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Office of the Vice President for Research

Opportunities for Faculty

Breakthrough Leadership in Research Awards

Breakthrough Awards have been paused for 2023-2024

The Breakthrough award process is temporarily on hold. The Office of the Vice President for Research is reexamining the program structure during this cycle.


Breakthrough Leadership in Research award recipients take a multifaceted approach to research. Any full-time faculty member currently employed within the USC system can be nominated by colleagues or administrative leadership. A nominee may not win two years in a row.

The primary criterion for the award is the demonstration of leadership through sustained commitment towards synergistic activities like:

  • Successful mentoring of junior faculty
  • Establishing research centers with university-wide impact
  • Promoting research to K-12 students
  • Engaging in community outreach through research
  • Creating programs aimed at increasing diversity
  • Any other activities that are considered non-traditional, for which USC currently does not provide recognition

Please note that there could be many other unique ways through which the faculty may provide leadership to help promote research and scholarly activity. Activities that qualify senior faculty members for this award are not restricted to the above examples.

Nomination calls are sent out each fall. Any faculty member or administrative leader can submit a nomination (one nomination per year, per person). Nominations are submitted through an award nomination system based on the university's sponsored award administration system, USCeRA, which is a familiar interface for most faculty members.

2023 Breakthrough Leadership in Research Awards Nomination Materials

The below guidelines and forms are from the fall 2022-2023 Breakthrough Leadership in Research Awards nomination cycle. This documentation is subject to change from year to year.

Submit nominations here.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.