to the development of the website, each institution must
engage their respective web development staff to ensure that the homepage EPSCoR website is
linked both from and to each institution’s web site. For example, the proteomics core at Brown
and the Genomics core at URI would benefit from web sites that they could easily maintain and
update as needed with service descriptions or equipment scheduling. To ensure a consistent
look and feel as well as defined functionality, the web development should be performed with a
mind towards current web technologies such as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) that would
provide an efficient way to support a central style and format to the website. Using technologies
such as CSS would also support a mechanism to ensure that appropriate content such as
disclaimers, logos or other information will be included on all pages, regardless of who
maintains them and most importantly provides an efficient means to update and change the
website as needed. It will be important to develop the central EPSCoR site before any web
development occurs at any of the participating institutions to prevent an inconsistent and
fragmented collection of web resources. The foundation of the EPSCoR grant for Rhode Island
is the collaboration and synergy between the institutions. The value of an organized and
dynamic web presence as an ambassador of continued and increased collaboration should not be

                                                 6
underestimated. Content features to consider for the website include web pages dedicated to
each core, outreach programs for each institution as well as high school programs, and
educational material for the general public and elected officials to understand the potential for
Rhode Island to develop its life sciences (with special emphasis on the evolution of marine
biology to a more molecular field with potential revolutionary impacts in medicine and physical
sciences). Technical features should include the ability to access and download PDF versions of
newsletters, join e-mail lists to receive newsletters or other communications, interactive content
such as tours of facilities, and examples of research and related items.


The EPSCoR leadership should identify a group at URI or Brown to lead the development of a
monthly newsletter. The newsletter should begin immediately and use color schemes and
formats that will be consistent with the website. The main method of distribution of the
newsletter should be e-mail to avoid significant printing and mailing costs although a glossy
printed version should be made annually or semi-annually to provide some literature that can be
given out and used a recruiting tool for faculty, students and businesses. Content features for
the newsletter should include spotlights on featured researchers, institutional capabilities, and
core services and costs. In concert with the development of the website and newsletter program,
an EPSCoR informational packet should be developed that can be used as an illustration of the
significant accomplishments that have been made by the state of Rhode Island in achieving
funding through the EPSCoR funding. Although the EPSCoR program is in its early stages, the
efforts that were made across the state to get to this point should be publicized and appreciated.

4. Assessment Tools and Capabilities
An important need of this EPSCoR project is to show that it is succeeding in meeting the stated
objectives, which are to (1) Increase the amount of competitively funded life science research
being conducted within the State of Rhode Island, and to (2) Foster activities that contribute to
the development of human resources, work force and new innovative economic sources within
Rhode Island, in large part by the establishment of a strong network of inter-institutional
partnerships. Thus, quantitative and qualitative data are needed that can be used to substantiate
an increase in activities related to these goals since the initiation of the grant in June 2006. The
EPSCoR program hired a contractor, Kevin Hively, to develop an assessment framework, and
he has devised an input-output chain to be used as an assessment tool. This assessment


                                                  7
approach was viewed by the review panel as an appropriate and useful one. However, its utility
will depend on the identification and selection of appropriate measures and levels of
achievement that can be reached within the time frame of the three year grant. It will be
important to also include steps that will take longer to achieve (e.g. taking a new pharmaceutical
discovery to clinical trial), but that would be part of achievements expected to take place during
future EPSCoR funding intervals.


The utility of this approach will be in the details of the design of each of the outcome chains to
be used to assess the various aspects of the grant activities. Types of outcomes that could be
considered include:
   a) success at grantsmanship (one of the examples used by Kevin that can be further
       developed) [desired outcome: increase in number of RI faculty funded at each
       institution, and in level of funding; increased funding at the smaller schools]
   b) student recruitment and training [desired outcome: increase in the number of students
       recruited to STEM disciplines at the various educational levels from high school through
       graduate school; increased numbers of students graduating at various degree levels with
       emphasis in STEM disciplines; increasing number of cross-trained graduate degrees,
       increasing the number of courses that focus/use core equipment; increasing the number
       of students in these courses.]
   c) establishment of collaborations among RI institutions [desired outcome: increased
       number of proposals submitted and projects funded that include investigators from two
       or more RI institutions; increased numbers of papers published with authors from 2 or
       more RI institutions; increased number of undergraduate and graduate students being
       guided by faculty in other institutions, increase the number of co-taught courses by
       faculty from two or more RI institutions]
   d) function of each of the core facilities [desired outcome: increased number of samples
       analyzed for each analytical instrument; increase in number and diversity of users from
       different institutions, especially the smaller colleges; development of fiscal
       sustainability of the cores]
   e) diversity in STEM workforce, faculty and students [desired outcome: increased number
       of program graduates (HS, BA, BS, certificate, graduate) that belong to an ethnic, gender
       or racial minority; increased percentage of minority faculty at RI institutions]


