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Competing at the Highest Level

Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, Dr. Rajendra Bordia, Dr. John Wheeler, President Harris Pastides and Dr. Nadim Aziz celebrated the $20 million MADE in SC grant.
The USC faculty has broken its external funding records for three years in a row, garnering $253.6 million in sponsored awards in fiscal year 2017. Read about some of the notable research projects that are raising the bar and showing how Carolina competes at the highest level.

USC faculty researchers have been raising the bar, year after year, garnering ever higher levels of sponsored awards funding each of the last three years. A quick search of will uncover countless grant and award announcements detailing exciting, meritorious, externally funded projects in virtually every area of study. Every one of these projects contributes to Carolina’s growing, thriving research community, and helps to build our reputation as South Carolina’s premier research enterprise.

As 2017 draws to a close, the timing is right to look back on some of the most notable major awards USC’s outstanding faculty landed this year.



A statewide consortium of advanced materials researchers and educators has landed a $20 million, five-year Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 award from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). This grant will establish a new initiative called Materials Assembly and Design Excellence in South Carolina, or MADE in SC. This unique collaboration unites 10 South Carolina institutions of higher education in a commitment to lead the way in advanced materials research and development, build capacity of existing South Carolina industries and attract new ones. At $20 million, this is the highest ever sponsored award made by the NSF to South Carolina. Read more.


Coordinating Center for Research to Promote the Health of Children with Birth Defects and People with Developmental and Other Disabilities

Epidemiology and biostatistics professor Suzanne McDermott received a five-year, $14.8 million grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The award will be used to fund the Coordinating Center for Research to Promote the Health of Children with Birth Defects and People with Developmental and Other Disabilities. The new center is both an expansion and extension of the existing Disability Research and Dissemination Center, which was established in 2012 through support from a previous CDC grant. Read more. 


Genome to Fitness: An Analysis of the Stress Response in Peromyscus

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has awarded a $3.9 million Research Infrastructure Improvement grant to the University of South Carolina’s Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center (PGSC), along with collaborators at Claflin University and Auburn University, to complete a project investigating how genetic differences in individual mice determine their fitness under stress. Peromyscus, or deer mice, are used extensively to study many serious diseases, including Lyme disease. The PGSC is the only center in the world that maintains several Peromyscus species for scientific study of their unique traits. Read more.


Department of Energy RAPID Manufacturing Institute

In 2017, USC joined two federal efforts to enhance advanced manufacturing technologies in the United States. USC is one of 34 academic institutions selected to take part in the new DOE institute for Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment, or RAPID. This institute will work to develop new, more efficient and lower-cost modular manufacturing tools and train the next generation of cutting-edge manufacturing professionals. Taking part in RAPID enables USC to compete for more than $140 million in public-private investment dollars. Read more about RAPID.


Department of Defense Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Consortium

USC was also named an academic partner in the Department of Defense’s Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Innovation Hub in 2017. This consortium of 123 industrial partners, 40 academic partners and 64 government and nonprofit organizations works to develop and incorporate robotics into the manufacturing industry in new and innovative ways. By joining The ARM consortium, which is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USC has the opportunity to compete for more than $250 million in public-private funding for research, training and other investments, among many benefits of membership. This program is part of the Manufacturing USA institution network, which has a proven track record of enhancing U.S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing. Read more about the ARM Consortium.

13 December 2017

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.