April 2021


Indirect Costs Procedures for FY 2022 and Beyond


By Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School, President John Floros, and Executive Vice President and Provost Carol Parker


The following article expands on a Research and Graduate Studies Digest article published in October 2019. 

In order to meet the LEADS 2025 strategic plan goal of Elevating Research and Creativity, we need resources. Typically, moneys from the State, tuition and fees, endowment income and gifts, investment income, license fees, royalties and equity, and auxiliary units have limitations that do not allow for full investment in research.

The best source of funds for research, scholarship, and creative activity is external sponsors who are able and willing to pay for full, allowable indirect costs (IDC). The reason for charging IDC, often times referred to as overhead or facilities and administrative costs, is to recover costs incurred in the performance of research that are not paid for directly (e.g., salaries and stipends of researchers and students, lab supplies and equipment, travel) by the grant or contract. The IDC rate at NMSU is negotiated with the federal government.

Often, the Vice President for Research (VPR) gets asked to waive some or all indirect costs (IDC) budgeted in a grant submission. When principal investigators ask the VPR to waive IDC that a sponsor is willing and able to pay, they are asking the VPR to approve use of internal resources (institutional and general funds mostly) to cover overhead costs. These are internal resources that could be spent on faculty start-up, graduate student support, required cost-sharing on grants, instrument purchases and maintenance, seed grants and bridge funding. Every IDC dollar waived is a dollar not available for the strategic needs of NMSU’s research enterprise.

Not all sponsors, Federal and otherwise, pay the full, negotiated IDC rate. For example, the Department of Education regularly has an IDC rate cap of 8%, significantly below the 48% on campus rate charged by NMSU. It is the policy of the Office of the Vice President for Research to allow submissions to sponsors who do not pay the full rate, including submissions to sponsors that do not pay any IDC. Every time that NMSU accepts an external grant and contract that does not provide full IDC, however, we must use other funds to defray the cost of personnel (administrative, financial, maintenance, janitorial, etc.), compliance, safety, IT, utilities, library and research facilities and other.

Beginning on July 1, 2021 (FY22), the following will apply:

  1. NO IDC waivers will be approved; external sponsors will be charged the maximum IDC they allow;
  2. Historical IDC waivers will no longer be grandfathered for new grants and contracts beginning FY22;
  3. The NMSU Foundation is NOT a means to avoid IDC charges. Only proposals that require processing through a 501(c)(3) or business and industry projects without clear deliverables and with budgets less than $50K should go through the NMSU Foundation.

It is imperative that our research enterprise mindset move past IDC waivers and focus on generating additional resources needed to meet LEADS 2025 goals.




LEADS 2025 COVID19 Performance Fund


By Alisha Giron, Assistant Vice President for Research


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School invites proposals for LEADS 2025 COVID19 Performance Fund, that is derived from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF). Eligible applicants are NMSU faculty as well as staff in the offices of the Chancellor, the President, Academic Affairs, Student Success, Administration and Finance, and Research and Graduate School. Applicants must propose projects that address limitations caused by the COVID19 pandemic, are aligned with NMSU's LEADS 2025 goals as well as the intent of the HEERF funds.  Efforts must aim to enhance faculty and staff readiness to improve student success at NMSU. Awards will range from $50,000 and $750,000 and must be expended by June 30, 2023, with 50% of the funds to be used by June 30, 2022. The deadline to submit five-page proposals, budget and additional information is April 23, 2021. The complete announcement is available here. To access the mandatory template to be used for development of proposal click here. For more information, please send email to vpr@nmsu.edu.




Research Administration Spotlight: Michelle Gavin


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


Every year, Research Integrity and Compliance (RIC) processes hundreds of applications for research involving human subjects. Last year RIC processed more than a thousand applications to be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), a federally mandated body established to comply with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the protection of human subjects. While principal investigators submit these applications through NMSU’s electronic workflow system known as the Maestro, each of the submitted applications go through comprehensive compliance checks by Ms. Michelle Gavin, Research Integrity Coordinator at RIC, before they are reviewed by the IRB. Those who submit IRB applications or pose questions about the process are more than likely familiar with Michelle, but it would be a good idea to let NMSU community learn more about her and what she does at RIC.


When did you begin working at NMSU?   


