University of Southern California

Research

Integration of IRB and DCG Offices

USC has historically operated separate offices for the Department of Contracts and Grants and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) on the Health Science and University Park Campuses. At one time, it was important to have physical presences on the two central campuses because of the paper-flow between academic departments and the research offices.

Fortunately, as we have adopted all-digital research administration systems, paper flow has vanished in place of on-line systems that are accessible from any location. Simultaneously, as central campus space became more precious, our IRB and DCG offices relocated away from the campus centers. Keeping these factors in mind, we have examined how to support our research community, and concluded that we could optimize service through centralized offices rather than divided offices.  In doing so, USC can manage staff more efficiently and integrate like services across campuses.

With these goals in mind, over the summer, we will undertake the following moves:

The transition between spaces will occur at a time that does not disrupt proposal submissions, and is unlikely to be noticed by investigators or research administrators.

As we look forward, we will seek additional improvements in the IRB through review of protocols by type of research. As our campuses have become more interdisciplinary, investigators have led clinical trials on either campus, and investigators have led social-behavioral studies on either campus as well. Rather than divide protocols by campus, we have the opportunity to coordinate protocols by the expertise of the associated IRB.

And, let me add, as we go through transitions at USC, the Office of Research will continue to prioritize customer service (as reflected in our customer service commitments) and our strategic priorities, including diversity and inclusion, rigor and transparency, and innovation in how we do research. Please consult https://research.usc.edu/about/vp/strategic-plans/ for more information.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at vpres@usc.edu.