SMARTS/SPIN Workshops Offered in March

Are you interested in searching our funding database for sponsors and programs interested in funding your research, educational, or outreach activity?  Are you interested in receiving targeted funding opportunities that align with your interests daily or weekly?

If so, please consider participating in a brief workshop on the use of SPIN and SMARTS.  SPIN is a database of funding opportunities from government/public sources, private foundations, and corporations from all disciplines.  SMARTS is an email notification system that alerts researchers to new or updated opportunities which align with their research interests.  SMARTS is connected to the funding opportunities listed in the SPIN database.

This workshop will provide participants with:

  • An overview of the SPIN database, including how to search for funding opportunities;
  • Creating your SPIN account; and
  • Creating and updating your SMARTS notifications.

Four workshops will be held in March 2019.  Each workshop will have approximately 30 minutes of brief instruction, followed by 30 minutes for participants to utilize SPIN/SMARTS.  Each session will be held at a campus computer lab; there is no need for participants to bring their own device.

Workshops will be held:

  • Monday 11 March 2019 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in Martha Miller 237;
  • Tuesday 12 March 2019 from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in Schaap 3002;
  • Wednesday 27 March 2019 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am in Schaap 3002; and
  • Thursday 28 March 2019 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in Martha Miller 237.

Because space is limited in each computer lab, please RSVP for these dates in advance of the sessions.  You do not need to attend more than one session; content for each session will be similar.

Questions?  Please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

National Science Foundation resumes operations

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has posted a notice regarding the resumption of operations following the government shutdown.  NSF will be focusing on high-priority areas as it works to restart its operations following the shutdown.

While FastLane remained open to accept proposals during the shutdown, a number of Program Solicitations and Dear Colleague Letter deadlines have been extended–see the notice for additional details on which programs have been impacted.

Questions?  Please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

Deirdre Johnston receives new Great Lakes Colleges Association award

Deirdre Johnston, Interim Associate Dean for Global Education and Professor of Communication, received a new Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) award of $27,000 for a project titled Global Health in the Liberal Arts Collaborative.  The award period is 10 June 2019 through 14 June 2019.

This project will send eight Hope faculty members to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) to attend a Global Health Collaborative workshop that will bring Hope and USFQ faculty together to discuss global health courses, research, and associated community service.  Potential outcomes of this project include new global health courses and program development, exploration of community-based global health program development, new models for collaboration with USFQ Galapagos and Tiputini research stations, and new health-related collaborations.

Congratulations, Dr. Johnston, on your new GLCA award!

Impact of Government Shutdown on Federal Grants and Contracts

With the ongoing federal government shutdown, there may be some impacts to proposals and awards.  The government shutdown does not impact all federal agencies–the following agencies are open and following standard business operations:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health)
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

No impacts to federal proposals or awards from any of these agencies are expected; proposal and award processing will continue accordingly.

The following agencies are considered CLOSED, with only essential staff reporting to work (with most grant and contract staff not considered essential):

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Treasury
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Science Foundation

Impacts on Proposals with Upcoming Deadlines to CLOSED Agencies:

Most agencies continue to solicit proposals via, FastLane, NSPIRES, and other proposal submission systems.  Principal investigators are encouraged to submit proposals in accordance with published deadlines and as application packages remain available.  Technical support, however, will not be available from the federal government, so please plan accordingly in terms of allowing sufficient time to submit proposals in advance of the deadline.  Extensions to submit proposals due to technical errors may not be granted.

Impacts on Proposals Submitted to CLOSED Agencies:

As anticipated, proposals submitted to agencies that are CLOSED will likely require additional time for review.   For projects selected for funding, additional time will be required for audit and review prior to final award issuance.   Sponsors may not be able to honor their originally posted review and decision timelines.

Impacts on Awards from CLOSED Agencies: 

For the most part, work may continue on awards issued by CLOSED agencies.  If you encounter an issue that will require sponsor approval (i.e., rebudgeting funds, purchase of equipment not otherwise budgeted/approved, reduction of effort, etc.), Hope will not be able to obtain approval and we will not be able to complete the request until the government re-opens.

If you receive a stop-work order from a sponsor due to a lapse in appropriations, please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (, as soon as possible.

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs will continue to monitor the federal budget situation and provide updates if/when they become available.  Specific questions may be directed to Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

Anna-Lisa Cox’s The Bone and Sinew of the Land one of 2018’s best history books!