                                                 8
   f) economic development [desired outcome: new patents filed derived from EPSCoR
       facilitated research; increase in the size of the biotech workforce in RI; new industries
       attracted to RI; new jobs created due to EPSCoR facilitated activities]


Once the quantifiable steps leading to each outcome are selected and agreed upon, one challenge
will be to collect the data needed to quantify each step. This will require institutional
representatives and faculty to understand why collecting the data is important for success of the
grant, and support efforts to obtain the data. We suggest a web-based tool be designed that
EPSCoR investigators could use to submit new information (e.g. a new paper accepted, a cross-
trained student graduated). Compliance in reporting by investigators could be fostered by tying
it to future funding, and making it part of quarterly and final reports. Requiring investigators to
identify project milestones in their proposals, and reporting expectations should be part of all
award letters to investigators.



III. Answers to Specific Questions Posed by RI EPSCoR

1. Is there sufficient institutional support for EPSCoR research activities (e.g. financial support,
facilities, etc.)? What are the panel’s recommendations for assisting institutions with increasing
support for research activities related to EPSCoR activities?

EPSCoR and RI institutions have teamed together to provide a unique opportunity to develop
proteomics, genomics, and marine resources within the state of RI. These resources have been
well designed and are effectively serving a community of investigators. Brown and URI are to
be commended for their substantial financial contributions to build (or renovate) physical
spaces, to acquire new equipment, and to provide personnel for these core resources. We
estimate, however, that these cores have significant growth possibilities. As these resources
become better organized and their capabilities become more widely advertised, they will be used
by many more members of the EPSCoR community. The existing (or soon to be built) physical
spaces will provide terrific new facilities for the forseeable future, but we anticipate that there
will be a need for additional equipment and personnel as the use of these facilities increases. It
is highly unlikely that these cores will be self-sustaining with user fees and therefore, continued
(and perhaps additional) financial support is necessary. Large-scale sustainability funded by
center-level proposals and statewide research initiatives are solid plans and should be vigorously


                                                  9
pursued. In addition, additional revenue sources should be sought out. For example, we were
highly impressed with the shared library resources among all RI institutions. If RI life-science
departments and programs viewed the research cores in a similar way, individual institutions
could provide a level of support commensurate with their use, similar to the library model of
shared resources. This strategy would have the added benefit of providing a strong incentive for
the cores to broaden their user base to include as many RI institutions as possible - thus, the
incentive to use the cores would be a two-way street.


Perhaps the most difficult challenges exist for the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI)
– the need for space, equipment, and personnel is striking and there are no obvious, easy
solutions. Our suggestion is keep your successes going- your program appears to be ideally
suited to EPSCoR and RI economic development goals. Students will choose a biotech
curriculum if there are jobs waiting for them, so be sure that your links to industry remain
strong. As demands for the program increase, carefully trace student interest and relate growth
and growth trends to the EPSCoR Academy and the CCRI administration. We anticipate that as
the program grows, your resources will grow.


2. Has each core facility set out a viable management plan that addresses the goals of the grant,
and the needs for statewide research growth in the life sciences?

Genomics and Proteomics
The major infrastructure for each of the described core facilities is in place and all of the
equipment that was proposed in the EPSCoR grant for the first year has been purchased, is in
place, and in use. The equipment that was proposed and purchased for the genomics and
proteomics core facilities is focused on a core group of investigators or with specific projects in
mind at this stage. This will support a grass roots effort of development in the core as long as
the access and development is appropriately managed. This nucleated approach will be a
strength compared to the possible absorption of resources that are intended for the entire
EPSCoR group by a few investigators or institutions.


Each core facility should be immediately charged with developing a short-term and long-term
management plan. The short term plan should address the terms of the EPSCoR grant and
provide a detailed description of how core services will be made available at the parent

                                                 10
institution as well as available to investigators at the participating institutions. The short-term
plan should also include an outreach program to quickly disseminate information about the
services and capabilities that are available. Although the grant is in its early stages, the cores
need to be very proactive in securing an established client base in so that an effective long-term
plan can be made along with accurate financial estimates of on-going support and development
costs. For the genomics core, the sequencing services should be highlighted and widely
advertised as soon as possible. Investigators at Brown and Roger Williams are currently
sending samples out to commercial providers. Because sequencing is such a widely used
technology in biomedical research, it should serve as a foundation for the genomics core to
establish a user base and then use that base to advertise additional services such as RT-PCR. It
is entirely possible that the sequencing capabilities will be quickly saturated. This should be
both expected and planned for. To continue to develop the core facility philosophy at the Rhode
Island institutions, it is recommended that the genomics core establish a relationship with a
commercial provider or academic center in the region where they can subcontract sequencing on
an as-needed basis. The establishment and use of the core facilities requires not only effective
and efficient services to be offered and supported –it also requires the intellectual buy-in of
investigators. They should be able to easily provide samples to a central core and trust the data
that is returned back to them. Building trust and relationships is vital to the long term success of
any core facility and this must be taken into account during the development of the management
plan as well as during the recruitment of management and technical personnel. The proteomics
core is still in its infancy compared to the genomics core. A manager needs to be hired and a
service model put in place quickly. The proteomics core is currently functioning as an
equipment access core and is well used by a core group of investigators. These investigators are
providing training and assistance on an as-needed basis and clearly are a talented, dedicated and
collaborative group. This group should be leveraged to bring more users to the core but they
cannot be relied upon for the success of the core or its daily management as each of the
investigators has responsibilities that will likely be a priority over the core.


