University of South Carolina

USCís sponsored awards for 2013 total $220 million

By Steven Powell, spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1923

The University of South Carolina’s research funding and sponsored awards for fiscal year 2013 reached $220 million, the third-highest total ever.

USC is encouraging faculty to compete nationally for large interdisciplinary grants by strengthening active collaborations that span departments within the university. The Office of the Vice President for Research is providing seed funding for these efforts through grant programs such as ASPIRE.

Prakash Nagarkatti“We are seeing the results,” said Prakash Nagarkatti, USC’s vice president for research. “For example, two large national centers were established at USC this year: One for $28 million to pursue disability research, and the other for $10 million to study inflammation.”

Suzanne McDermott, professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine, leads an effort that received funding this year to establish the Disability Research and Dissemination Center at USC. The center will coordinate research and fellowships for the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and has the potential to fund more than $28 million in disability research in the next five years.

Prakash and Mitzi Nagarkatti, chair of the department of pathology, microbiology and immunology at the School of Medicine, will be co-directors of the Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation, to be housed at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia. The center is funded by a $10.1 million, five-year grant through the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program.

“Our faculty are excited about our institutional support to initiate interdisciplinary collaborations suitable for large multi-million-dollar grant proposals,” said Prakash Nagarkatti. “Building on the success we had this year will greatly help us moving forward.”

At $220 million, the funding total was a 7.6 percent decrease from the previous year, which at $238 million was an all-time high.

“Given the challenging fiscal situation in Washington, a decrease was anticipated,” Nagarkatti said. “Over 70 percent of the research carried out by the universities across the U.S. is funded by nationally competitive grants awarded by federal agencies. We knew that federal sequestration and other governmental budget cuts would decrease our funding.

“I am gratified, however, that we saw a significant increase in research funding from several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The funding from these agencies is highly competitive, and despite the budget cuts, our faculty were able to increase the level of funding supported by these agencies.”

“Our research university continues to excel despite an increasingly competitive funding environment,” said USC President Harris Pastides. “USC is making a tremendous impact in areas as diverse as biomedical research, aerospace materials, energy and the digital economy. All of these research advances are essential to both the educational and economic advancement of both the university and South Carolina.”

USC is one of only 73 public universities and the only one in the state of South Carolina to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s highest research ranking.

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Posted: 08/08/13 @ 8:50 AM | Updated: 08/08/13 @ 2:55 PM | Permalink