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USC University of Southern California
April 24, 2023   
Dear Colleagues,
We are inviting brief working group proposals to establish a new round of faculty-led initiatives in cross-cutting themes of research and scholarship in USC Dornsife.
In prior rounds of this competition, 15 phase I proposals were supported in 2019, with 6 more in each of 2021 and 2022. Eight phase II Dornsife center awards have been made to date. We expect to announce several new phase II centers in 2023. Details of funded initiatives can be found highlighted on the new Dornsife web site (under Research) which will go live during the first week of May.
We are inviting new phase I initiative proposals at this time. The initiative program works as follows:
Phase I
Based on a short form submission and with the advice of a faculty review committee, Dornsife will identify several faculty working groups who will receive up to $10,000 each to be used to discuss and develop a new initiative from July to February 2024. All phase 1 funds should be expended within the eight-month period. In exceptional circumstances, and only after approval from the Dean’s office, can the period to utilize phase I funds be extended.
Working groups may include non-Dornsife members but must be led by a Dornsife faculty member. Priority will be given to working groups that demonstrate the greatest potential impact. Impact translates to increased visibility of USC Dornsife outside the university in an area of scholarship; the possibility to grow a center effort that involves many faculty rather than a few; the potential to attract talented doctoral students and new faculty because of the establishment of the center; the possibility of attracting new philanthropic, foundation or federal funding to a center seeded by the proposed initiative.
Successful applicants will be notified in July.
Recipients of phase I funding will be required to submit a report on the working group activities along with a detailed phase II white paper outlining the goals, activities, and fundraising plans for a major new center addressing a priority area for the college. Our office must receive this report and phase II white paper by February 28, 2024.
Phase II
In spring 2024, a faculty committee will evaluate the white papers generated from the phase I working groups and will recommend a small number of these proposals to receive significant seed funding leading to the establishment of a new center. We will fund as many top-rated proposals as possible within the funds available at the time. Note that any funding allocated in Spring 2024 will be available to be spent out over three years (and not beyond), by which time the project should have secured external funding for the center to beyond that time frame.
Application Process
  • The deadline for phase I working group proposals is June 2, 2023.
  • All USC Dornsife faculty members are eligible to apply.
To apply: Dornsife faculty should submit an electronic request using the My RFP Submission application. The application form is already live in the myDornsife portal (https://myDornsife.usc.edu/).
Once you have logged into the portal, the application can be found by navigating to Dornsife Applications — Personal Tools — My RFP Submission.
Any questions about the Dornsife Faculty-led Initiatives program can be addressed to Stephen Bradforth (stephen.bradforth@usc.edu) or your divisional dean:
Peter Mancall (Social Sciences): mancall@usc.edu
Sherry Velasco (Humanities): svelasco@usc.edu
Moh El Naggar (Physical Sciences and Mathematics): mnaggar@usc.edu
Jan Amend (Life Sciences): janamend@usc.edu
University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences | Los Angeles , CA 90089 United States
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