Monthly Update – September 2020

RECENT DEVELOPMENT: As many of you may have learned, on September 22, 2020, the Trump administration issued an EO on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.  The EO applies to federal contractors and federal grant recipients, and seeks to prohibit employment training that implicates race or sex stereotyping and alleged “divisive concepts” like unconscious bias or “white privilege.”  It also implements new notice and posting requirements and instructs the Department of Labor to establish a compliance hotline for violations of the EO.  At present, the university is carefully analyzing how the EO may impact our research community.  The EO provides that grant-based restrictions will not take effect until federal agencies have had time to review affected programs and determine whether the restrictions should be made a condition of federal grants.  The heads of agencies have 60 days to review their respective grant programs and submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) listing all grant programs where, as a condition of receiving the grant, the agency will require the recipient to certify that it will not use federal funds to promote training that is prohibited by the EO.  Thank you for your patience as the university determines the impact of this EO on our research community and the university as a whole.


We have set up two new research community groups:

The Innovation Council, a group of faculty and staff across USC representing units, groups, and services involved in USC’s innovation ecosystem.  Here are the members. Please reach out to share feedback, ideas, and suggestions.

The Department of Animal Resources (DAR) User Committee, a group of users who will provide feedback and make recommendations about DAR and IACUC policies and procedures. Here are the members.

To encourage growth of shared research infrastructure across USC, we significantly revised the NSF Major Research Infrastructure Program cost-share rules to support the acquisition/development of shareable infrastructure in researchers’ labs in addition to USC research cores. The internal submission deadline is November 16 (click here to apply).

Mentoring and training: Click here for new Fall 2020 Center of Excellence in research workshops (all on Zoom).

FEDERAL FUNDING PATHWAYS:  We received 8 proposed for the NSF AI Institutes; while we are limited to 2 slots, we are grateful to all teams and will work with them to identify and pursue other externally-funded opportunities.  All organized teams pursing major externally-funded opportunities at any time will receive these services by the DC Office of Research Advancement.   The Office has also provided specific target opportunities to deans and vice deans of research that USC researchers are well positioned to pursue.  Please contact Steve Moldin.

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION:  To help researchers learn about the benefits of innovation, we have created a short (about 14 slides, 12 minutes) learning module about the Bayh-Dole Act that governs innovation under federal funding.   Details will be announced to researchers at all levels soon.  We have 3 open positions: 2 licensing associate and 2 senior licensing associates.  Please encourage qualified applicants to apply through the USC jobs website.

OPRS/IRB:  Because USC research has not caused COVID-19 transmissions, we are able to resume field/community research under strict safety regulations described here. Similarly, in-person human subjects research is also ongoing, under strict safety regulations described here. The OPRS website has been updated to include new answers to frequently asked questions related to field/community-based research. Tips and tricks to reduce wait and review times are forthcoming.

CONTRACTS & GRANTS (DCG):   DCG Officers will be working closely with the Business Development Officers in your school to provide updates on current negotiations with industry partners.  We are working with the Innovation Council to create a seamless method of communication and partnership with Business Development Officers.  In addition, please use the Negotiation Module in Kuali Coeus (KC) to view the status of your award and agreement negotiations; the tool provides a real-time view of negotiation activities for a specific proposal, award, or agreement.  For assistance in how to utilize this tool, or other DCG-related questions, please contact your DCG Officer.