USC Collaboration Fund
The Research Collaboration Fund supports research collaboration among faculty and students working on interdisciplinary research topics, such as water, neuroscience, genomics, digital humanities, or climate change. Example uses of funding include organization of workshops, seminars, application of collaborative technologies, retreats and development of online resources. Each collaboration should engage a large group of faculty (normally 10 or more), representing at least two schools at USC. Funding can be for up to three years, with the possibility of competitive renewal thereafter.
The aim of these awards is not to fund specific research projects, but rather to support teams of faculty who aim to establish or foster a community of scholars at USC organized around a broad topic of shared interest. The awards fund the activities that help to develop this collaborative group. These activities should lay the groundwork for members of the collaborative group to create new research projects, and should contribute to strengthening the individual research programs of its members.
Awards under this program are made through a competitive process, based on proposals submitted by a lead faculty investigator along with at least one additional investigator holding a primary faculty appointment in a different school than the lead investigator.
2013 Collaboration Fund Call for Proposals
Download the 2013 Guidelines: 2013 Collaboration Fund RFP
Deadline: March 4, 2013
You will need to log in using your USC NetID and password: Begin Online Application.
Important: You may experience problems with the online application if using the browser Internet Explorer. If you experience problems, it is advisable to access the application system through a different browser, such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
For questions regarding the proposal submission process, please contact Dr. Silvia da Costa in the Office of Research (email@example.com or 213-740-6709).
2012 Collaboration Fund Awardees
Environmental Sustainability and the Global Economy
Environmental sustainability is one of the major challenges facing the global economy in the coming years. Our ability to meet this challenge will depend on the interactions among four main sectors: (a) industry, (b) government, (c) civil society, and (d) science/technology. USC has a growing number of faculty engaged in research and teaching on environmental sustainability in each of those areas. They are located in various units across campus, inter alia Marshall, Price, Political Science, Engineering, Annenberg, Sociology, Earth Sciences, and Chemistry. The faculty listed above as “other sponsors” represent a small proportion of a considerably larger set of faculty that our network aims to connect.
- Paul Adler, Marshall School of Business, Management and Organization
- Jim Haw, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Environmental Studies
- Roger Ghanem, Viterbi School of Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering
USC Institute for Free Radical Biology & Medicine
Free Radical Biology & Medicine (FRBM) is, by nature, an interdisciplinary field. The first free radical researchers were chemists who quickly recognized the importance of one-electron (free radical) oxidation/reduction reactions. Physicists and engineers soon joined in and invented a new technology to directly study free radical species: electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) or electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR). When food chemists recognized that free radical reactions cause a great deal of food spoilage, and that including antioxidants and transition metal chelators, while excluding oxygen, from packaged foods could greatly extend their commercially useful shelf-life, the field really exploded. Since the 1960’s biologists have shown that energy production by the mitochondria in all our cells involves a series of free radical reactions, as does the immune system’s response to invading microorganisms. Toxicologists and environmental scientists have shown that many herbicides and pesticides employ free radical reaction mechanisms, and pharmacists and pharmacologists have found that the toxic effects of many useful drugs (from acetaminophen to anti-cancer compounds) are caused by free radical ‘redox cycling.’
- Kelvin Davies, Davis School of Gerontology, Gerontology
- Enrique Cadenas, School of Pharmacy, Molecular Pharmacology
Brain Health During Development and Aging in Urban Environments
The adverse impact of airborne pollutants on cardio-pulmonary health appears to extend to brain aging. Urbanization is likely one of the most important demographic shifts worldwide, which has led to increased exposure to pollutants. This program brings together faculty from Gerontology, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Keck School of Medicine to understand the scientific basis for the impacts of pollution on the brain, and to explore the health consequences.