In both the genomics and proteomics cores, the short-term plan should identify what the core is
and what the business model will be. Once that is established, a long-term plan can be
developed to determine the life-span of the equipment and begin developing budgets for
equipment replacements and staff expansions. The underlying theme of both the long and short


                                                  11
term plans should be that each core needs to be operated as a business with all basic business
principles of market and supply and demand applied. Each core needs to have a very clear
financial plan from the institution that clearly illustrates its operating budget and financial
expectations. In the absence of this, it is very difficult to develop a core that will perform well
in the long-term. In genomics and proteomics, it is very reasonable to budget a 5-year life cycle
for all equipment. Stated another way, it should be expected that all equipment in the cores will
be replaced every 5 years. Anything longer and the cores will fall significantly out of date and
will not remain an asset to the research enterprise.


There are ample researchers to utilize and support all of the cores, nevertheless, each core
should be actively seeking users and recruiting projects to build a track record of success.
Advertising and web resources are important tools and should be a priority but the bottom line
will always be that a core must perform well to maintain a user base. To ensure that each core
starts and continues on a trajectory of success, an internal advisory committee should be
established for each core and be comprised of investigators from a reasonable cross-section of
institutions. Each core manager should be expected to provide an annual report to the advisory
committee to illustrate the performance of the core both in scientific and financial terms. The
advisory committee will help the core managers prioritize needs and evaluate services and
needs.


While the EPSCoR grant has provided a significant influx of equipment to each of the core
facilities, there have been other very significant grants that also greatly bolstered the research
infrastructure at Brown and URI. It was clear that this equipment could be leveraged to even
greater results if the EPSCoR, INBRE and COBRE resources are combined. The proteomics
core will benefit most substantially from this as much of the equipment that is in place at the
URI is underutilized and could be revitalized to drastically expand the capabilities of the core
facility as well as closely tie the proteomic efforts at Brown with those at URI. For example, the
CD instrument and calorimeter are wonderful tools for protein interaction and secondary
structure information but there is nothing currently in place at Brown to support any type of
protein profiling. The Typhoon Imager and spot picker at the University of Rhode Island could
be combined with modest investments in 2D gel electrophoresis equipment to create profiling
capabilities. Similarly, in the genomics core, the Affymetrix equipment that exists at Brown


                                                 12
may be of significant interest to investigators at URI and other institutions for gene expression
profiling or genotyping. Combined with the RT-PCR services, the genomics core would be able
to offer profiling services to its users with a minimum of additional investment.


It is strongly recommended that the recruitment of the core managers be done with an eye for
entrepreneurial individuals who can understand the untapped potential of what already exists at
the Rhode Island institutions. Stated another way, the Rhode Island research enterprise is a
diamond in the rough and just needs to be polished a bit to embrace its full potential.


Marine Biology
Of the three cores at the R1 institutions, the Center for Excellence in Marine Life Sciences
(CMLS) is the one with the vaguest structure and purpose. The objective of this core is to
increase access to seawater laboratory facilities equipped with a suite of new modern
instrumentation by all RI investigators, and to enhance their analytical and experimental
capabilities. A core manager will be hired in year 2 of the grant. A room in the Durbin Marine
Research Aquarium building has been identified as EPSCoR laboratory space, and will contain
equipment to be purchased in year two along with some equipment to be moved from other
related laboratories. At this time the space appears to not be in heavy demand, but use will
increase during the summer season. A clear plan identifying the core and its capabilities will
benefit the EPSCoR effort. It will also be important to advertise this facility broadly to all RI
institutes and we recommend that CLMS be actively involved in the development of the
EPSCoR web site.


The name of the CMLS facility suggests a very broad and multi-disciplinary facility. Nitrogen
cycling has been a major research theme at GSO for several decades. It is an appropriate
emphasis given the changes in wastewater management that are on-going in RI, and the major
question of how these changes will affect the ecology (and hopefully restoration of) Narraganset
Bay. This theme could be made clearer as the focal center for equipping the CMLS. Even
though the scientific equipment to be purchased for the CMLS room is generally used for
nutrient and chlorophyll analyses, there was only a brief statement to the effect that a major need
of the RI2 was a facility equipped to measure nitrogen species. Having a clear mission
statement for the capabilities and priorities for using CMLS will help attract relevant research


                                                13
and foster collaborations among investigators interested in collaborating on this theme. It can be
used to recruit summer research activities from faculty and students of the four-year schools
with interest in the broader problem of nutrient dynamics of estuarine systems. This does not
mean that projects on other topics cannot be included under the EPSCoR umbrella.


