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The SCTR Institute Announces a New Research Voucher Program

The South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR) announces a new Research Voucher Program designed to enable investigators to gather preliminary data for inclusion in a grant proposal, improve the science or safety of their research projects, or develop a translational focus for their project. The vouchers are available to all MUSC-affiliated principal investigators.  Funding can be requested for up to $1,000.
So far, over 50 researchers have received SCTR voucher funds, according to Leila Forney, RN, lead research navigator of the SCTR SUCCESS Center. Some of the approved services and equipment funded includes research patient care services (EKG, bone density scanning, urine screening), lab testing (metabolic panels, estradiol, progesterone), research study supplies (blood pressure cuffs, microphone for a hearing study), and data-analysis software for community research.
“The SCTR voucher program provides a quick, easy process for researchers,” said Royce Sampson, RN, SCTR Chief Operations Officer. According to Sampson, this model supports SCTR director Kathleen Brady's idea of a Johnny Appleseed approach to funding research—plant lots of seeds and things will grow. “We want to spread the word about it as much as possible.”
MUSC’s Center for Drug and Alcohol Program (CDAP) researcher William Griffin III, PhD, received a SCTR voucher for his work on neurobiology of alcohol and the brain. CDAP participates in several of the country’s major clinical trials and conducts the latest research on alcoholism and substance abuse dependence. Griffin quickly applied for funding to help with the purchase of study medication to investigate the interactive effects of alcohol with methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Renata Serricchio Leite, DDS, MS a faculty member of the College of Dental Medicine, got involved with community-based participatory research through the Community Engaged Scholars Program (CESP).  She is been working with a community partner, city officials and leaders from the nearby town of Hollywood, SC to improve the oral health of this community.  She used the SCTR voucher program to buy the software needed for qualitative data analysis during the formative phase of the Hollywood Smiles project.

Yong-Mei Zhang, PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology applied for a voucher to cover the services costs from core facilities on campus. “The focus of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms of bacterial intercellular communication that is essential for virulence.  At first I did not plan to apply because I thought that the SCTR voucher program was only intended for clinical research. After Leila Forney explained to me that we were also eligible to apply for the voucher, I applied and was approved for funding to cover the service costs from core facilities on campus.”

Department of Pediatrics researcher, Sarah Taylor, MD used SCTR voucher funding to purchase MUHA Core Lab Services. Her study aims to achieve vitamin D sufficiency very low birth weight infants.

The vouchers are available to all MUSC investigators conducting basic, clinical, translational or community research and may be requested to cover research costs up to $1,000. Once approved, funding will remain available for six months. A principal investigator may have two SCTR voucher awards simultaneously as long as the research conducted occurs in two different research protocols.
Applicants may contact the SCTR SUCCESS Center, 125 Doughty St., Suite 100 in person, via web at or via phone at 843-792-8300.  For more information on the SCTR Voucher Program, please visit

*This story was written by Cindy Abole, Catalyst Staff and Randal Davis, SCTR Institute Staff.

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