- Caleb Finch, Davis School of Gerontology, Bio-Gerontology
- J.C. Chen, Keck School of Medicine, Environmental Health
Plasticity and Repair in Neurodegenerative Disorders
The adult brain possesses a tremendous capacity for change in response to its environment through processes termed experience-dependent neuroplasticity. Recently this has been demonstrated to occur in neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disease as well as traumatic brain injury. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of neuroplasticity in the aging and diseased brain could provide a new innovative direction and novel insights towards the identification of new therapeutic targets for treating neurological disorders. This collaboration seeks to foster collaborative research among investigators interested in neuroplasticity. The goals of this initiative are to better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders, and to carryout translational studies that include both applications of basic research findings to the clinic, as well as using clinical observations to better design studies within the lab.
- Giselle Petzinger, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Neurology
- Michael Jakowec, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Neurology
- John Walsh, Davis School of Gerontology, Bio-Gerontology/Striatal Synaptic Research
- Beth Fisher, Ostrow School of Dentistry, Department of Biokinesiology
Center for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics
There currently exists a great need for novel medical devices designed specifically for children, as well as the adaptation and validation of existing adult devices for children. Children differ from adults anatomically and developmentally in numerous ways. The FDA has estimated that the development of pediatric medical devices lags behind that of adult devices by 5 to 10 years. This collaboration aims to unite programs, institutes, faculty, and students at USC and CHLA, along with industry and venture capital partners, in a topic-focused, interdisciplinary, systems-oriented manner, to create the USC/CHLA Center for Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics (CTIP). CTIP will raise the impact of our individual and collective work in pediatric device development to a national level of recognition and influence, and will allow future external funding applications to become more competitive.
- Chester Koh, CHLA/Keck School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
- Gerald Loeb, Viterbi School of Engineering, Medical Device Development Facility
- Terry Sanger, Viterbi School of Engineering, Medical Device Development Facility
- Roberta Brinton, School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- A. Linn Murphree, CHLA/Keck School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
- Richard Hull, USC Stevens Center for Innovation
- Krisztina Holly, USC Stevens Center for Innovation
Americanize with Good Health – Helping Immigrants Keep the Healthy Edge
Without deliberate educational efforts, immigrants to the US quickly decrease their healthy habits as they adapt to American living and consequently the mainstream disease patterns. Given the sheer number of immigrants in this country and their alarmingly increasing rates of obesity, hypertension, mental illness, heart disease, and many other negative health outcomes, it is imperative to stop and reverse these disturbing trends. This collaboration strives to assemble a multidisciplinary team at USC in a new public health approach to develop strategies to help immigrants maintain their largely healthy advantage. This project will form a critical mass at USC to address these challenges through networking across disciplines, mentoring students and junior faculty, exploring research topics, and ultimately develop a grant proposal for a Transdisciplinary Research Center for Public Health at USC. Information on the current initiative can be found at the Immigrant Health Initiative webpage.
- Lihua Liu, Keck School of Medicine, Preventive Medicine
- Dowell Myers, School of Policy, Planning, and Development
- Iris Chi, Social Work of Social Work
USC Center for Drug Discovery and Development: An Integrated Collaborative Platform for New Therapeutics
While there is a growing demand for new effective therapies for a wide range of conditions, the pharmaceutical industry is often constrained by an emphasis on blockbuster drugs and short-term success. Increasingly, pharmaceutical and biotech companies have either been unwilling or unable to produce paradigm-changing therapeutics for many major diseases, resulting in a void that government and academia are now aiming to bridge. The goal of this project is to create an integrated collaborative platform for establishing a new University-wide center that will provide an environment that stimulates, promotes and facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration leading to the design, synthesis and development of bioactive molecules as therapeutic agents.
- Stan Louie, School of Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy
- Clay Wang, School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Nicos Petasis, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute
- Mark Humayun, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology
Center for Transformative Scholarship Digital Scholars Program to Support Digital Humanities Publishing
The digital humanities scholars program will support an advanced scholars program built on a Web 2.0 publishing platform. The collaboration will develop a shared community of investigators through seminar discussions on in which faculty will share works in their digital manifestations, and explore questions on sustainment of publishing models, how humanists can reach different audiences, how to sustain rich and meaningful collaboration, and how digital methodology add to scholarship in the humanities. Faculty participants come from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the School of Cinematic Arts, and the Annenberg School of Communication.