I joined NMSU in January 2003 to support information technology (IT) initiatives within the Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) and the Office of the Vice President for Research/Graduate school. Since joining NMSU, I have also been involved in many STEM related outreach and education programs as well as NMSU committees which included serving as the co-chair of the NMSU Outcomes Assessment Committee, participating in University Outcomes Assessment Council, being a representative in Campus Planning, Space, Loss Prevention, Loss Control, and serving in the Online Training Committees.


When did you join RIC?


I began working at RIC in 2011 to use my IT, software development, and project management skills to move the IRB and other committee processes from paper based to an electronic environment.  Along with Ed Zenisek, a Research IT software developer, we designed and developed the Maestro Review System.  Since it became operational in January 2013, Maestro has provided researchers, RIC, and the IRB committee the mechanism to process over 6,500 IRB submissions with over 4,087 users from NMSU, NM Department of Health, and other non-NMSU researchers. The Maestro team has also supported the Arrowhead Center activities including the Launch program and the Aggie I-Corps. 


Using Maestro has been extremely beneficial especially given the challenges we all have faced during the past year dealing with COVID 19 and having to work remotely. Maestro allowed faculty, staff, and students to continue their research projects as well as initiate new research projects involving human subject participants. 


Please tell us about your responsibilities at RIC.


I provide IRB application process support as well as Maestro System support to the research community and the IRB committee.  I also offer user training for researchers as well as committee members, both on using the Maestro system and the IRB process.  I handle all phone calls, emails, organizing Zoom meetings for researchers and the IRB Committee. In addition, I develop the IRB meeting agendas, draft minutes and reports, design informational products, and attend to any special projects that the IRB committee initiates, namely analyzing the IRB user surveys and changes in the federal, state, and agency regulations.  


What do you enjoy most about your job?


The most enjoyable part and yet sometimes most challenging is working with researchers (faculty, staff, and students), helping them accomplish their research, and being compliant with regulations ensuring that the human participants are protected. 


What challenges do you face?


The most challenging part of this job is not having enough time and resources for all that is expected and required.  Some days are extremely challenging, but the IRB committee and its members are amazing and I truly appreciate their contribution.  The IRB Chair, Dr. Merranda Romero Marin, and Vice Chair, Dr. Joe Tomaka, make the job worth doing.  We work as a great team and support each other.  I just wish there were more resources to help support them and the research community. 


Michelle received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Computer Systems from NMSU and later, while at Sandia National Laboratories, obtained her Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Management of Information Systems from the College of Santa Fe. She describes spending time and being there for her family and sharing life with her pets as the most important things in her life.  “My partner, Shane, and I have been so blessed with the opportunity and gift of a very special 9-year old border collie named Lucky,” she states. “In her new forever retirement home, she is finding such a joy in agility training as well as furthering her training to become a therapy support dog.” Michelle and Shane also adopted two bichon frise puppies from Montana who are the pride and joy of their day.  Besides their pets, Michelle and Shane enjoy doing BBQ and compete. But as she explains, COVID has put a damper in both Lucky’s agility and BBQ competitions. However, with summer around the corner they are looking forward to these activities opening back up as well.


If you have any questions about the IRB or how to use Maestro, please don't hesitate to contact the compliance office at 575-5461 or email ovpr@nmsu.edu.  The IRB Chair and Michelle also invite you to meet with them via Zoom to discuss any questions you have about the IRB and your research projects.




 Michele Gavin, Research Integrity Coordinator, NMSU

Principal Investigator Academy Webinar on April 13, 2021


By Cindy Ramirez, Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


The Principal Investigator (PI) Academy will hold a webinar from 2:00pm to 3:00pm on April 13, 2021. The webinar will be offered by Ms. Patricia Marquez Knighten, the Director of Innovation and Commercialization, within the Office of Intellectual Property at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center. Ms. Knighten has twenty years experience working on Technology Transfer, Commercialization and Transition for federal laboratories, licensees of lab or university developed technology, ecosystem and network builder to support tech commercialization initiatives. While the primary audience of this webinar is PI Academy members, the webinar is open to all faculty and researchers interested in obtaining crucial information and research compliance issues. the

To register for this webinar, please send email to  cindyram@nmsu.edu.



