HSC Weekly 2011-07-29
Grant funding at Keck School increases 43 percent over four years
By Amy E. Hamaker
Despite a stiff competitive environment for external funding and a slow-to-recover national economy, the amount of Keck School of Medicine research grant funding has greatly increased in recent years.
Most notably, during fiscal year (FY) 2011, the Keck School received $248.3 million in grant awards—a 14 percent increase from FY 2010 and a 43 percent increase over the previous four fiscal years (the largest four-year increase over the past 13 years). Other recent highlights include:
•Keck School plus its affiliates received $312.2 million in grant awards during FY 2011, representing a 13 percent increase from FY 2010.
•Keck School affiliate Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received $10 million more in grant awards in FY 2011 than in FY 2010.
•NIH awards comprised 73 percent of the total grants awarded in FY 2011 or $169.1 million. This is the highest percentage of NIH versus total grants in the past seven years.
“Most remarkable is the fact that the FY 2011 increase is over and above grants awarded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA] economic stimulus program,” said Elizabeth Fini, vice dean for research, Keck School of Medicine. “Such success is entirely about the expertise and efforts of our faculty. Our chairs, chiefs and institute directors have recruited a good mix of junior and senior researchers, with senior researchers bringing in grants right away. Promising junior researchers, once established, can be expected to be productive for many years.”
Fini cites several reasons for the increase in grants, including team grants led by newly recruited research leaders, the $56.8 million Clinical & Translational Science Award, and the fact that every center grant under competing renewal has been renewed. But she notes that perhaps the most important factor is having recruited the right faculty members, driven by the availability of attractive research facilities. “We’re in the enviable position of having three new wet lab buildings and a new office research building opening soon on Soto Street,” Fini said.
Fini also cites recent success, thanks to support from Keck School Dean Carmen A. Puliafito, with individual NIH K-series career development awards that help provide research training to develop academic physicians and translate research findings to patient care and community health. In 2007, Keck School faculty received two NIH K-awards; this year Keck faculty received 17 individual K-awards, in addition to six more at USC affiliate Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Going forward, the school plans a “themes, teams and centers” approach to build critical mass in signature programs stemming from the school’s new strategic plan.
These programs bridge USC strengths and external funding opportunities such as in AIDS research, neuroimaging research and cardiovascular diseases. New research grant applications for NIH center, program project, training and other team grants are being encouraged and supported, with the goal of building research cores and other shared resources.
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