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USCís sponsored awards hit new record: $238 million

By Steven Powell, spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1923

The University of South Carolina’s research funding and sponsored awards for fiscal year 2012 totaled $238.3 million, a new record and a 5 percent increase over the preceding year, said Prakash Nagarkatti, USC’s vice president for research.

“Almost 70 percent of the research carried out by the universities across the U.S. is funded by nationally competitive grants awarded by federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and the like,” Nagarkatti said.  “With the federal support for research remaining relatively flat or declining in recent years, it is remarkable that USC faculty have been able to successfully secure such high levels of research funding.” 

Federal awards from the U.S. Department Energy increased 22 percent and from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 7 percent. Business and industry awards were up more than 70 percent, from $10.3 to $17.6 million.

“Our vibrant research program has a tremendous impact on the health, well-being and prosperity of our citizens through initiatives in public health, medicine, aerospace and others,” said USC President Harris Pastides. “USC will continue to emphasize innovative research and technology as we educate South Carolinians and engage in economic development.”

Notable research awards from the past year include:

Recovery from brain damage, particularly from strokes that affect communication. The NIH has awarded $4.5 million to the department of communication sciences and disorders in the Arnold School of Public Health to study the treatment of aphasia in stroke victims.

Drought and other climate-related vulnerabilities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $3.8 million to the department of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences to work with a variety of stakeholders across North and South Carolina to advance scientific understanding of climate and hydrological processes in the Carolinas into the decision-making process.

Sleep restriction affecting older adults. The NIH has awarded $3.7 million to the department of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health to examine the effects of 12 weeks of sleep restriction of just one hour per night on a host of outcomes, including mood, sleepiness, and inflammation, in adults 60 to 80 years old.

Treating colitis and colon cancer. The NIH has awarded $2.1 million to the department of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences in the South Carolina College of Pharmacy to study a new, small molecule that inhibits colitis, possibly with fewer side effects than other drugs. Current therapies of inflammatory bowel disease are fraught with side effects, including cancer and death.

Treating multiple sclerosis. The NIH has awarded $2 million to the department of pathology, microbiology, and immunology in the School of Medicine to study the mechanism by which phytonutrients in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage suppress MS, which affects some 350,000 to 500,000 people in North America alone.

Treating substance abuse in parents. The NIH has awarded $3.2 million to the department of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences to study the concurrent treatment of substance abuse and child maltreatment.

USC is one of only 63 public universities listed by the Carnegie Foundation in the highest tier of research institutions in the United States and the only one in the state of South Carolina.

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Posted: 09/07/12 @ 10:00 AM | Updated: 09/12/12 @ 9:12 AM | Permalink

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