Although the space appears to be underutilized at this time, as already noted, field research in RI
is heavier in the summer when working in the bay and surrounding areas is easier. It is not clear
how space allocation among potential users will be moderated to make it possible for non-GSO
faculty and students to work there. A web-based reservation system has been suggested for the
genomics and proteomics facilities, but this may not be appropriate for CMLS. A user
committee should be formed, and should consider short proposals for space use, and have the
task of selecting those projects most likely to advance the central theme and lead to new
sponsored research (such a program is outlined in the proposal). This committee could also
consider how complimentary projects could be encouraged to collaborate and share space,
which will be at a premium in a few seasons.


The Center for Undergraduate Research, Education and Outreach in Marine Life Sciences at
RWU was less discussed in the proposal, but our panel was impressed with the energy of the
activities and student participation we observed during our visit. Is there a plan to coordinate
use of the resources at this center with those at CMLS? Both Centers have the goal of granting
access to researchers from outside their respective institutions, which is challenging when space
is tight.

3. Are there enough researchers to use each facility to its potential? How can the core facility
management teams best encourage faculty and students from across the state to use each
facility?


Genomics and Proteomics
As stated in the response to Question 2, there are ample researchers to utilize the cores outlined
in the application. However, both the proteomic and genomics cores need to quickly establish a
defined and robust list of services that can be offered to the participating institutions and utilized
to generate meaningful and important data that significantly advances research projects. The
establishment and development of the specific services that will be offered in each core will


                                                 14
define if researchers will use the facilities to their potential. Just as an individual investigator’s
research program must continually evolve and advance to remain competitive in their field, core
facilities must continually evolve and advance to offer the best and latest services to their
investigators.


The core facility management teams should be tasked with maintaining an active research and
development program aimed at prototyping new services and technologies. With the right
leadership in each core, this effort will come naturally and the desire and ability to maintain
such a program should be a key factor in identifying the leadership for each core. The
proteomics and genomics cores should also actively develop a prioritization plan for situations
where demand for services exceeds capabilities. Each core will need to establish the best
practice for this based on the final services offered. As stated above, the sequencing core may
need to subcontract work to a commercial provider to maintain appropriate turn-around time of
data. In the proteomics core where the current mode of operation is equipment access, the core
may need to offer extended hours or purchase additional equipment. It is vital to establish a
very detailed usage log for the existing equipment that can be assessed to determine the usage
times that are heaviest (likely to be around grant deadlines) and determine the likely timescale
for the need for new equipment. A 12 to 18 month lead for equipment purchases is suggested to
allow enough time to submit shared equipment grants or identify other resources to support the
purchase of new equipment.


Two observations made during the site visit represent significant opportunities for the EPSCoR
researchers. First, as stated above, there is significant equipment at the various institutions that
could be leveraged to greatly expand the available services without significant investments. A
detailed evaluation of the existing equipment that could be made available under the direction
and leadership of a core should be immediately performed to identify other opportunities where
existing investments and equipment can be leveraged to immediate gains. Second, the core
facilities should be actively fostering collaboration among the institutions. There will be few
other individuals outside of the core leaders who will have an opportunity to interact with the
diversity of investigators across the state compared to the core leaders. This knowledge should
be used to foster new and innovative collaborations among investigators who may not have had
an opportunity to interact. This type of effort in addition to the communication and outreach


                                                  15
efforts of the EPSCoR Academy should provide the catalysis for many new and exciting
research collaborations that will significantly enhance the research competitiveness of the Rhode
Island life sciences.


Marine Biology
The proposal stressed the need for faculty and students from the non-marine campuses to have
access to facilities with direct access to running seawater and the coastal environment.
Suggestions were made above as to how to encourage use of CMLS by non-GSO researchers.
There is some modest collaboration already among faculty from the non-marine campuses and
those at GSO and RWU, especially among Brown and URI scientists. Is facility availability the
factor limiting more marine research by faculty from the four-year schools, or is it release time
to get the funding and do the research? If the latter, then the new Centers at URI and RWU will
have minimal effect on this intended goal, and will benefit only the Brown faculty. If
undergraduate students from the 4-year schools (other than RWU) are to benefit from these
facilities during the school year, a flexible course scheduling will be needed that blocks out
longer periods of time during the week for them to travel to the marine labs. Otherwise, they
will be limited to summer research experiences, which are fine too, and can be funded by special
NSF programs.