- Phil Ethington, Dornsife College, Department of History
- Tara McPherson, School of Cinematic Arts, Critical Studies
Foster Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Leverage Scholarly Capacity at USC - USC Health Systems Improvement Collaborative
The complex challenges facing health care are very visible at the University and throughout Southern California. USC’s 2011 Strategic Vision notes that “Health issues affect people across the globe and the sweep of global health challenges are vast, reaching across law, business, communications, bioengineering, international relations, stem-cell research, pharmacy and other areas.”3 These issues are particularly acute in Los Angeles where immigration and inequality strain the public health care resources, malnutrition produces diseases and conditions rarely seen in developed countries, and social tensions make delivering compassionate and culturally sensitive care a difficult task. As the StrategicVision observes, “One of the markers of our age is the rising importance of cities as centers where the global and local are interwoven. Nowhere is this truer than in Los Angeles. . . . In Los Angeles, one can see tomorrow’s challenges and promises today: healthcare, immigration, grassroots action and cooperatives, malnutrition, social tensions, the effects of inequality, community outreach, engineering challenges, new forms of commerce, and conflicts of rights and responsibilities.”
- Najmedin Meshkati, Viterbi School of Engineering, Astani Department of Civil Engineering & Epstein Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
- Alexander M. Capran, Keck School of Medicine and Gould School of Law
Collaborative Proposal to Establish a Center for Biodiversity & Ecology
Biodiversity describes both the richness and the variation in all forms of life, from genes to organisms to ecosystems, in both the present and the geologic past. Diverse systems are generally viewed as robust, ecologically healthy, resource rich and economically productive, and relatively resistant to perturbations associated with human impacts or global change. The disciplinary reach of biodiversity is broad, cutting across human health and economics (e.g. ecosystem services), geology, geochemistry and earth system history (the rock record reflects biodiversity responses to regional and global perturbations); molecular, ecological and system studies in marine and terrestrial realms, and more broadly, societal well-being. This transdisciplinary nature is reflected in existing and new research funding opportunities in the basic and medical sciences that build on biodiversity research.
- Sergey Nuzhdin, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Molecular and Computational Biology
- Roberta Marinelli, Rossier School of Education/Viterbi School of Engineering, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies
- Paul Marjoram, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Preventive Medicine
USC STEM Education Pipeline Consortium
We live in an era with unprecedented changes due to advances in technology. These forces of technological advances are transforming the role of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in society. With outsourcing and off-shoring of engineering and science jobs, there is a growing concern about the level of interest among young students choosing STEM fields as college majors and eventual careers. The urgent need in STEM workforces calls for a comprehensive and collaborative pipeline effort in STEM education that begins in K‐12 and extends into college and university education, resulting in a fully prepared STEM workforce. The specific aims of this consortium are to engage in collaborative research to advance the STEM pipeline through strategic planning and leveraging USC’s diverse expertise in STEM education.
- Gisele Ragusa, Rossier School of Education/Viterbi School of Engineering
- John Slaughter, Rossier School of Education/Viterbi School of Engineering
A New Interdisciplinary Group: Southern California Empirical Legal Studies (SCELS)
Many scholars and students at the intersection of law and social science share an interest in legal institutions and empirical methodologies. Our goal in founding Southern California Empirical Legal Studies (SCELS) is to organize this fragmented group of scholars—housed across disciplines and schools—into a cohesive cluster of active intellectuals conducting empirical research about law and legal institutions. SCELS’ focus will mirror the intellectual agenda that has emerged in important national organizations and funders, such as the National Science Foundation and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, both of which prioritize evidence-based studies when supporting research on legal institutions.1 Moreover, SCELS will position its members to participate and take advantage of interdisciplinary conferences and journals that also focus explicitly on empirical research in the law, including the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (a conference hosted each year by a different university, including by USC in 2009) and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (published by Cornell University). Finally, as we note below, our group will fit well with—and advance—the interests of academic units and centers currently active in and around USC.
