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Office of the Vice President for Research


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Internal Funding & Awards Opportunities for Faculty

ASPIRE: Advanced Support Programs for Innovative Research Excellence funding program

The ASPIRE program offers USC faculty an opportunity to compete for funding in three primary tracks, each designed to bolster research excellence at the university. ASPIRE-I funding is designed to support faculty seeking to develop a new research project for which they ultimately plan to seek external funding. Track II is intended to encourage interdisciplinary, collaborative research among at least three faculty representing a minimum of two USC colleges or schools. ASPIRE III funding supports the procurement of multi-user research equipment and/or facilities to enhance USC's research infrastructure.

Breakthrough Stars and Leadership in Research awards

These signature Breakthrough faculty awards honor outstanding faculty researchers in different career phases. Breakthrough Stars awards recognize early-career faculty who have made considerable contributions to their field in terms of research and scholarly activity while at USC. Breakthrough Leadership in Research awards show appreciation for senior faculty who are committed to taking a synergistic approach to promote and inspire excellence in research, resulting in a significant impact on USC and the community.

FRIP: Faculty Recruitment Incentive Program funding initiative

Established senior faculty are often a challenge to recruit because of the significant level of start-up funds required to support their research programs. Nonetheless, they are an invaluable asset to the university. These faculty are often funded by multiple grants and bring their expertise in successful grant-writing, their advanced research programs and related resources to the university. FRIP was created to help recruit highly successful, funded faculty by providing additional funds towards starting up their programs.

Governor's Awards for Science

Though this award is not bestowed by the Office of the Vice President for Research, USC uses an internal selection process to choose candidates for nomination in the Governor's Awards programs, ultimately ensuring that USC is as competitive as possible in this prestigious statewide awards program. The Governor's Awards for Science recognize individuals and teams working in South Carolina who have made significant contributions in any area of science and may be for service to science through non-formal education in the various media, for exemplary exposition at the college or university level or as an acknowledgement for significant outstanding formal research.

RISE: Research Initiative for Summer Engagement funding program

Through a competitive application process, the RISE program provides financial support to faculty members at the University of South Carolina's senior and regional campuses for summer salary, research supplies, travel related to research and undergraduate student support. Faculty members can also use these funds to spend the summer collaborating with USC Columbia faculty members.

SMART: Support for Minority Advancement in Research Training funding program

The SMART Program was established by the Office of the Vice President for Research to enhance the training of under-represented minority undergraduate students and their recruitment into graduate programs at USC. Faculty who mentor under-represented minority students (from historically black colleges and universities, USC or other institutions) during the summer will receive a supplement of $1,000 per student, for up to two students. This support can be used toward summer salary for the mentor, research costs and/or for the under-represented minority undergraduate students.

Crowdfunding with Experiment.com

As competition for research funding continues to grow, the Office of the Vice President for Research strives to equip our researchers with as many tools as possible to stay on the leading edge of their fields. To that end, our office has developed a new and exciting initiative to use crowdfunding model to seek funding where it otherwise might be hard to raise. Our office is prepared to offer up to a 50 percent funding match for all projects selected for funding through Experiment.com.