Patricia Marquez Knighten,
Director of Innovation and Commercialization, NMSU

NIH Support for Research Excellence (SuRE): Limited Submission


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


National Institutes of Health has released its funding opportunity announcement for the Support for Research Excellence (SuRE), a “research capacity building program designed to develop and sustain research excellence in U.S. higher education institutions that receive limited NIH research support and serve students from groups underrepresented in biomedical research with an emphasis on providing students with research opportunities and enriching the research environment at the applicant institutions.”

Principal Investigators (PI) with active NIH Research Project Grants (R01s, R35s, U01s, R21s, R00s, and R15s) are not eligible to apply for a SuRE award. Further, PIs with active SCORE grants may apply in their last year of funding. As the NIH SuRE is a limited submission, eligible NMSU applicants must notify Research Administration Services of their intent to respond to this opportunity by sending email to ras@nmsu.edu subject line: “NIH SuRE Limited Submission” to be considered on a first-come first serve basis.

To learn more about this program and its requirements please visit the NIH SuRE funding opportunity page at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-21-169.html


NIH Support for Research Excellence (SuRE-First)


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


National Institutes of Health (NIH) Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) program has released a special research funding opportunity titled, First Independent Research (First), for faculty members who have not had prior independent external research grants. To be considered for review by NIH, research proposals submitted to this program must fall within the scope of the NIH mission. For more information about the mission of each NIH center please visit http://www.nih.gov/icd. To learn more about this program and its requirements please visit the NIH SuRE FIRST funding opportunity page at: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-21-173.html


NSF CAREER Workshop to be Held on May 14, 2021


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist


The Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate School will hold a one-day workshop on developing effective NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) proposals on Friday May 14. To be eligible to apply for the NSF CAREER funding, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a doctoral degree in a field supported by NSF;
  • Be engaged in research in an area of science, engineering, or education supported by NSF;
  • Hold at least a 50% tenure-track (or tenure-track-equivalent) position as an assistant professor (or equivalent title);
  • Be untenured; and
  • Have not previously received a CAREER award. (Prior or concurrent Federal support for other types of awards for non-duplicative research does not preclude eligibility.)

Applicants may submit only one proposal in each cycle and only three proposals before obtaining tenure position.

This workshop is led by Ms. Lucy Deckard, the founder of Academic Research Funding Strategies (ARFC), LLC. Before leading the ARFC consulting, Deckard was an Associate Director of Research Development at Texas A&M University for eight years and prior to that worked as a research engineer in industry for 16 years.

To register, please send email to hamid@nmsu.edu.


Become A Better Mentor: Faculty Mentor Development Training


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS

The Mountain West CTR-IN Professional Development Core is offering a Faculty Mentorship training free of charge from June 9 through July 28, 2021. This training, geared toward professors, associate professors, and senior assistant professors, is sponsored by the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Networks. It is designed to improve participants’ mentoring skills through a three part interactive learning plan, an online asynchronous course work, a video synchronous workshop, and a TeleECHO Mentoring Networks component consisting of eight, hour-long sessions based on eight different modules, using a video synchronous approach.

These three programs are offered, as part of an NIH-funded, IRB-approved randomized controlled study about innovative mentor training interventions. For more information about this opportunity, please send email to Dr. Akshay Sood at ASood@salud.unm.edu, Associate Director of the Mentoring Unit of the Professional Development Core of the Mountain West CTR-IN.




Download the Program Flyer Here.

NM FAST offers NSF SBIR Training


The NM FAST and Arrowhead Center SBIR Accelerator (ACSA) will be offering a series of events focused on the National Science Foundation’s SBIR program.  ACSA trainings are intense, twelve-week cohorts that culminate in a proposal submission. An NSF cohort will be offered, free of charge, this summer from June 9 – August 27.  As a precursor to the cohort, there will be an informational webinar tomorrow, Thursday, April 8th. Registration is free and available here.


Timeline of important dates: 

  • NSF SBIR Informational Webinar: April 8th
  • NSF ACSA Application Deadline: April 30th
  • Acceptance Notices Sent: May 7th
  • Required Project Pitch Workshop: May 12th
  • Required Project Pitch Working Session: May 24th – 28th
  • ACSA Cohort Dates: June 9th – August 27th

 For more information, please contact Dana DeRego Catron at dderego@nmsu.edu


Download Flyer

Limited Submission Funding Opportunities


By Hamid Mansouri Rad, Senior Proposal Development Specialist, RAS


Research Administration Services maintains a list of limited submission funding opportunities for NMSU research community.  The list is accessible through a link on the Research website,  through the Research Administration tab. NMSU users can also access the list directly on SharePoint at  https://eltnmsu.sharepoint.com/sites/ResearchCreativity/SitePages/Limited-Submissions.aspx.  We encourage NMSU researchers to periodically visit the site and if they are interested in any of the opportunities to please inform us by sending email to ras@nmsu.edu.





