Monthly Update – November 2021

It is strongly recommended to get a booster shot for COVID-19. California public health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to help prevent a possible winter surge in COVID-19 cases. If you have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and 6 months or more have passed since your second dose, you are eligible for a booster dose. If you have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and two months or more have passed since your dose, you are eligible for a booster dose. USC Pharmacies offer campus vaccination; MyTurn provides appointments at retailers across CA. You may choose to receive any vaccine as your booster.

Complete your flu vaccine. Trojan Check will activate check for flu compliance in December 2021. Getting your flu vaccine earlier in the season provides better protection for you, and for the community.


Internal Funding Deadline Reminders: Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering-Medicine for Cancer, Monday, January 24, 2022; Collaboration Fund, Monday, February 14, 2022; Zumberge Individual, Monday, March 7, 2022; Zumberge Diversity & Inclusion, Monday, March 14, 2022; Zumberge Interdisciplinary Large, Monday, March 21, 2022. All deadlines are at 5 pm.

FEDERAL LANDSCAPE UPDATES: Several bills would provide significant boosts in R&D funding. The United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) requests additional research funding focused on semiconductors, DOE topics, and manufacturing, and supply chains. USICA will be conferenced to resolve House and Senate differences. A small component of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (BIF) focuses on R&D and the identified projects (stormwater control, transportation research, implicit bias research, racial profiling) require a 50% cost share. This bill is now enacted. The Build Back Better Act (BBB) requests funding for specific R&D programs across multiple agencies, including a new NSF directorate (Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships). This bill is not finalized and is highly subject to change. The 21st Century Cures Act requests funding for a new DHHS agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and has not been finalized.

USC STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION:  On Nov. 17 the Stevens Center hosted its 14th Annual USC Stevens Student Innovator Showcase, where USC student entrepreneurs pitched their startup and business ideas to compete for over $30,000 in cash prizes and additional in-kind awards valued at over $30,000. Ten finalist teams pitched live to an online audience of over 100 attendees. The 10 teams, each identified by their business concept or startup name, were led by students from five different USC schools. Six teams won awards and represented a range of creative business ideas, including a medical device for cancer patients, a platform for college athletes to monetize their media, an app to help the visually impaired, and more. Read about the Showcase winners on the Stevens Center website.

OPRS/IRB: The IRB has seen an increase in wait times for exempt and expedited studies as a result of increases in submission numbers, November holidays, and vacation schedules. As we head out of the Thanksgiving holiday and into the University winter recess, we want to remind everyone that OPRS and the IRB will be closed from December 20-January 3. There will be no biomedical full board meetings after December 16, 2021, with Biomedical IRB 3 resuming on January 4, 2022. We recognize that investigators and study teams may continue to submit amendments and new study protocols during this period. As happens every year, we do expect longer wait times in January and February 2022. We will do our best to complete reviews as quickly and efficiently as possible while retaining the integrity of the review process. We are also in the process of on boarding six new analysts and we expect them to be fully in place by January 2022. We expect to feel their impact in the Spring semester. If you have a study that requires urgent review, please contact us at and If you need to reach an analyst, use the send message to IRB function in iStar and write an email directly to Julie Slayton will be checking email throughout the recess and a few members of the IRB staff will be doing so less consistently.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY (EH&S): As campus prepares for the upcoming holiday winter recess, ongoing research will likely continue outside of normal business hours and after regularly scheduled closure times. Therefore, it is especially critical that researchers take extra precautions during off-hours or periods of campus closure when the number of individuals present in laboratories is greatly diminished. Under no circumstances should research staff and/or students work alone on experimental procedures involving hazardous chemicals, biohazardous materials, or high physical hazards. In all cases, appropriate lab coats and other personal protective equipment (PPE) should be utilized in accordance with the USC PPE Standards.

USC Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) will maintain normal response capability. All accidents, fires, hazardous materials spills, or other incidents, regardless of size, should immediately be reported to DPS at (213) 740-4321. Serious injuries must also be reported within 8 hours to EH&S at (323) 442-2200. EH&S will continue to monitor serious injury reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the Holiday Break.