Monthly Update – August 2020

CONGRATULATIONS! We are happy to announce the FY21 awardees for all USC Research and Innovation (R&I) award programs. Seventy-two proposals were submitted to seven award programs, of which 33 were awarded (16 to female lead PIs) for a total of $2.9M. Details on program awardees can be found here: Core Instrumentation & Dean’s Matching Fund;  Ming HsiehCollaboration FundZumberge Diversity & InclusionZumberge Individual;  Zumberge Interdisciplinary Large. The Request for Proposals for the 2020 Provost’s New Strategic Directions in Research award will be announced soon! We are also still accepting applications for the Zumberge Interdisciplinary Small program (rolling deadline). 

Research during COVID-19: We are in Phase 2 (letters and added numbers have been dropped) and happy to scale research up to 50%, per the latest guidance found here.  

Researcher forums We held open forums on Research During COVID-19 (including featuring USC research on COVID-19) on August 18th and Navigating Research @ USC on August 19th.  The slides are found here

Mentoring and training workshops: Click here for new 2020 Center of Excellence in research workshops.  

FEDERAL FUNDING PATHWAYS: NIH announced a virtual seminar on program funding and grants administration to be held in October, intended to demystify the application and review process, clarify federal regulations and policies, and highlight areas of special interest or concern. Registration begins on September 4th; more information is found here. The FY 2022 R&D budget priorities memo was released in August, outlining key White House priorities as agencies begin working on their budget submissions for the next fiscal year. The five R&D budget priorities are: 1) American public health security and innovation; 2) American leadership in the industries of the future and related technologies; 3) American security; 4) American energy and environmental leadership; and 5) American space leadership. The full memo is found here. For assistance related to federal funding opportunities, please contact Steve Moldin

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION: Michael Arciero, Director of Technology Licensing and New Ventures, has accepted a position as VP of Intellectual Property and Corporate Development at ERS Genomics.  His last day USC was August 31, 2020.  Michael joined USC Stevens in 2015 and contributed significantly to the growth in licensing activity; we are appreciative his service and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.  Until a replacement is hired, Jennifer Dyer  will assume the responsibilities with the support of two Associate Directors of Licensing: Donaldson Santos (Life Sciences) and Ruben Flores-Saaib (Physical Sciences), and Sue Kim, (material and data transfer agreements and confidentiality agreements). Also please see the updated list for school/department licensing contacts. 

RESEARCH INTEGRITY: The USC Research and Innovation (R&I) Integrity has updated the USC policy on misconduct in research, with input from the University Research Committee and the Academic Senate.  The new policy, Research and Scholarship Misconduct, explains misconduct and details the USC investigation process, including how and where to report any allegation of potential falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism of data.  If you have questions regarding the policy or would like to report or discuss any potential research misconduct concerns, please contact Dr. Kristen Grace

OPRS/IRB: As we move to allow for limited field/community-based research, iStar has been updated. Under item 9.1, the PI will need to indicate if the study includes engagement in in-person direct participant interaction in field/community-based contexts. If yes, the PI will need to upload a new study-specific PI plan. In addition, if the study involves field/community-based activities, the study team will be required to answer iStar questions from EH&S to ensure that the study team will have the correct protections while in the field. Please see the OPRS website for more information.  

CONTRACTS & GRANTS:  DCG recently announced new KC Proposal certifications and questions to assist faculty in ensuring relationships with foreign entities comply with federal disclosure requirements.  Foreign components of federally funded research, as well as applicable other support, should be disclosed on proposals, progress reports, and final technical reports. Additional information and resources on how to meet International Collaborations and Disclosure Requirements, including Sponsor Guidance, can be found on the Office of Culture, Ethics and Compliance website

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND SAFETY: EH&S, in collaboration with the USC Research and Innovation (R&I), University Research Committee, and other stakeholders, developed a new Research Personnel Protection policy. The new policy applies to USC faculty, staff, students, and visitors working in hazardous spaces (e.g., labs, workshops), or who oversee/engage in hazardous field work, and defines safety principles, responsibilities, and enforcement protocols.