Monthly Update – March 2024

Dear Colleagues, 

April is Earth Month, a time to celebrate USC researchers who do so much to protect our environment and preserve our planet for future generations. From Assignment: Earth to the President’s Sustainability Initiative Award, you are making a lasting impact through your interdisciplinary research and innovation. 

Thank you for reading this month’s update. To support your research endeavors, I encourage you to also visit the OORI website to learn about our latest programs, news, and funding opportunities. 

With kind regards, Ishwar 

FACULTY ENGAGEMENT: We are happy to announce a new award program, the Office of Research & Innovation (OORI) Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Collaborative Network Award (USC-IISc). The USC-IISc Award aims to help promote the development of collaborative scientific activities, scientific exchanges, and research projects between a network of USC faculty and IISc faculty. To support USC-IISc research teams and provide opportunities for in-person collaboration, awards for USC researchers to travel to India to meet with IISc partners and participate in a workshop will be funded by this program. The application deadline is May 20, 2024. Additional proposal application deadlines for upcoming OORI internal grant programs include the Instrumentation Award (April 17), and the Collaborative Research Planning Award (May 15). Please note, there has been a delay in the proposal submission deadline date for the Humanities and Humanistic Sciences Award,which will now be offered May 29, 2025. Currently under review are proposals received for the GenAI, the SBIR/STTR, the Ming Hsieh Institute Research Award, the Zumberge Award, the President’s Sustainability Initiative Award, the Institutional Training Planning Award and the Student Empowerment Award programs. Click on our funding page for information on all OORI’s award programs.  

Register now for our Center for Excellence in Research training workshops! In April, Jade Winn will discuss the evidence synthesis services available at USC Libraries; Kristen Grace will give you tips to avoid research misconduct allegations against your lab; Emily Parcell will show you how to set expectations across your team to manage work and collaborate on tasks; and Heidi Smith Parker, Dieuwertje Kast and Mary Bonaparte-Saller will teach you how to design and write a successful NSF Broader Impacts statement. If you’d like to be updated about upcoming workshops, please join our mailing list at OOR-USCCER-ML-L. 

CER is also looking for faculty or staff members in Fall 2024 who want to help researchers and scholars learn skills that will help them improve their work. Volunteers will teach a one to two hour-long workshop via Zoom on topics such as research resources/methods, professional development, grant writing, etc. All ideas are welcome! Apply here by Friday, April 5. 

FEDERAL LANDSCAPE UPDATES: President Biden recently signed the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024” into law, which includes funding for the medical research programs managed by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. This includes $370 million for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, $175 million for the Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health Research Program, and $130 million for the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program, amongst others. Funding opportunity announcements are forthcoming and can be foundhere

DEPARTMENT OF CONTRACTS & GRANTS: The Department of Contracts and Grants is pleased to announce a staffing update. We would like to welcome Theresa Caban to the DCG Team. Theresa will be the new Principal Officer for the HSC campus and brings a strong background in research administration from Rand, Kaiser Permanente, UCLA, and UC Irvine. She most recently served as the Clinical Trial Director with a private medical group and has had active leadership and mentoring roles with NCURA. 

PI Eligibility Process Update 

Consistent with the USC Guide to Sponsored Research, all tenured, tenure track, and Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical (RTPC) faculty (with the exception of lecturers, adjunct, and part-time faculty) may serve as Principal Investigators on Sponsored Research Projects. Other specific employee types including part-time faculty, certain staff positions and postdoctoral scholars may serve as a Principal Investigator only if a waiver is granted. To streamline the request for a waiver to serve in a PI role, please complete the applicable form below. Once completed and signed by your school, please provide to DCG to secure SVP approval: 

Keck School of Medicine Principal Investigator Exception request and Approval Form  

All other Schools Principal Investigator Exception request and Approval Form  

Your DCG point of contact for all PI eligibility waiver forms is Katie Rountree at  Please direct completed forms to Katie to secure VP approval. Please direct any questions directly to Katie. For additional guidance please see the PI Eligibility section of the DCG Website. 