- Nancy Staudt, USC Gould School of Law/Price School of Public Policy
- John Barnes, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Political Science
- Daniel Klerman, USC Gould School of Law, Law and History
Game Theory and Human Behavior
Addressing problems of global interest such as energy, healthcare, financial markets and security necessarily
involve understanding and influencing the behavior of multiple parties with differing agendas. Our effort to
create a campus-wide collaborative environment for Game Theory and Human Behavior promises to fuse the
mathematics and formal approaches of the former with the wealth of social science insights of the latter to
create new and necessary approaches for 21st century issues. The National Academy of Engineering has
identified several Grand Challenge areas including preventing nuclear terror, advancing personalized learning,
securing cyberspace and renewing urban infrastructure. All involve multiple decision-makers in game-theoretic
and human behavior settings, thus requiring the fusion of mathematical, engineering and social sciences to
make significant progress in addressing these challenges.
- Tambe, Milind, USC Computer Science & Industrial and Systems Engineering
- John, Richard, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Psychology
Development of a Transdisciplinary USC Center for Integrative Health Research and Education
For well-over 5 years there has been a clear and steady current of activity among faculty and Keck
School of Medicine students directed toward the creation of a center for integrative medicine at USC. There is a great need for such a center at USC. An increasingly large number of leading universities and medical schools in the country, including Duke, Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and others, now offer CAM or integrative medicine within the medical student curriculum and have established centers for integrative medicine on their campuses. However, the USC medical school curriculum currently offers only a cursory introduction to the topic. In addition, while there are over a dozen investigators from the schools of medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy already doing integrative medicine research at USC, there is a lack of the coordination and collaboration of effort that is needed to make USC a recognized presence in the field. This represents a particularly striking deficit considering the multicultural, multi-belief environment in which USC operates, and from which it draws many of its students.
- Marc Weigensberg, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Pediatrics/County Hospital
- Agustin Garcia, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Medicine/Oncology
- Donna Spruijt-Metz, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Preventive Medicine
- Jeffrey Gold, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Pediatrics/Children’s Hospital
Interdisciplinary Spatial Science
Human action literally takes place, and that spatial dimension of social interaction is paramount for understanding classic questions about the human condition. Spatial Science is a rapidly expanding field, incorporating many fields from the physical sciences to the humanities. GIS, image processing, pattern recognition, and scientific visualization are in widespread use throughout the academy. However, development of relevant theory, concepts, and cultivation of spatial intelligence through education has lagged behind. Through this collaboration we will build and sustain a series of collaborative research projects that link faculty across multiple departments and schools to build tools and knowledge that help address society’s most vexing problems.
- John Wilson, Dornsife College, Spatial Sciences Institute
- Myles Cockburn, Keck School of Medicine, Preventive Medicine
Center for Interactive Media Technologies in Healthcare (CIMTH)
The mission of the Center for Interactive Media Technologies in Healthcare (CIMTH) is to encourage and facilitate interactions, research collaborations, development activities and educational training for faculty and students from the entire USC community around the potential which exists to advance the science and technology that uses wireless interactive media technologies for healthcare to “Empower Healthy Behavior” in those aging and in patient populations with chronic diseases and disabilities. Although not an exhaustive list, USC faculty who have committed to participate in this initiative have focused on the following chronic diseases and disabilities: pediatric obesity, cerebral palsy, osteoarthritis, cerebral vascular accident/stroke, spinal cord injury, aging-related balance and gait disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury. Prior studies have shown the positive effects of social interactions, diet and exercise on general health status of individuals with chronic disabilities and diseases. This proposal is an expansion and outgrowth of ongoing research at USC supported by NIDRR (Optimizing Participation Through Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (OPTT-RERC; C. Winstein, Director and P. Requejo, Co-Director; http://www.isi.edu/research/rerc/) and brainstorming sessions, sponsored by the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering., The initial focus of these earlier discussions were related to the creation of “clinic ready” monitoring platforms for point-of-care- monitoring technologies for the management of individuals with age-related mobility impairments including
cerebral vascular accident/stroke, spinal cord injury, aging-related balance and gait disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injuries.
- Carolee Winstein, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Division Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
- Jonathan Lasch, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
- Cesar Blanco, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Division Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy