The Exceptional Research Service Awards encompass three separate awards, each geared toward a different population of research support staff working at the University of South Carolina. For each of the three awards, recipients receive a personalized plaque, recognition at a spring event and an honorarium of $500. Students, postdoctoral scholars, tenured/tenure track, clinical track and research track faculty are not eligible for these awards.
The College/Department Research Administration Support Staff Award
The College/Department Research Administration Support Staff Award honors excellent research administrators working inside of academic units at the college or department level. These staff members should be involved in providing administrative support for faculty and/or student researchers inside of their units. These administrative support functions may include, but are not limited to, pre-award tasks like proposal development or budget planning, human resources activities that support one or more research groups, grant reporting and/or accounting, etc. Up to three College/Department Research Administration Support Staff Awards will be given each year; awardees will receive an honorarium of $500.
The Central Service Unit Research Administration Support Staff Award
The Central Service Unit Research Administration Support Staff Award recognizes outstanding research administrators working in the university’s central support offices, including but not limited to Grants and Funds Management, service units in the Office of Research like the offices of Sponsored Awards Management, Animal Care and IACUC, Institutional Review Board, Office of Research Compliance, etc. These staff members should work in a central service unit and be involved in providing administrative support functions for researchers working in various academic units across the university system. One Central Service Unit Research Administration Support Staff Award will be given each year; awardees will receive an honorarium of $500.
The Technical Support Staff Award
The Technical Support Staff Award celebrates exceptional technical research staff who directly support the hands-on work of faculty researchers. These staffers work in academic units and provide non-administrative, direct research support in technical roles including but not limited to lab technicians, biostatisticians, research associates, etc. Postdoctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students are not eligible for the Technical Support Staff Award. Up to four Technical Support Staff Awards will be given each year; awardees will receive an honorarium of $500.
Nominations for the Exceptional Research Service Awards are submitted through the Office of the Vice President for Research submission system at vprinitiatives.research.sc.edu. Faculty members may submit one nomination per award, but may not nominate the same staff member for more than one award. In other words, faculty members may nominate a separate staff member for each of the three awards. If reviewers find that a nominee for one award would be a stronger candidate for another award, the nominee may be considered for the award that fits their qualifications best.
To submit a nomination, the nominator should prepare a one-page letter telling the “story” of the exceptional research support they have received from the nominee and explaining why they are deserving of special recognition. The letter of nomination serves as the primary material reviewers will evaluate when deliberating, so it is the most important component of the nomination. Once the letter is prepared, the nominator may log into the nomination system, select the appropriate award contest (from the three award types detailed above), enter/select the nominee, upload the nomination letter, and submit the completed nomination for consideration. Nominators may refer to the Exceptional Research Service Awards Nomination Guide (pdf) for complete, step-by-step submission instructions.