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Office of the Vice President for Research

USC sets new research and sponsored award funding records, garnering more than $250 million in 2016

For the third consecutive year, USC’s Office of the Vice President for Research is celebrating record-setting research and sponsored award funding levels. During fiscal year 2016, which ran from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, USC faculty researchers garnered enough extramural funding to set two records.

  • Total research and sponsored awards reached $250.1 million, USC’s highest total ever. This represents a 3 percent increase over FY2015’s $242.8 million, which had previously been the record high. 
  • Federal awards totaled $160.8 million, the third record-breaking federal funding level in as many years.

These new records are proof positive that USC’s faculty are more competitive than ever when it comes to garnering research, training and service dollars from external sources. The three consecutive years of federal funding records are especially telling, as federal awards are the most competitive type of funding available.

These awards clearly represent a deep confidence in our university’s impressive research community.
—USC President Harris Pastides

In fact, all six of USC’s biggest sponsors by total dollar amount are federal agencies, with the federal Department of Health and Human Services at the top of the list, awarding USC more than $53 million in FY2016. The biggest increase in funding from a single federal agency came from the National Science Foundation, which awarded 51.2 percent more sponsored award dollars to USC than the previous year, increasing from $12.4 million in FY2015 to $18.7 million in FY2016. Additional funding trends are included in our FY2016 annual funding charts [pdf].

Vice President for Research, Prakash Nagarkatti, credits much of the FY2016 funding success story to USC’s outstanding faculty, saying, “I am so impressed that, year after year, despite a highly competitive funding climate, our faculty reliably develop high quality, successful proposals that keep our research and sponsored award numbers climbing. Thanks to their hard work, and that of the many support staff, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and others who form the foundation from which they are able to reach great heights, we have another record-setting year in the history books. I am so grateful for and proud of all of the hard work our faculty have contributed to make this success possible.”

Another boost to USC’s research and sponsored awards success came with the introduction of internal funding opportunities for faculty, like the ASPIRE program, which promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and provides funding to support new and established lines of research. Past ASPIRE recipients recently reported 91 successfully funded research and sponsored award proposals, amounting to $51 million, which they said were attributable to groundwork laid with ASPIRE funding.

“These awards clearly represent a deep confidence in our university’s impressive research community,” said USC President Harris Pastides.  "Through these important initiatives, we intend to positively impact the health and wellbeing of our state, nation and world. I congratulate our exceptional faculty on this major achievement.”

Here are just a few examples of the important initiatives the largest FY2016 awards support:

  • $11.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Center for the Study of Aphasia Recovery, which will span four research sites at the Arnold School of Public Health (working with USC’s McCausland Center for Brain Imaging), the Medical University of South Carolina, Johns Hopkins University and the University of California Irvine. [Read more]
  • Two awards totaling more than $14.4 million from the South Carolina Department of Social Services for training and evaluation services by the USC Center for Child and Family Studies (CCFS). The training component involves developing and providing DSS staff training in adult protective services, economic services and child welfare, among other functions. The evaluation component includes quality assurance reviews of child welfare cases, research support for data collection and assistance in implementing the federal National Youth in Transition Database. [Read more about the CCFS]
  • $4.1 million from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate the contribution of the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) in improving school safety and positive school climate, behavioral and discipline problems, mental and behavioral health and school outcomes in students. [Read more]
  • $4 million from the National Science Foundation to develop catalysts to recycle agricultural waste into valuable fuels and chemicals. This project is a collaboration between USC’s SmartState Center of Catalysis for Renewable Fuels and the University of Kansas. [Read more]

29 August 2016

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