For the sixth time in as many years, the outstanding faculty of the University of South Carolina have outdone themselves, garnering $279.5 million in external research and sponsored awards funding in fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020).
This good news comes on the heels of a new impact assessment by the Office of the Vice President for Research, showing that internal research investments have helped to bolster faculty success based on a number of metrics, including increased external funding. In the assessment report UofSC President Bob Caslen noted the importance of these internal investments, saying, “Thanks to a decade of strategic investments by the Office of the Vice President for Research, we are well positioned to achieve our new research goals and continue our impact on the state and nation as a [Carnegie Foundation] tier one research university.”
The University of South Carolina’s research faculty, whose bright minds, incredible work ethic and enduring vitality inspire new generations of young scholars, are generating the breakthroughs that will lead us into the future.
— President Bob Caslen
Fleshing out this success story are several notable trends:
- The largest FY2020 awards were bigger than the largest awards in FY2019, with three awards totaling more than $11 million.
- The university saw significant increases of more than 20 percent in funding from two key federal agencies, the Department of Energy (21.1 percent) and the Department of Defense (23.9 percent).
- Funding for research projects (as opposed to training and service projects) rose more than 12 percent over FY2019.
- Health science research funding remained high in FY2020, with nearly $94 million from two highly competitive federal agencies, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.
University of South Carolina Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti touted the 2020 funding success, saying, “In a year that has brought so much disruption into our lives, it is amazing to see our outstanding faculty achieve new milestones and push our research enterprise to new and impressive heights of success. They, along with the dedicated professionals who support them in pursuit of new discoveries and innovation, have earned recognition far beyond what I can offer in a single quote. Thanks to their hard work and agility in a very trying time, the University of South Carolina is advancing our ongoing research mission, even setting a new record, while adapting quickly to help address our nation’s most immediate challenge, COVID-19. This experience serves as a living example of how research and innovation generate solutions in real time to the benefit of our city, state, nation and world.”
President Bob Caslen praised UofSC’s research community, saying, “The University of South Carolina’s research faculty, whose bright minds, incredible work ethic and enduring vitality inspire new generations of young scholars, are generating the breakthroughs that will lead us into the future. They continuously raise the bar on research competitiveness and set new records in funding success year after year. I commend our faculty members and those who support their research endeavors throughout the system on this remarkable new achievement.”
Carolina faculty this year landed 26 awards of $1 million or more, including eight awards totaling more than $3 million. Some highlights include:
- $29 million from the federal and state departments of Health and Human Services to principal investigator (PI) Ana Lopez De Fede of the Institute for Families in Society, to provide expert technical support for the South Carolina Medicaid program. [Read more about the Institute for Families in Society.]
- $11.1 million from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to PI Igor Roninson in the College of Pharmacy to continue the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Targeted Therapeutics, which works to train junior scientists as they seek pharmaceutical treatments for debilitating diseases. [Read more about this center.]
- $11.1 million from the NIGMS to PI Ron Prinz to establish the prestigious new NIH COBRE Research Center for Child Well-Being in the College of Arts and Sciences. The interdisciplinary center, with its focus on prevention strategies to improve child well-being, will involve at least 17 faculty researchers from five departments across four UofSC colleges and schools. [Read more about this new center.]
- A significant award from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation to PI Beverly Wilson to support FoodShare South Carolina for five years. This community outreach initiative of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia provides fresh food and education to citizens across the Palmetto State. [Read more about FoodShare South Carolina.]
- 4.6 million from the US Department of Education to PI George Roy to fund a new initiative in the College of Education called Transition to Teaching, which will help recruit and retain educators in the state’s rural communities. [Read more about the initiative.]
- $3.7 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Department of Health and Human Services to PI Sara Wilcox, Director of the Prevention Research Center in the Arnold School of Public Health, to implement the Faith, Activity and Nutrition Program. [Read more about the program.]
- $3.1 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to PI Michael Beets in the Arnold School of Public Health to study the causes of accelerated weight gain among children during summer vacation. [Read more about this project.]
- $2.9 million from the National Cancer Institute to PI James Burch in the Arnold School of Public Health’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program to study the role of circadian factors in inflammation and colorectal adenoma risk. [Read more about this program.]
- $1.48 million from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators to PI Jennifer Keup, Executive Director of the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, to develop effective and equitable advising solutions across the field of higher education. [Read more about this national center.]
22 September 2020