Research funding and sponsored awards at the University of South Carolina have been trending upward consistently for more than a decade. This trend continued through fiscal year 2014, during which university researchers earned $230.2 million in award activity, representing a 4.5 percent increase from fiscal year 2013. This accomplishment is especially noteworthy considering the period of federal financial sequestration that had a downward impact on research funding throughout the country in the preceding fiscal year.
Our faculty's efforts have increased total research funding by 4.5 percent in the midst of an extremely competitive funding environment, which is a testament to their hard work, dedication and ongoing innovation.
— Harris Pastides
USC Vice President for Research, Prakash Nagarkatti credits a great portion of this achievement to "the outstanding research faculty at USC who continue to build on the foundation of internal programs and ongoing research success to earn some of the most competitive and prestigious sponsored awards available. Internal funding programs like ASPIRE, invest in the promising new research endeavors, collaborative interdisciplinary projects and cutting-edge infrastructure."
Nagarkatti also touted several Carolina research funding records in fiscal year 2014: "Federal grants are the most competitive type of funding available, and it's exciting to note that this year's federal grants topped $150 million, a record for USC. This translated into the highest funding levels in USC history from several major agencies, with $43 million from the National Institutes of Health, $48.4 from the Department of Health and Human Services and $19.9 million from the National Science Foundation. This clearly shows how our faculty are successfully competing even when the federal funding for research has declined in recent years."
This year's notable awards include:
- $11.2 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a center for targeted therapeutics that will develop new drugs to target the underlying causes of diseases
- $5.4 million from the NIH to support and sustain the efforts of the Center for Colon Cancer Research in development and implementation of novel strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer
- $4.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study and develop strategies to mitigate rural community health problems by providing better access to chronic disease education and prevention
- $3.4 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the efficacy, satisfaction and cost savings of using online-delivered intervention families to reduce children's social, emotional and behavioral problems
- $3 million from the National Science Foundation to establish the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program to help recruit and train the very best Ph.D. students in the engineering of nanomaterials for use in sustainable energy
Noting these and other significant 2014 awards, USC President Harris Pastides added, "These are just a few examples of the awards received by our University researchers this past year. Our faculty's efforts have increased total research funding by 4.5 percent in the midst of an extremely competitive funding environment, which is a testament to their hard work, dedication and ongoing innovation. I look forward to seeing what new exciting accomplishments are in store for Carolina's vital research community in the months and years to come."