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Office of the Vice President for Research

  • Decorative banner made up of five images, each drawing on the theme of one USC Research Institute.

USC Research Institutes

By connecting brilliant researchers from different disciplines and applying their unique skills and insights to real-world problems affecting the Palmetto State, five USC Research Institutes are working for a brighter future.

In spring 2023, the University of South Carolina offices of the President and the Vice President for Research came together to make an unprecedented investment in the future of the university’s research community. Through the Research Institutes Funding Program, USC is investing $10 million over four years into five competitively selected interdisciplinary research institutes, each of which is taking on a different challenge facing the Palmetto State.

The goal of this effort is to give interdisciplinary faculty research teams the robust seed funding they need to make impactful progress on their SC-centric research so they can build up a strong portfolio of success to attract major external funding, including federal research center grants. Along with research funding of $500,000 per year over four years, faculty working in the USC Research Institutes will receive mentorship through the STAR Program, which was piloted in 2021-2022 by the Office of the Vice President for Research. With this practical and funding support, the USC Research Institutes will contribute to the well-being of South Carolina while enhancing the profile of its flagship research institution on the national research stage.

These projects truly represent what a flagship research university does best: bring together experts from multiple disciplines to take on some of the biggest scientific and societal challenges of our time.

USC President Michael Amiridis
Portrait photo of USC President Michael Amiridis wearing a grey suit with a garnet tie.


The USC Research Institutes


The highest impact research today involves leveraging multiple perspectives, skillsets and areas of expertise to come up with the most comprehensive possible understanding of or solution to a significant issue. These institutes hold great promise as both centers of innovation and a major investment in the bright future of interdisciplinary research at USC.

USC Vice President for Research Julius Fridriksson
Portrait photo of USC Vice President for Research Julius Fridriksson in a grey plaid suit with garnet and black striped tie.


Meet the USC Research Institute Directors

Matthew Irvin, College of Education

Matthew Irvin, Ph.D., directs the Institute for Rural Education and Development. Irvin’s research focuses on the academic, social, and behavioral development of adolescents from rural communities. This includes students’ risk and resilience, motivation and engagement, learning in online courses, youth with disabilities, and peer relations.

Asif Khan, College of Engineering and Computing

Asif Khan, Ph.D., is the director of the Institute for Extreme Semiconductor Chips. Khan pioneered research in gallium nitride (GaN) material systems and related technologies, which now are indispensable in many power electronics including all major electric vehicle and computer power supplies.

Melissa Nolan, Arnold School of Public Health

Melissa Nolan, Ph.D., serves as the director of the Institute for Infectious Disease Translational Research. Nolan’s research interests revolve around infectious diseases and health disparities. Her work focuses on patient-oriented public health approaches to tackle diseases that disproportionately affect the impoverished.

Tammi Richardson, College of Arts and Sciences

Tammi Richardson, Ph.D., directs the Institute for Clean Water. Richardson’s research interests center around aquatic ecosystems, looking at questions of how light, nutrients and temperature influence phytoplankton growth and taxonomic composition, including the development of harmful algal blooms known as red tides.

Clinton Webb, School of Medicine Columbia

Clinton Webb, Ph.D., is the director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Disease Research. His research interests focus on the physiology of smooth muscle, with particular emphasis on specific systems including vascular reactivity in hypertension and diabetes and intercellular communication between smooth muscle cells, among others.


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