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As USC Dornsife raises its national and international visibility as a premier research institution, we must make every effort to broaden the participation of USC Dornsife faculty in extramural funding opportunities and to support researchers who are seeking external support.

There are extramural funding opportunities available to large numbers of faculty, and our hope is that faculty members who could receive external support for their excellent research and scholarship will actively engage in securing that support.  To this end, USC Dornsife offers the three research initiatives below, and we invite you to contact the USC Dornsife Research Office for help with proposal preparation.


I. USC Dornsife Research Office

The USC Dornsife Research Office continues to offer regular workshops that are designed to introduce researchers to the grant proposal preparation and submission process. Information and schedules for these workshops can be found at Training.  We encourage you to contact the USC Dornsife Research Office for help with proposal preparation, including drafting a budget, completing forms, and preparing documents ( or 740-5854).  


II. The New Investigator Seedling Initiative

The USC Dornsife New Investigator Seedling Initiative is intended to aid in the preparation of federal extramural funding proposals by New Investigators (tenured and tenure-track) in USC Dornsife. Under this initiative the Dean's office will contribute one-time seed research funds of up to $2,500 to USC Dornsife eligible faculty who commit to submitting a nationally competitive federal extramural funding proposal.  This money is designed to support data analysis, pilot data collection, preliminary research, or similar activities. 

The Seedling fine print:  Because this initiative is designed to support new investigators, faculty are not eligible for this program if they previously have been awarded nationally competitive extramural funding as a PI or co-PI; also, faculty are ineligible if they currently have more than $10K available to them in research funds (including start-up funds). Faculty interested in participating in this initiative should submit via email to Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs Dani Byrd ( a preliminary abstract of the proposal, the federal sponsor to whom the proposal is likely to be submitted, and the call for proposals if available. Please note that if a proposal is not submitted, the faculty member may become ineligible for an annual Faculty Development Grant the following year.  Chairs, please communicate this initiative to your new hires as they come into USC Dornsife.  This initiative is subject to annual renewal.


III. The "Time-for-Two" Initiative

Faculty who are currently a PI or co-PI on one single NIH R01 or P-series grant or on one comparable multi-year federal award can apply to Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs Dani Byrd for a course rescheduling in order to prepare and submit a second federal award for a different project (competing and non-competing continuations are not eligible).  In consultation with the department chair, the course obligation will be deferred for a maximum of two semesters to allow for the submission and possible resubmission of the new grant proposal. The untaught course may not be a GE course.

a) If the grant is successful and awarded, the course obligation owed will be waived.   


b-1) If the grant proposal is not submitted before the start of the semester following the semester in which the designated course was untaught; or

b-2) If the grant is not successfully awarded within two semesters and a summer,

then the course obligation will come due the following semester and will be scheduled along with the faculty member's regularly scheduled courses for that semester.

This initiative is subject to annual renewal.

IV. The “Fulfilling Funding Goals” Initiative for the Humanities and Social Sciences

In order to ensure that faculty have the time to oversee their funded research programs and laboratories and fulfill the expectations of their sponsors, tenured and tenure-track humanities faculty (all departments) and social science faculty (in Anthropology, International Relations, Linguistics, Political Science, & Sociology only) (who have a standard-overhead grant in an amount equal to or exceeding $35K in a given academic year may reduce their teaching load by one course for that year. Eligible individuals should contact their Chair and Senior Associate Dean Speer.

The Fulfilling Funding fine print: Eligibility requires that the extramural grant or contract have the standard university on-campus overhead (F&A) rate (currently 64.5%) and that the annual funding be $35K in modified total direct costs (MTDC). If the grant has multiple investigators, the faculty member’s individual portion of the award must meet or exceed the eligibility requirement. If the individual already has a research-related course release granted (e.g., for a Center directorship or in a start-up package), a second release is not available under this initiative. No banking of releases or overload arrangements are allowed under this initiative, and all GE obligations must be met. No more than one course release per year will be granted under this initiative, and this release may not result in a faculty member having fewer than 3 units of teaching obligation in the relevant year.

This initiative is subject to annual renewal. Revised January 2015