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Office of the Vice President for Research

USC Celebrates Fourth Consecutive Year of Record-Setting Research Activity and Sponsored Awards Funding

For the fourth year running, the University of South Carolina has set a new record for research activity and sponsored award funding, garnering $258.1 million in fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018).

USC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti touted this achievement saying, “It’s always exciting to set a new record, but when it’s the fourth record-setting year in a row, that is an electrifying trend. Our outstanding faculty seem to be unstoppable when it comes to innovation, research, teaching and serving, and their excellence is evident in this impressive, consistent funding success. My office is so honored to support researchers at every level, to help them maximize their success in securing funding.”

Internal funding programs Nagarkatti instituted early in his tenure as Vice President for Research have for years been showing demonstrable results in increased sponsored awards funding of projects initially seeded by internal investments. ASPIRE—a program devised to support new lines of research, interdisciplinary projects and shared infrastructure investments—has seen a return of $174.4 million on the $13.9 million of internal dollars invested since 2012. RISE provides grants of up to $6,000 to $8,000 for faculty working at USC System campuses to complete research and scholarly projects during the summer months. Through such programs and strong institutional support from the leadership, USC’s system campuses have seen significant growth in research activity and sponsored awards during the past five years (FY2014 to FY2018):

  • 109.2 percent growth at USC Sumter
  • 72.1 percent at USC Beaufort
  • 55.8 percent at USC Upstate
  • 45.1 percent at USC Aiken
  • 14.8 percent at USC Salkehatchie, including a 1,114 percent jump between FY2017 and FY2018

USC President Harris Pastides joined Nagarkatti in celebrating the FY2018 funding success story: “I could not be more proud of our exceptional faculty and the hard work they put in to secure funding dollars necessary to help our university generate innovation, research, scholarship and opportunities for our students at a world-class level. Our record of consistent funding growth is just more proof that our people are among the best and brightest in their fields.”

These externally sourced dollars support research, service and training efforts across the USC System, and reflect funding growth in each of those three categories, with research dollars up $1 million over FY2017, service funds increased by nearly $3 million and growth in training dollars totaling  $600,000. Fiscal year 2018 also saw increases across two of the three broad categories of funding sources (federal, state/local and private). Federal agencies, widely recognized as the most competitive funding source awarded USC about $1 million more in FY2018 than the previous fiscal year, for a total of $152.5 million. 

It’s always exciting to set a new record, but when it’s the fourth record-setting year in a row, that is an electrifying trend.

—Prakash Nagarkatti

Contributing to this year’s record funding level were 28 new awards of $1 million or more, an increase of one third over FY2017. Here are a few noteworthy and impactful projects on this distinguished list:

  • $20 million from NSF EPSCoR to fund MADE in SC. This statewide consortium of 10 South Carolina institutions of higher education will engage in advanced materials research and development, create a pipeline of workers to enter South Carolina’s advanced manufacturing industry and increase the capacity for economic growth in the state. At $20 million, this is the highest ever sponsored award made by the NSF to South Carolina. [Read More]
  • $3.9 million from NSF EPSCoR to USC’s Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center (PGSC)—the only center of its kind in the world—to investigate ways that genetic differences determine fitness under stress. The PGSC and partners at Claflin and Auburn will also recruit diverse new faculty researchers, mentor undergraduate students and develop a new series of tests and methodologies that other researchers can use in their own studies. [Read More]
  • $3.3 million from the NIH to work with 15 collaborators around the U.S. to study the impact of food-security disparities on glycemic control and healthcare utilization among youth and young adults with diabetes. This study will focus on three areas of the United States, including South Carolina. [Read More]
  • $3.2 million from the NIH to research nutrition-based approaches to reducing heart disease among overweight African Americans. This unique project will examine the use of healthy, culturally appropriate plant-based versus omnivorous soul food diets to address cardiovascular disease. [Read More]
  • $1.7 million from DHHS to train more than 100 graduate students in the College of Social Work over four years to provide mental health care in South Carolina’s underserved rural communities. The master’s students will work with professionals across health science disciplines to build a rich array of skills that will benefit rural residents of the Palmetto State for years to come. [Read More]


28 August 2018

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