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USC research funding hits record

Research funding at the University of South Carolina reached $218.8 million in fiscal year 2010 (ending June 30), a 4-percent increase over last year’s total ($210.5 million) and 26 percent more than five years ago.

University researchers were particularly successful in competing for federal research funds, which totaled $153.9 million, an 18.7-percent increase over last year, mainly due to USC’s competitive proposals for federal stimulus funding.

Research funding from the U.S. Department of Education has increased by 38 percent in the past two years, totaling $13.5 million in fiscal year 2010, and research awards from the National Science Foundation have increased nearly 53 percent in the same time period, totaling $27.4 million in fiscal year 2010.

“The NSF increase, in particular, is a positive reflection on the junior faculty we’ve recruited who have won early career awards and the continuing productivity of many senior faculty members,” said Stephen Kresovich, vice president for research and graduate education. “The quest for research funding has become an ultra-competitive endeavor across the country, and, while we still have room to grow, we’re pleased to have registered a funding increase this year.”

Colleges that achieved notable growth in fiscal year 2010 include Arts and Sciences (12 percent increase); Engineering and Computing (22 percent increase); and Education (18.7 percent increase).

In addition, the university’s regional and four-year campuses increased their collective research funding by more than 36 percent, from $5.9 million to $8 million.

To retain its competitive edge, the university will work to develop interdisciplinary teams “that can put together regional, multi-institutional mega-grants in which we are a leader, not merely a participant,” Kresovich said.

“In addition, there are three broad areas in which we have been particularly strong in the past 10 years: environmental sciences and sustainability, community health and social justice,” he said. “We want to rally our efforts in those areas and also respond to opportunities such as Boeing’s new manufacturing plant in South Carolina and the push for more nuclear energy and green energy in the Southeast.”

Notable research awards in the past year include the following:

  • $11.6 million (department of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing) from the U.S. Department of Energy to study nano-structure design and synthesis;
  • $4.9 million (Prevention Research Center in the Arnold School of Public Health) from the Centers for Disease Control/Health and Human Services to study health promotion and disease research;
  • $4.9 million (Earth Sciences and Resources Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences) from the U.S. Department of Energy to study geological characterization of the South Georgia Rift Basin for potential storage of CO2.

With the exception of one year – 2002 – USC has increased annual research funding every year since 1983. Carolina is one of only 63 public universities listed by the Carnegie Foundation in the highest tier of research institutions in the United States.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/11/10 @ 2:35 PM | Updated: 08/11/10 @ 2:33 PM | Permalink

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