University of South Carolina faculty have again broken their previous record-high external funding by garnering $278.6 million in research and sponsored awards in fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019). FY2019 was the fifth consecutive year of record-breaking funding totals, beating the previous record of $258.1 million, set in fiscal year 2018, by 8 percent.
UofSC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti said, “Sustained growth of this magnitude does not happen by accident. By making strategic investments in our exceptional scholars and our infrastructure, the University of South Carolina is building a research community characterized by innovation and excellence that has made and will continue to make an enormous positive impact on our state, nation and world. I am so honored to work with such outstanding faculty, students and staff, who continue to raise the bar year after year. This major achievement would not be possible without their efforts.”
Vice President Nagarkatti credits strategic internal investments in research and infrastructure with helping to generate the growth that has increased research and sponsored awards totals for each of the past five years. The Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence, or ASPIRE program, provides an example of how internal programs that fund meritorious research and multi-user infrastructure generate strong returns on investment. Since its inception in 2012, ASPIRE has provided $16.1 million to fund 597 faculty and postdoctoral scholar research projects in subject areas from art to mathematics and from medicine to library science. Past ASPIRE recipients have garnered more than $171.2 million in subsequent extramural funding, including $71.8 million in funding that was directly attributable to groundwork laid with an ASPIRE award. This represents more than a four-fold direct return on investment.
Sustained growth of this magnitude does not happen by accident. By making strategic investments in our exceptional scholars and our infrastructure, the University of South Carolina is building a research community characterized by innovation and excellence that has made and will continue to make an enormous positive impact on our state, nation and world.
— Prakash Nagarkatti
Zooming in to get a more detailed view of the FY2019 research and sponsored award funding details, several exciting trends emerge. The most notable trend is the significant growth of more than 9 percent in funding from highly competitive federal sources, particularly the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which awarded UofSC researchers more than $49.3 million, up 31.2 percent from FY2018. The sharp increase in NIH funding was emblematic of a very strong year for health sciences awards at UofSC, which totaled more than $100 million from federal agencies alone. This includes $51.1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, UofSC’s largest federal funding source in FY2019.
Awards for service and training-related endeavors increased more than 13 percent over FY2018 thanks in large part to significant, multi-year grants from the US Department of State and the South Carolina departments of Health and Human Services and Health and Environmental Control. These awards will fund services and training for South Carolinians from the Upstate to the Lowcountry and make a real impact on communities throughout the Palmetto State.
The success we’ve seen in securing external grant funding reflects the commitment of our researchers to making novel discoveries and expanding our knowledge of the world.
— Bob Caslen
“The success we’ve seen in securing external grant funding reflects the commitment of our researchers to making novel discoveries and expanding our knowledge of the world,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “I’m proud of our scholars and the key role they play in supporting the university’s mission of discovery. One of my top priorities is to push our research enterprise to even greater heights in the future.”
This year, Carolina faculty landed 31 new awards of $1 million or more, including 13 awards of more than $3 million. The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to highlight 10 of these million-dollar-plus awards:
- $10 million from the NIH to principal investigators (PIs) Prakash Nagarkatti and Mitzi Nagarkatti for the Center for Dietary Supplements and Inflammation in the School of Medicine Columbia to continue its study of how inflammation can be regulated with dietary supplements to better control inflammatory diseases such as allergies, autism, colitis, liver disease and many more. [Read more about this award.]
- $5.7 million from the NIH for PI Geoffrey Scott to establish the collaborative Center for Oceans and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions. This center works to enhance our knowledge of the roles climate change may play in affecting Vibriobacterial infections and production of toxins from freshwater cyanobacteria, both of which may adversely affect human health. [Read more about this center.]
- $5.1 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for PIs Mark Weist, Amanda Fairchild and Samuel McQuillin to conduct a multi-year study in middle schools examining patient-centered enhancements to support mental health literacy and stigma reduction, and enhance family-school-mental health system partnerships. [Read more about this award.]
- $4.4 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) for PI Keith Stephenson to continue the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, which provides archaeological resource management, collections management, research services and public education and outreach at the Savannah River Site in Aiken County. [Read more about this program.]
- $3.7 million from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) for PI Suzanne Adlof to examine how children in grades two through four who have developmental language disorder or dyslexia learn new words and how that relates to their reading abilities. [Read more about this project.]
- $3.2 million from the NIH for PIs Sue Levkoff and Daniela Friedman to establish the Carolina Center on Alzheimer’s Disease and Minority Research, which aims to help better understand the determinants of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) outcomes among minority populations through increasing the capacity of underrepresented minority scholars to advance the science in ADRD research. [Read more about this award.]
- $3.2 million from the NIH for Michael Beets to study the causes that can lead to increased weight gain and decreased fitness among children during the summer months. [Read more about this award.]
- $3.2 million from the NIDCD for PI Krystal Werfel to continue a study on thedevelopment of emergent literacy skills in children with hearing loss and how these foundational skills influence later reading and writing achievement. [Read more about this study.]
- $3.1 million from the National Institute of Nursing Research for PIs Nicole Zarrett, Bernardine Pinto, Amanda Fairchild, Dawn Wilson-King and Bethany Bell to increase daily physical activity among underserved adolescents by enhancing staff capacity to incorporate physical activity into after school programs for middle schoolers. [Read more about this award.]
- $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation for PIs Yordanka Ilieva, Ralf Gothe and Steffen Strauch to study nuclear physics phenomena known as perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics. [Read more about UofSC’s nuclear physics research.]
3 September 2019