URI is making a major commitment to hiring new marine faculty, and we met two impressive
recent female faculty hires. An additional four faculty will be hired over the next few years.
Along with new hires at Brown, and hopefully the recruiting of more faculty from the four-year
schools, there should be more than sufficient researchers to fill up the existing space, and space
may in fact again become a limiting factor.



4. Are the facilities on a path to support the growth of a relevant and sustainable portfolio of
research activities within each facility?


Genomics and Proteomics
This question is largely addressed in the answers provided to questions 2 and 3. The facilities
are indeed on a path to support outstanding research activities but it is too early to tell what the
ultimate impact these cores will have is. Overall impact and sustainability is entirely reliant on


                                                 16
the quality of the core leadership and the services offered. It is vital to appreciate that the cores
will succeed based on fundamental business principles. If they are not able to offer a high-
quality service at an appropriate price, it is unlikely that they will succeed in the long term.
Standard supply and demand combined with perceived and actual quality of services will
determine the viability of any shared resource that derives its operating budget from user fees.
Stated another way, each core is firmly in control of its own destiny and these formative times
are very important in establishing a culture at the participating institutions where the faculty
utilize, support and trust core facilities. Each core should have a mission statement, specific
aims and a clear appreciation of its “job” in relation to EPSCoR. Each core should also have an
advisory committee that reviews its progress and success on an annual or semi-annual basis.
It is reasonable to state that each core facility is standing at the beginning of the path to
sustainability. This question should be carefully revisited at the end of year two after each core
is more established and a Proteomics manager has been hired.


Marine Biology
Parts of this question have been addressed in several places above. Space at RWU seemed to be
fully used already, and thus there is not really much scope for expanding the range and number
of projects to be investigated there. It was not clear whether RWU (or outsiders) are charged for
use of the seawater facility. Thus much of the research is likely supported in-house with help
from the undergraduate population. It is difficult to judge what the GSO space looks like in the
summer when more people use the facility. During our visit there was plenty of open space for
setting up new studies that require running seawater. Use of the facility by new users, especially
those from the four-year schools who may not have sponsored grants, should be encouraged.
Pilot project funds will help with this need.

5. What are potential barriers to research productivity within the core facilities and/or research
focus areas?

The major barrier for researchers everywhere in the US is the poor funding climate (<10 %
success rate in most programs). Science funding has not kept up with the pace of inflation and
the need for expensive modern equipment. This, coupled with an increasing number of
scientists competing for limited funds, and in many cases less state support for research, makes
it difficult for experienced researchers to keep programs thriving, and also difficult for new


                                                  17
researchers and faculty with heavy teaching loads to break into the system. The ultimate goal of
EPSCoR is for RI researchers to garner a larger proportion of Federal funding, but this means
out-competing researchers from other states, who are also working hard to keep up their funding
levels. Thus the EPSCoR goal is somewhat of a ‘catch-22’. The question above is about
research productivity which can be decoupled from the level of federal (NSF) funding if the
state and local industry funds more of the research. With pharmaceutical industries like Amgen
moving into RI, a major effort should be made by the EPSCoR directors to court this potentially
rich funding source.


It was also clear from discussions with the faculty from the four-year schools that balancing
teaching requirements with research effort needed to get federal grants was a challenge from
both the time and facilities stand-points. It will be up to upper management at these schools to
recognize scientific research as a curriculum goal and build a sustainable system that fully
integrates teaching and research, In the short term this could be justified by faculty getting
more formal recognition for the inclusion of undergraduate students in their research (i.e.
students sign up for research course credits; more research credits required as part of
undergraduate science degrees). In the long-term we believe that research should be build into
the entire four-year curriculum, from introductory classes to individual senior projects.

6. What kind of training opportunities should be provided for faculty and students to use core
facilities? Who should deliver the training?


As stated above, the recruitment of users to the cores and cultivation of relationships with those
investigators will be of paramount importance to the success of both the core facilities as well as
the overall EPSCoR effort. Therefore, the short and long term plans should contain a significant
training effort. The core managers will be responsible for facilitating the training either by
providing it themselves or by coordinating key users to provide training on specific equipment
or techniques. In the case where the core will offer a service rather than access to equipment,
the training sessions should be aimed to educate users on what impact that service can have on
their research. The value of these efforts should not be underestimated. The most significant
barrier that each of the cores will encounter is educating their constituency on what they have to
offer and how that offering will be able to help the investigator improve the competitiveness of
their research or provide a valuable teaching exercise to their students. Each of the cores should


                                                18
establish a curriculum, and the development of that curriculum should be a major responsibility
of the core manager. Some ideas for these efforts include modules, seminars, web-based videos
and cutting-edge research examples. These educational efforts should include the theoretical
basis of techniques as well as their application. Outreach should be made to the instructors and
faculty teaching in the undergraduate and graduate setting to provide slide materials and content.
For example, professors who teach introductory biology classes can reference equipment that is
available during their lectures.


