The MSU WaterCube program is designed to stimulate water research by MSU faculty with minimal investment of college funds and faculty time spent on developing internal grant proposals. The program creates tokens, each worth $20,000 in research spending over two years. Faculty members then form teams of at least three token holders, one of whom must be new to the team, to create a WaterCube. Each WaterCube is thus provided with at least $60,000 to be made available over two years to pursue the research idea. Below we provide answers to frequently asked questions about the program.
We will launch the program in Spring 2015. We anticipate an iterative process for colleges to issue tokens and for ESPP to balance the tokens issued across colleges and against the number of faculty with research interests in water. We envision a four-stage process with the following timeline:
- Stage 1, March 2015: Colleges award tokens
- Stage 2, March – April 2015: Token holders form cubes.
- March 19, 2015: Water networking event to facilitate “cubation”
- April 30, 2015: All teams must complete online form to propose cubes and proposed cubes are “locked.”
- Stage 3, May – June 1, 2015: Cubes are notified of approval and accounts are set up.
- Stage 4, June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2017: The fun begins as funds are spent to support research activities of the WaterCubes.
As host for the MSU Water Science Network, ESPP will manage the program with assistance and oversight from the Faculty Water Committee. The team will work with colleges to create tokens, facilitate the formation of cubes, and provide funding. ESPP will create a separate account for each WaterCube and will work with the colleges to transfer funds into these accounts and monitor expenses. There is a strict time limit on funding. All cubes must complete their projects in two years, and so any unspent funds remaining at this time will be returned to the pool to fund other projects. No exceptions!
Colleges create each token with flexible funding mechanisms totaling $10,000, which is then leveraged with a $10,000 match from ESPP. A participating college must create at least two tokens and award them only to faculty with serious interests in water. Each college can choose its internal funding mechanism by some combination of shared investments from the college, the department, and/or the faculty member. Figure 1 shows an example in which a college contributes $8,000 and a faculty member contributes $2,000.
The colleges decide how many tokens they will fund and how to award them to their faculty. Participating colleges include Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, and Social Science. The contact person for each college is its Associate Dean for Research. Tokens are expected to be issued by the colleges to their own faculty during March 2015.
The number of WaterCubes funded will depend on the number of submissions and availability of funds.
All WaterCubes must follow MSU policies and procedures. Other than that, teams may use the funding for whatever activities enhance the likelihood of external funding or high profile publications.
External grants and/or publications. The WaterCube program intends to support collaborative research that results in high profile publications and external grants. The ESPP team will track the performance of each cube by asking them to fill an annual performance form that includes the transmittal numbers of submitted grant proposals and citations for peer-reviewed publications. Publications should acknowledge support from the WaterCube Program. In order to keep the ideas flowing (no pun intended), we will also hold an annual WaterCubes meeting where the teams present their progresses and exchange ideas.
Two years.There is a strict time limit on funding. All cubes must complete their projects in two years. Any unspent funds remaining after two years will be returned to the pool to fund other tokens. No exceptions!
Yes, you can download a pdf file that summarizes the program on the main WaterCube page.
If you have a question about getting a token, please contact the research dean of your college. If you have a question about any other component of the program, use the Contact Us form to send us a message.
Your team will need to register your proposed WaterCube online by filling out a form. ESPP will create an online submission site to regiser WaterCubes.
Come up with a good idea and find at least two other faculty members with tokens to form a WaterCube. Your WaterCube team must meet three criteria: (1) include tokens from at least two different colleges, (2) contain at least three tokens, and (3) be new collaborations. Collaborations are considered “new” if members of the team have had no jointly funded projects or publications within the previous two years. The Water Science Network will host a networking event on March 19, 2015 at 3:30 at the Kellogg Center to help faculty connect with other potential token holders.
No, you do not need to form a team before requesting a token.
It is up to individual colleges to determine how they will fund tokens. Colleges create each token with flexible funding mechanisms totaling $10,000, which is then leveraged with a $10,000 match from ESPP. Each college can choose its funding mechanism, e.g., sharing responsibilities between the college, the department, and the faculty member. Therefore, some colleges may provide all of the funds to match ESPP’s investment while other colleges may ask departments and faculty to contribute toward funding a token.
Tokens are issued by colleges. Each college can choose its internal funding mechanism by some combination of shared investments from the college, the department, and/or the faculty member. The colleges also decide how many tokens they will fund and how to award them to their faculty. If you are interested in getting a token, contact the Associate Dean for Research of your college.
Only MSU faculty are eligible for tokens. Each college will determine priorities and selection criteria for awarding tokens to their water faculty.
The colleges participating in the program are:
- College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
- College of Communication Arts and Sciences
- College of Engineering
- College of Natural Science
- College of Social Science
- James Madison College
Faculty members participate by receiving a token from their home college. Interested individuals should contact the office of their Associate Dean for Research for details (the exact process may differ from college to college). Possession of a token renders a faculty member eligible to form a WaterCube, which must (1) include tokens from at least two colleges, (2) contain at least three tokens, and (3) represent a new collaboration. Collaborations are considered new if members of the team have had no jointly funded projects or publications within the previous two years. ESPP will create a clearing house website and hold a network event to assist faculty in forming WaterCubes and sharing research ideas. The website will include brief online forms to document the process of cubation.