Pivot Funding Opportunity Database


This is a reminder that in order to assist NMSU faculty and staff in locating external funding opportunities, the OVPRGS has purchased a subscription to ProQuest’s Pivot software available at https://pivot.proquest.com/session/login

To create an account with Pivot for the first time

  1. Click on the Sign up link.
    1. On the next page, click on Use email address/create password.
    2. Enter your name.
    3. Enter your NMSU email address.
    4. Create a password.
    5. Choose New Mexico State University from the Affiliated Member Institution drop down menu.
    6. Check the consent checkbox.
    7. Check the reCaptcha check box.
    8. Press the Create my account button.

 To request a one-on-one or group Pivot training, send email to hamid@nmsu.edu



Graduate School

Plans of Study: Are They Really Important?


By Luis A. Vazquez, Regents Professor and Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies 


Academic plans of study are usually seen as a good idea, but now they are truly necessary for graduate students to have a pathway to completion by knowing which courses to take, when to take them and how it all relates to short- and long-term plans.  Academic plans are very crucial and have extra importance, since what has occurred over this past year with the pandemic, it is the lifeline for students to stay on track to completing a degree.  The Graduate School has received many questions, such as “Will I be able to take the classes I need?” “Will they be face to face, hybrid or online?” “Can I still count on graduating on the timetable I figured out for myself when I first arrived at NMSU?” “How do I get the mentoring and advising to make sure it happens?”  These are some of the questions the staff and I at Graduate School are frequently asked by graduate students.  This past year, many courses went online, but not all students knew how this would impact their timeline to graduation or if the courses they thought they were supposed to take would be available for them. 

So, what is a plan of study?  It is a well outlined course schedule across the semesters necessary for each year for a graduate student within their program that results in the ultimate goal of graduating and receiving their degree.  Academic plans of study keep graduate students on track and if they have an assistantship, degree programs know when these positions will be available for the next group of newly admitted students as these graduate students graduate.  According to research regarding academic plans of study, students are more apt to re-enroll the following semester, if they have an academic plan of study.  It gives them a map to follow and to look forward to each semester.  Academic plans of study, also lead to stronger student outcomes and give the student a sense of control over their destiny each semester.

So, what do we need to make sure our graduate students are successful?  Educational Advising Board shares four basic needs that are very helpful for students:

  1. Accessibility, make the information of the academic plan easy to understand and available. Make sure that a plan of study is submitted to the Graduate School in a timely manner.
  2. Adaptability, if there will be changes, keep the students informed and how it will impact their schedules, hopefully any changes will still result in the same timelines agreed upon between the student and the advisor leading to graduation.
  3. Guiding, it allows students to work with the program advisor to understand and account for program requirements and personal interests. This helps students save time and money in a timely manner to not increase their time at the university or increase their cost for the degree.
  4. Collaboration, this creates a collective sense of responsibility and accountability for a vehicle to exchange information or advising, and allows both the faculty and student to maintain a conversation of continued planning throughout the year. It not only keeps the faculty and student communicating, but also results in a sense of responsibility from both parties.

Overall, it is a great necessary plan of action that will bring control and some comfort to the graduate student, in a time of so much chaos and uncertainty for what is in store for their future.  An academic plan of study goes a long way to building bridges between or graduate degree programs and our students.  Take and be safe.


Need Guidance on Securing External Funding? Contact Me!


If you are an NMSU graduate student or post-doctoral scholar needing guidance on securing external funding, please contact me at fee@nmsu.edu. Please also visit the list of current funding opportunities that I maintain on the research website and let me know if you have any questions.


Chong-Hwey Fee



Chong-Hwey Fee,
Proposal  Development
Special Specialist, RAS 

Questions and comments regarding NMSU’s Research and Graduate School Digest should be directed to Hamid Mansouri Rad, Ph.D. at  hamid@nmsu.edu, (575) 646-6429.