These efforts are paramount to the success of the EPSCoR grant as it was proposed. If
managers are not in place by Year 2, then the EPSCoR leadership needs to identify faculty at
each institution who can provide this training and education. This is particularly true for the
Proteomics Core. One possibility to reduce the effort required of the investigator would be to
utilize the video conferencing equipment available to record seminars and make them available
on the internet.



7. What is the current status of supporting and integrating graduate (and undergraduate)
students from Brown and URI into EPSCoR programs?

The ultimate success of the EPSCoR plan is dependent on the recruitment, training, and
retention of high quality RI high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. We have
observed exceptionally talented undergraduate and graduate students and note that the EPSCoR
program has already had an impact on student success. Furthermore, faculty mentorship of
these students is outstanding and they also are a vital component of the student pipeline. Thus,
there is a firm foundation of high quality students and faculty and RI is poised to establish a
broad base of sustainable, educational excellence across all institutions.


Many laudable educational goals are described in the proposal and we encourage their
implementation. More specifically, the cross-training and team-learning goals of graduate
students in proteomics, genomics, and marine life sciences at URI and Brown are excellent ideas
and we were impressed with the commitment of both institutions to these goals by the
equalization of tuition and stipends. The two RI Centers for Undergraduate Research, Education
and Outreach are appropriate organizations to develop these resources at the undergraduate


                                                19
level. These centers require strong faculty commitments – they are the bridge between the cores
and the classroom. In addition, we note that funding for the Center at PC is no longer in the
revised budget. We believe that this Center is an important element in the development of
proteomics and genomics at the undergraduate level - who will take over these responsibilities?
These educational goals are too important to abolish. In addition, we expect that the
undergraduate Center faculty together with the EPSCoR Academy will play a pivotal role in
merging undergraduate and graduate programs together by identifying and directing specific
undergraduate students to appropriate graduate programs at URI and Brown for their continued
education.


One of our biggest concerns about the undergraduate and graduate programs is sustainability
and continuity of student interdisciplinary programs. At they graduate level - are EPSCoR
graduate student stipends provided to individual students for one year of support? Are there
provisions to allow for longer-term commitments? Do these stipends require student teaching?
We suggest that EPSCoR-supported students teach or assist, on a rotational basis, in the cores.
In the future, perhaps core facilities can provide graduate student stipends. At the undergraduate
level, faculty rely on teaching release time for research. This is not a sustainable model and
promotes the use of periodic temporary adjunct faculty. Institutions should try to reduce
teaching loads so that research is an ongoing process that does not interrupt teaching goals. Of
course, additional FTE are an obvious solution, however another solution would be to hire
additional support staff to teach laboratory sections to relieve some of the teaching pressure, but
still provide continuity in the classroom. We also note that a long-term goal of the EPSCoR
proposal is to serve 5-10 faculty and 20-40 undergraduate students. We believe that this is a
very obtainable goal (perhaps even an underestimate) that could be financially supported, in
part, by teaching budgets if the use of the cores is built into the curriculum. In addition, one or
two faculty at each undergraduate institution should be identified as potential users by the
EPSCoR Academy and these persons should be given as many resources as possible in the short
term to encourage their use of core facilities. Well-established pipelines begin with one person.




                                                 20
IV. Conclusion and final thoughts
The Rhode Island EPSCoR program has had some rapid success in its first year: there is a strong
energy at all levels of each of the participating institutions, the state is involved and invested in
the success of the program and there are very clear opportunities for success in outreach to the
community colleges and high school programs to make life sciences more prominent as both an
area of interest but also as an area of significant career opportunity. The people of Rhode Island
are clearly invested in the life sciences based on the attitude and investments made by the
elected government officials. The major challenges ahead for the EPSCoR program are
establishing their core facilities as models for continued development of scientific resources. If
the three proposed cores are successful, there is no reason that additional core facilities would
not be developed using the same blueprint for success. Year 2 plans will involve developing the
efforts at the high school and undergraduate level. Retention of the best and brightest minds
from each will be vital to the overall success of the program. Plans for establishing these efforts
as well as measuring success need to be a top priority along with communication.


Communication both within and between institutions is critical to the short-term and long-term
success of the EPSCoR program. Although this was discussed in detail in this report, it can not
be stressed enough and is repeated here. Communication and collaboration will have more
impact than any other effort made in the program. If the participating institutions are able to
effectively leverage their resources (both tangible and intellectual), there is no doubt that
research competitiveness will be substantially enhanced. While Rhode Island is the smallest
state in the union, its concentration of outstanding institutions of higher learning provide it with
a unique opportunity to have an unprecedented impact on the scientific community by
leveraging its marine sciences towards molecular end-points. The potential this offers is truly
limitless.




