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Office of the Vice President for Research

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Weekly Research Update: Thursday, February 11, 2021

January 2021 awards report now available

The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to share the January 2021 monthly awards report listing new sponsored awards received by faculty throughout the University of South Carolina System. Get the report.


Bipartisan group of four senators has reintroduced the RISE Act to support the U.S. research community affected by COVID-19

Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have re-introduced the Research Investment to Spark the Economy, or RISE Act, which would authorize nearly $25 billion in support to U.S. researchers who have been affected by the pandemic. Although coronavirus-related research is a current federal government priority, most other research has been delayed due to closures of campuses and laboratories. The people who comprise the research workforce—graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators and technical support staff—face financial and other hardships from the disruption of their research activities. If signed into law, the RISE Act will provide necessary relief to preserve the current scientific workforce and ensure that the United States is prepared to continue our global scientific leadership once this crisis ends. Read previous Weekly Research Update coverage of the RISE Act.


U.S. scientists want Congress to look into complaints of racial profiling in China Initiative

Scientists and civil rights organizations are ramping up pressure on Congress and President Joe Biden’s administration to examine whether the U.S. government has been unfairly targeting Chinese-American researchers in an effort to protect government-funded research from foreign influences. A recent letter from a coalition of individuals and scientific organizations asks Representative Jamie Raskin (D–MD), who leads a civil rights oversight panel in the House of Representatives, to hold a hearing that addresses “the racial profiling and investigations of scientists and scholars of Chinese or Asian descent by the Department of Justice, the National Institutes of Health and other science funding agencies based on misguided fears of economic espionage and intellectual property theft.” Read more in Science magazine.


Bloomberg Law publishes two timely articles on research policy

  • New studies on long-term COVID-19 symptoms to get NIH funding: COVID-19 patients who experience fatigue and other lingering effects months after infection could have new treatment options or prevention methods under a program the NIH plans to kick into gear next month.
  • Supreme Court has new opportunities to clarify patent law: The Supreme Court has passed on repeated calls from the nation’s top patent court to provide clarity on patentable subject matter, but has two more opportunities to take up the issue in particularly decisive cases. If it doesn’t, parties and courts will remain adrift unless Congress steps in to write a set of clearer rules.


New data published in Science show the pandemic hit academic mothers especially hard

In some fields, studies show, the proportion of female authors on preprints, submitted manuscripts, and published papers dropped during the first few months of the pandemic. Mothers also suffered a 33 percent larger drop in research hours compared with fathers, according to a global survey of 20,000 Ph.D. holders published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper last month. 


Notice of changes in the review criteria for NIH Support for Scientific Conferences applications

This guide notice announces changes to the review criteria for applications submitted to NIH for support of Scientific Conferences (R13 and U13) related to the implementation of guidelines announced in NOT-OD-21-053 Updated Guidelines for Enhancing Diversity and Creating Safe Environments in Conferences Supported by NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements. All changes take effect for R13/U13 applications submitted for the Monday, April 12, 2021 application due date.


11 February 2021

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