Anna-Lisa Cox’s book, The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, was recently listed as one of Smithsonian’s Best History Books of 2018!

Anna-Lisa explores the stories of nearly 300 African-American families that migrated to the Northwest Territory in the early 19th century.  In what would later become the present states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the Northwest Territory was the first territory to ban slavery and establish equal voting rights for all men.  Despite the premise of equality within the Territory, these pioneers soon found themselves the target of racist backlash and conflict.  The book explores the unique time and place to re-conceptualize the image of the American pioneer and explore the challenges they faced during this tumultuous period.

Congratulations on your achievement, Anna-Lisa!

NSF BIO Directorate eliminates proposal submission limits

In August, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) instituted new limits for proposal submissions–applicants could only be listed as PI or Co-PI on one proposal per year.

However, feedback from the community indicated that such limits may hinder collaboration as well as limit the number of early career investigators that may receive new awards.  Thus, effective 15 November 2018, BIO has eliminated the proposal submission limits.

Additional details regarding the elimination of the limits may be found on the NSF BIO Directorate blog.  Any references to the proposal limits for PIs/Co-PIs in the Fiscal Year 2019 BIO solicitations are no longer valid.

The Hope College Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club Receives New Grant

The Hope College Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club received a new $250 grant from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in support of outreach activities designed to connect elementary students to opportunities in science.

The Hope College Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Club will utilize the funds to invest in protein and DNA 3D modeling kits to help students visualize the biochemical principles.  Funds will be used to support a strawberry DNA extraction experiment to the students–introducing them to very basic biochemical principles.

Congratulations to Maria Hledin, Faculty Advisor, and the Club’s Undergraduate Organizers: Prescott Binder (President), Marissa Solorzano (Vice-President), Isaiah Hough (Treasurer), and Mackenna Senti (Activities Coordinator)!  Your ASBMB grant is testament to the importance of the Club’s activities, connecting to the broader community, and educating the next generation of scientists!

Hope Summer Repertory Theatre receives a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grant

The Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT) received a $15,000 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) to support the 2019 season!  Funding will support the five show season from May through August 2019, with performances of West Side Story, Shakespeare in Love, truth: the Testimonial of Sojourner Truth, The Old Man and The Old Moon, and Elephant & Piggie.

Each year, HSRT employs approximately 100 professional artists and technicians from around the country and typically engages over 5,000 unique audience members annually.  HSRT audiences represent a diverse cross-section from communities primarily located in Ottawa, Kent, and Allegan counties and offer a great opportunity to share artistic talent with others.

Congratulations on your MCACA award, Anne Bakker and Reagan Chesnut!

Register to attend the Michigan Space Grant Consortium Conference!

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) Fall Conference is fast approaching (November 10, 2018) with the deadline for registering occurring very soon (October 22, 2018).  We would like to get a good representation of Hope College for the meeting. There have been faculty who have been funded in the past who have been reluctant to go to this great small conference that is important to MSGC.  It is a great conference for students to make presentations and participate in an interactive professional development opportunity. We are hoping that faculty and students who have been funded last year and this year would be able to attend. Students will have their travel expenses and hotel paid by the University of Michigan; please email Brenda Vyletel, Program Manager (, before the conference registration deadline.

In addition, note the proposal deadline for both faculty research projects and student fellowships: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm.

Undergraduate Fellowship awards are going up to $3,000 this fall.  Yet the funds available remain the same, so competition will be stronger.

If you encounter issues or have questions about the MSGC Conference or the grant and fellowship opportunities, please contact Peter Gonthier, MSGC Representative for Hope College (

NSF to Live Stream their Fall 2018 Grants Conference

For Fall 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will live stream their New Orleans Grants Conference for those unable to attend in person.  The conference is scheduled for November 8th and 9th from 9 am to 6 pm ET both days.

The conference is primarily designed to give new faculty key insights into a wide range of current issues at NSF, including proposal preparation and merit review basics, award management topics, and other important information.  Highlights include:
  • New programs and initiatives
  • Future directions and strategies to national science policy
  • Proposal preparation
  • NSF’s merit review process
  • Conflict of interest policies
If interested in the live stream, note the following:
If you plan to submit a proposal in the next year, it may be worthwhile attending a few of the sessions virtually (especially the merit review session).
Feel free to contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs, with any questions about the NSF Fall 2018 Grants Conference.