University of Southern California


Strategizing Survival in the Current Research Funding Climate

A collegial discussion for the USC Health Sciences

Who Should Attend

Course is designed for new and established USC investigators who wish to learn more about the research funding climate of different funding agencies and what other researchers have done to become successfully funded.

Course Description

New discoveries and medical breakthroughs from biomedical research depend on sustained support from the federal government or other external sources. In a fiscal environment where the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget has fallen by close to 20 percent after inflation, competition for dwindling dollars in federal grants has increased markedly. Some of the most successful career investigators with highly rated peer-reviewed projects have experienced sudden interruptions in funding, as success rates for research project grant applications and funding have declined. In addition, the number of investigators experiencing an interruption or termination in their research funding is expected to increase, as further budget cuts for funding of biomedical research are likely. Whether an institution’s research program conducts $600 million or $60 million in NIH-sponsored research, the increased risk in interruption or cessation of competitive research projects can devastate established programs, leading to dislocation of faculty, trainees, and staff, and a delay or loss of medical breakthroughs.

This seminar will be a two-hour discussion led by a panel of 10 mid-level and senior faculty researchers from across the Health Sciences campus. Faculty members were chosen based on recent success in grants funding as well as recent experience as members of federal study sections. The panel will provide their personal insights and observations about changes in study section behavior, collaborative approaches to achieving funding successes, foundation approaches, reinventing the research focus, etc. Then the discussion will be opened up to the audience. The goal is to facilitate faculty collaboration and out of the box thinking towards our shared success.


M. Elizabeth Fini, PhD
Director, USC Institute for Genetic Medicine
Professor of Cell & Neurobiology and Ophthalmology
Keck School of Medicine of USC


Summary of Discussion


One 2 hour session

Next course

April 17, 2013 | 12:00 – 2:00 PM | Location: HSC Norris Research Tower (NRT) Aresty Auditorium

Course Registration

To register, please RSVP at least one week prior to the first class via email, indicating the course(s) you are attending, to

For information about workshops, contact the office at 213-740-6709.