Monthly Training Dates for April 

The Department of Contracts and Grants offers, on a monthly basis and upon request, a pre-award and post-award training. The pre-award training walks administrators through the proposal process at USC covering; roles and responsibilities, how to route proposals through the Cayuse system, and USC processes and policies to be aware of. The post-award training provides an overview of roles and responsibilities, cost principals, common post award issues and how/when to seek sponsor prior approval. Below are the dates and times the trainings will be available in April:   

Pre-Award Training: A Walk Through Cayuse SP and the Proposal Process

Monday, April 15th from 1:00 pm–2:30 pm PST   

Post-Award: Managing Common Post Award Issues and Questions

Wednesday, April 17th from 1:00pm–2:30 pm PST 

STEVENS CENTER FOR INNOVATION: The Stevens Center is excited to host the first-ever Techstars Startup Weekend at our office on April 5-7 for USC-affiliated faculty, alumni, and students. Startup weekend is an immersive, 3-day program where inspiring entrepreneurs can experience startup life and meet mentors, investors, and coaches from the local community. We will also be hosting an invitation-only Techstars Ecosystem Development Lab and convening community leaders and stakeholders in mid-April to learn key methodologies to grow our USC startup ecosystem.The licensing team will be judging and presenting student innovation awards for the “Most Disruptive” and “Best Commercial Potential” at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry Research Day andthe Mark and Semira Moshayedi Innovation Competition at the T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy this month. 

As we rebuild the Stevens Center, we have included a new section on our website to highlight operational and procedural changes. Many thanks for taking time to read it. 

HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION PROGRAM: The HRPP will be hosting an HRPP Convening in April. The convening will bring together stakeholders across the university who are a part of the University Human Research Protection Program. We will be focusing on how humans who participate in research are protected through our collective efforts and identify ways we can strengthen our work.  

Investigators and faculty advisors, please remember to use our website to access the most current version of all documents/templates available under our Most Used Documents (e.g., Social Behavioral and/or Secondary Research Protocol, Information Sheet, Informed Consent Form Template) as these are updated frequently. Please do not rely on previous versions of the documents/templates.  

Remember to check out our HRPP Performance & Metrics page to find our monthly, quarterly, and fiscal year metrics. You will find a Five-Year Analysis, our HRPP Dashboard, and other information regarding education, active studies, new monthly submissions, etc.  

DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL RESOURCES: The Information Fair on “How to Get Your Research Started” was a great success. Five (5) new principal investigators and several research staff engaged with our DAR representatives asking questions and meeting us. We were glad to participate in such an event, talk with the other departments, and are excited to participate again in the fall where we will have more “goodies” and on-hand information based on feedback. Outreach is important to us as we aim to showcase our department’s role in your research team.  

In one of the many ways DAR is continuing to provide our service commitment to the research community, we have engineered the following solutions to ensure the continuity of research during the upcoming HMR freight elevator modernization project. During the 15-week duration that elevator will be out of service, 4/22/24 through 8/5/24, DAR has coordinated with vendors to ensure animals are still received from vendors safely while also considering animal welfare. DAR has also ensured that the use of animal models is kept confidential by controlling the access of 1 passenger elevator used for this purpose. Since access to the cage wash will be limited, we have designated another room for handwashing as an alternative. As is our standard practice, the sanitation of cages and materials will be monitored. Communications to stakeholders will continue to be sent out to research staff, as well as updates, so that there is transparency on the progress of the project. Most importantly, the health and safety of DAR, building, and research staff has been considered to reduce allergen exposure, encourage workplace safety through ergonomics and administrative controls. We are optimistic that the elevator modernization will lead to smoother movement of research projects and DAR operations in the future.  

For resources, contact information, training videos, and answers to FAQs, please visit

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY: USC Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) has launched a new Training offering on Trojan Learn:  X-ray Safety Training and published a newPublic Health webpage that features outbreak alerts, health & safety guidelines, and more. Other resources that have been added to our website include Pathogen Safety Data Sheets (PSDS),Hazardous & Compressed Gases, and a new SOP: Safe Autoclave Operation.   

EH&S also recently sent out a memo: RSS WASTe App for Timely Waste Pickups. The memo highlights the benefits of using the RSS WASTe App and includes a helpful guide sheet on submitting waste pickup requests. Please take a moment to review the memo and guide sheet. All users who have transitioned their chemical inventory into RSS are expected to utilize the waste features for requesting pickups.  Your cooperation in adopting the new waste management process is greatly appreciated and crucial for its success. 

OFFICE OF RESEARCH INTEGRITY: On April 9th, 10am the USC Office of Research Integrity will be presenting CER seminar titled “Avoiding Research Misconduct Allegations Against Your Lab.”  In this seminar, we will discuss the ways to reduce the risk of an allegation against your lab, steps to take when you, a member of your lab, or a colleague are accused, and what to do when your work is mentioned negatively on PubPeer or other social media sites. Register at: 

Monthly updates are archived here.