                                                  21
Appendix: Panel agenda

                               Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR
                                    AAAS Site Visit
                                 January 21 – 24, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Panel Arrives                       Time: Dr. Lehman – Driving
                                          Dr. Szmant – 3:52
                                          Dr. Hunt – 4:17
                                          Dr. Levy – 4:30

Dinner Time: 5:30                 Location:     Legal Seafood
Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant; Babette Allina


Monday, January 22, 2007

Breakfast w/ State Committee/ Exec. Committee Reps.
Time: 8:00-9:30           Location:    RI Economic Council

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; State Committee: Paul Choquette, Jr., Chair; Nancy Langrall, Saul Kaplan* Executive
Committee: Dr. Kenneth Payne, Kip Bergstrom*

*See EPSCoR Membership lists

Meet w/ Advisory Council
Time: 10:00-11:30        Location:         Providence College

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Advisory Council*

Meeting with Brown University Provost
Time: 12:00-12:30        Location:    Brown University

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Provost David I. Kertzer, Brown University

Lunch
Time: 12:45-1:45            Location:      Brown University

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Kevin Hively, Managing Partner, Ninigret Partners, Consultant for Development of
EPSCoR Evaluation Framework




                                             22
Tour RI Center for Proteomics
Time: 2:00-3:30           Location:         Brown University

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Drs. Ed Hawrot, David Rowley, Dale Mierke, Wolfgang Peti, Rebecca Page, Bongsup
Cho; Jaoa Poalo; Yana Reshetnyak; Peter Holden

Dinner (AAAS solo)                  Time:                         Location:    N/A



Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Tour Education Center for Marine Life Sciences
Time: 9:00-10:30             Location:     Roger Williams University
Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Drs. Jeff Hughes, Linda Riley, Marcie Marston (RWU); Josephine Pino (CCRI)


Meeting with URI President and Provost
Time: 11:30-12:00         Location:    URI, Kingston

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; President Robert L. Carothers; Provost M. Beverly Swan; Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, Vice
Provost for Academic Affairs

Lunch
Time: 12:15-1:15            Location:       URI University Club

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Dr. Lynn Pasquerella

Tour Rhode Island Center for Genomics & INBRE Facility
Time: 1:30 – 3:00         Location:    URI, Kingston

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Drs. David Nelson, Bongsup Cho; Paul Johnson


Tour Rhode Island Center for Marine Excellence
Time: 3:15-5:00           Location:    URI Narragansett Bay

Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina; Dean David Framer; Associate Dean Kate Moran; Drs. Jennifer Specker, David Rand,
Bethany Jenkins, Tatiana Rynearson; Wally Fulweiler; Robert Haney


                                             23
Dinner                               Time: 6:00                       Location:      TBD
Participants:   AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Breakfast
Time: 8:00-8:30              Location:     Crowne Plaza Hotel Wellington Room

Participants:   AAAS Panel; Dr. Jeff Seemann; Babette Allina


Morning Meeting
Time: 8:30-11:30             Location:     As above
Participants: AAAS solo

Discussion:
Time: 11:30-12:30         Location:      As above
Participants: AAAS Panel; Drs. Jeff Seemann, Clyde Briant, Kaelyn McGregor; Babette
Allina




                                             24
                       DRAFT




EPSCOR RHODE ISLAND
Evaluation Framework
January 2007
Materials reviewed – selected sample


    Boston Consulting Group, “Measuring Innovation & Innovations Metrics Survey” -
    2006
    NSF, “Advancing Measures of Innovation Workshop Summary Report ” - 2006
    RI STAC, “Innovate RI” – 2005
    NBER Working Paper “ Is Academic Science Driving A Surge in Industrial Innovation”-
    2003
    New Economy Index.org
    OECD, “Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard” - 2005
    AUTM, “FY 2004 Licensing Survey” – 2005
    Council on Competitiveness, “Measuring Regional Innovation” - 2005
Criteria for data

     Collectible
     Timely
     Informative
     Actionable
Frameworks considered


   Return on Investment
   Balanced Scorecard
   Value-added
   Input – Output Chain
Assessment of frameworks


   Framework          Advantages                        Disadvantages


  Return on      Familiar concept              Financially-driven
 Investment      Outcome-focused               Difficult to integrate non financial
                                             data elements
                                               Lagging indicator




 Balanced         Integrates various types      Can be complex to use as a
 Scorecard     of measures                   management tool
                  Balances against drive        Creates questions about priorities
               toward financial measures        Some data may not be easily
                  Uses leading and           collectable
               lagging indicators
Assessment of frameworks (continued)


   Framework           Advantages                       Disadvantages



                   Measures incremental          Requires national data which
 “Value-added”   impact of EPSCOR             is not timely
                                                 Low baseline numbers may
                                              lead to misleading interpretations
                                                 Lagging indicator measure




  Input-Output      Simple concept               Lacks a comparative perspective
     Chain          Shows line-of-sight          Can lead to too much focus on
                 between inputs and outputs   inputs
                    Creates ability to
                 evaluate “yield”
                    Provides leading and
                 lagging indicators
Examples of Input – Output Chain




