Monthly Update – July 2020

CONGRATULATIONS! The USC Research and Innovation (R&I) is proud to announce the University’s support of COVID-19 research.  Since March, we created multiple calls for research proposals for work on COVID-19.   We received 65 proposals across 11 USC schools, with a total of 63 PIs and 97 team members; 39 USC faculty provided thoughtful volunteer peer review. The USC Research and Innovation (R&I), with support from the Office of the Provost, the Academic Senate, the Ming Hsieh Institute, and USC Stevens, is happy to be awarding 22 research grants for 22 COVID-19-related projects, listed here.  The awarded teams include 36.4% PIs who are women and/or under-represented minorities.

PEASE SAVE THESE DATES: The USC Research and Innovation (R&I) invites faculty, research staff, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers to participate in two research forums (via Zoom):

USC Research During COVID-19; Wed, Aug 19, 1:00-4:00 pm: Updates & guidance for research during COVID-19, COVID-19 research funding opportunities and a showcase of some of USC’s COVID-19 research projects. See agenda.

Navigating Research @ USC; Thurs, Aug 20, 10am-3:00pm (break 12-1pm): An opportunity to learn about campus-wide resources available to support research and scholarly work at USC. Topics will include diversity, external and internal funding sources, grant proposal resources, grants management, research integrity & compliance, technology transfer, and research communication, among others. See agenda.

FEDERAL FUNDING PATHWAYS: NIH recently released an agency-wide strategic plan (available here) for COVID-19 research that provides a framework for accelerating the development of therapeutic interventions, vaccines, and diagnostics. NSF is encouraging PIs interested in COVID-related projects to explore existing funding opportunities across NSF, and has released a Dear Colleague Letter (available here) to highlight the interest of existing programs in the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate for Engineering for the development of novel biological platforms that are capable of sensing and responding to emerging infectious agents. Specific COVID-related federal funding opportunities across agencies can be found For assistance, contact Steven Moldin.

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION:   USC Stevens and the USC Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors launched a new webinar series:  From Discovery to Commercialization: Valuable Guidance to Enhance the Success of Your Startup.  The first webinar, “Life Sciences Collaborations During the Pandemic”, held on July 29, 2020 is available on YouTube here.  The series will take a break in August and resume in September.  Watch your email and social media for information on the upcoming sessions.  USC Stevens has created an informational slide deck for all researchers, Working with the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, that has been provided to all research deans; you can also get it from your licensing associate.  USC Stevens licensing associates are happy to set up Zoom meetings with researchers, labs, and academic departments to provide additional information and answer questions.

OPRS/IRB: The work on improving the COVID-19 attestation and PI-level plan completion and upload processes will be completed in August, in order to make appropriately safe and properly approved human subjects and field research possible during the pandemic. Please see our website for updates. OPRS continues to offer office hours for faculty and students on the research design and IRB submission process. IRB wait times have come down from a high of 11 weeks earlier this summer to between 4 and 5 weeks at this time. Thank you to everyone who will be participating in the upcoming AAHRPP accreditation visit scheduled for August 5 and 6. If you are being interviewed, or you are just interested, please feel free to review accreditation materials on our website.

CONTRACTS & GRANTS:  Starting August 5th, the Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG) will be offering weekly online office hours as another opportunity to connect with investigators and research administrators.  Feel free to drop in with a question and connect with DCG staff on Wednesday mornings 9am-10am via Zoom.  The DCG Staff Directory, including online office hours, can be found on our website.