Monthly Update – February 2021

Upcoming Office of Research Internal Grant Deadline: Collaboration Fund (April 5, 2021), supporting research collaborations among faculty and students working on interdisciplinary societally-relevant research topics. 

Coming soon: Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARSSurvey: STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. As part of USC’s STARS reporting, faculty will be asked via their schools to participate in a brief survey about research & scholarship relevant to sustainability. 

Data Preservation & Storage: The USC Digital Repository, jointly operated by the USC Libraries, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, and USC’s Information Technology Services, provides fee-based services to help USC researchers meet grant Data Management Plan requirements. Services include digitization, cataloging, preservation, and online access as well as consulting to help researchers determine appropriate web hosting and web design solutions. Please contact  for more information. 

Mentoring and Training Workshops: The Center of Excellence in Research is continuing with its Zoom workshops. Coming in March: How to Obtain NIH Funding, Cultural Competence and Inclusion in Sampling and Instrument Development, Obtaining Funding from Foundations, and Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Research on Organizations. Register here

FEDERAL UPDATES: In FY 2020, USC was awarded and was ranked 13th among all private domestic higher education institutions (based on $324.6 million in total NIH funding). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he will propose increasing NSF funding “by billions” to increase research in areas like AI, machine learning, robotics, and the manufacturing of semiconductor chips to make the nation more economically competitive. 

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION:  The 2021 Stevens’ annual Technology Advancement Grants (TAG) program is in progress. The RFP yielded 37 applications with 58 researchers across 7 schools, a record since TAG was launched. The diverse group includes 37.8% LOIs from female lead PIs, another record (and a 133% increase from 2019, see details here).  The LOIs are under blind review by faculty advisors; selected applicants will be notified in early March, and will have a month to submit full proposals, to be reviewed by external advisors, with the finalists having 3 weeks to record presentations. A live Q&A with the external advisors in the 2nd week of June. The 2021 TAG awardees will be announced by June 15, 2021. 

OPRS/IRB: IRB wait time is holding steady at 5 weeks. We are in the process of identifying candidates for the open positions and aim to fill many of them in the coming month or so. Please check out our most recent CER event called “In IRB We Trust”. A reminder that an IRB application cannot be approved if any member of the study team is not up to date with their training certificate requirements. Please see the IRB website for more information. 

CONTRACTS & GRANTS:  In spite of the pandemic, USC researchers submitted 12% more proposals in 2020 than 2019 (comparing March 1 – Dec 31 submissions).  Importantly, the increase was seen across genders and ethnicities (e.g., 8% for PIs identifying as male and 20% for PIs as female). However, DCG has seen an increase in last–minute submissions.  Proposals received less than 24 hours before the deadline date risk being late or rejected due to inadequate time to correct errors from the sponsor’s submission system.  To ensure standard review, please aim to route final proposals to your DCG officer 2 days before the sponsor’s deadline.   

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