                         Basic Science Academic Economic Innovation Chain
                         Basic Science Academic Economic Innovation Chain




                     Funded
                     Funded             Peer Reviewed
                                        Peer Reviewed            Protected
                                                                  Protected      Technology
                                                                                 Technology        Licensing
                                                                                                   Licensing
  Proposals
  Proposals          Proposals
                     Proposals          Published Research
                                        Published Research       IP
                                                                  IP             Transferred
                                                                                 Transferred       Revenues
                                                                                                   Revenues


     Increase
      Increase
  in proposals
   in proposals
  over baseline
  over baseline    Relative measure:
                    Relative measure:
                      success rate
                      success rate
                   absolute measure
                    absolute measure
                  increase in number
                   increase in number      Increase in
                                            Increase in
                      of proposals
                       of proposals     published research
                                        published research
                                                              # of patents or
                                                              # of patents or
                                                             other forms of IP
                                                             other forms of IP    Technology
                                                                                   Technology
                                                                protection
                                                                 protection          licensed
                                                                                      licensed     Number of
                                                                                                   Number of
                                                                                  by start ups
                                                                                   by start ups     revenue
                                                                                                     revenue
                                                                                   or ongoing
                                                                                    or ongoing     generating
                                                                                                   generating
                                                                                   enterprises
                                                                                   enterprises      licenses
                                                                                                     licenses
                                                                                 % of licenses
                                                                                  % of licenses
                                                                                 granted locally
                                                                                 granted locally
Examples of Input – Output Chain



                         Diversity Recruitment & Placement Chain




  Impressions     Inquiries     Qualified      Applications   Acceptance   Take Up
                                 Leads                                      Rates



   Number of     Requests       Requests       Submitted      Approved
   “Eyeballs”        for           For        Applications    Applicants
    Reached      Additional    Applications
                Information
Measuring EPSCOR’s impact on driving innovation
in the RI economy using the Input-Output Chain



            Innovation
              In the              =      F (creativity, capacity, dissemination, application)
             Economy



                                                       where



                                  “Creativity”: an idea* must be created
                                 “Capacity”: an idea must be pursuable
                                “Dissemination”: an idea must be known
                                 “Application”: an idea must be utilized




  * Idea can mean a theory, discovery, research finding, process innovation, patent, etc., given the context
Focused metrics on measuring EPSCOR’s
impact on innovation in the RI economy


        Functional
                                     Metric Sample
         Element


 “Creativity”          Funded proposals




 “Capacity”            Sponsored research by RI companies



                       CRADAs with RI companies
 “Dissemination”       Hired fellows by RI companies




 “Application”         Patent citations by RI companies
                       Licensing revenue from RI companies
Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                          5/15/2007
Appendix 11: Budget Report




                                            Communications project to commence this
                                            summer, request to carry over funds for
                                            publications, printing, materials, and
                                            supplies

                                             EPSCoR / State Science and Technology
                                            Advisory Council partnership to establish
                                            central Research Alliance Website - RFP
                                            is under review; Institutional Diversity
                                            Workshop planned for September 2007;
                                            Short Courses are being developed by
                                            Core Facilities directors and faculty.




                                            Invoiced 4/25/07
                                            Obligated for Mass Spectrometer;
                                            Graduate student stipend
                                            Request to carry over salary and support
                                            for the Biotech Research and Outreach
                                            Center Coordinator. Application closed on
                                            5/4/07. Interim part-time coordinator hired
                                            4/1-5/31

                                            Indirect costs will not be invoiced, (PC
                                            does not have a negotiated federal indirect
                                            cost rate). Funds will be re-budgeted
                                            within existing subcontract categories
                                            based on justification provided by PC
                                            Remaining travel balance will be
                                            rebudgeted for supplies to support faculty
                                            currently supported on grant.
                                            Request to carry over salary for Center
                                            Coordinator.
                                            Invoiced 10/6/06




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Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Annual Report                                         5/15/2007
Appendix 11: Budget Report




                                            Travel, printing costs, and other misc.
                                            office expenses to support EPSCoR
                                            Academy
                                            Request to carry over salary for EPSCoR
                                            Academy Director position, search initiated
                                            5/07.



                                            Remaining preparation laboratory
                                            equipment will be purchased for work
                                            scheduled to begin this summer: mass
                                            spectrometer, computers to interface with
                                            Lachat Nutrient Analyzer, Mettler
                                            Analytical balance, Turner Flourometer.
                                            Aquarium facility will purchase equipment
                                            upon completion of engineering designs:
                                            40-ton air-cooled chiller & controls,
                                            Barnstead Deionized Water System,
                                            Dehumidification System, Seawater
                                            Delivery, Integrated Monitoring & Control
                                            System, Seawater large-diameter
                                            distribution system




                                            Invoiced 12/20/06




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