University of Southern California

Research

Monthly Update – May 2020

This month’s updates from the Office of Research.

FACULTY ENGAGEMENT:

USC Award Programs: We received a tremendous response to the Zumberge Special Solicitation – Epidemic- & Virus-Related Research and Development Award (63 proposals received) and the Provost New Strategic Directions for Research Award (43 proposals received)! The review process is underway.

Tech Transfer Working Group (TTWG): TTWG was constituted in January 2020 to provide faculty input on USC’s technology transfer practices and policies and consider the broader innovation environment at USC.  The group has been developing recommendations that include: 1) clarifying the student IP policy;  2) improving university-wide IP policies and services;  3) creating a business development and industrial relations ecosystem to support greater transparency and collaboration;  4) establishing a Provost’s advisory committee that solicits community input for and develops a unified, inclusive, transparent, and vigorous innovation vision for USC.  The full recommendations will be shared as soon as they are ready.

University Research Committee (URC):  The URC has developed a “playbook” of suggestions for how to improve the culture of compliance throughout our research community, found here. URC’s final report is found here.

RESEARCH RAMP-UP:

As part of Project Restart, USC is in the process of finalizing preparations for safely and cautiously ramping up research under COVID-19 conditions, consistent with regulations from local city and state authorities. All USC units are preparing school-level plans and working with their researchers to develop PI/lab/group-level research ramp-up plans.  More information will be provided by the Provost’s Office.

FEDERAL FUNDING:

NIH developed a comprehensive listing of COVID-19 publications & preprints and a portfolio analysis interface (here), and released COVID-19 funding opportunities, e.g., Directors Emergency

Transformative Research Award. AHRQ is soliciting proposals for Novel High-Impact Studies Evaluating Health System and Healthcare Professional Responsiveness to COVID-19. IARPA released a BAA for pandemic-relevant technologies. Those and more are found here. For assistance please contact Steve Moldin.

CONTRACTS & GRANTS:

USC faculty have submitted over 55 proposals for extramural funding on COVID-19 related topics and received over $1.4M in COVID-19 extramural funding.  DCG staff continue to prioritize COVID-19 proposal submissions.  For proposal assistance, please contact your DCG Officer.

OPRS/IRB:

USC IRB is receiving unprecedented numbers of applications, many for COVID-19 protocols. They have successfully reduced the ratio of protocol-to-advisor from 37:1 to 20:1 (with 240 protocols currently requiring review).  The IRB web site is actively posting the current wait time and offering virtual office hours to support submission of all studies. All researchers (faculty, staff, and students) are welcome to reach out.   

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION:

USC Stevens updated and streamlined its MTA/DTA and CDA submission tools in Sophia for investigators wishing to exchange material, data, or confidential information related to USC IP.  For additional information, including contact information, please visit https://stevens.usc.edu/researchers/mta-cda/ or email mta@stevens.usc.edu.