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Office of Research Development

Scientific Environment

MUSC Overview

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is South Carolina’s only comprehensive academic health science center. Founded in 1824 as the first school of medicine in the southeast United States, MUSC’s main campus is located on more than 80 acres in the City of Charleston. Since its founding, the university has awarded more than 36,000 degrees and grown from a small medical school to an academic health science center comprised of a 700-bed referral and teaching hospital and six colleges with more than 1,700 faculty educating approximately 3,000 students annually. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.3 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million.

MUSC is a state-assisted institution. The South Carolina General Assembly and Governor appoint the Board of Trustees, who appoint the President. The Vice President for Academic Affairs serves as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Although MUSC is a public institution, it receives less than 7% of its total annual budget from the State of South Carolina. The majority of financial resources are generated through patient care fees, tuition, federal grants and contracts, and private contributions.

The university has been at its present site on the Charleston peninsula since 1913, currently occupying more than 80 acres and 89 buildings. Major construction and renovation in recent years include the 122,000 ft2 Darby Children’s Research Institute (2004); a major renovation of the Hollings Cancer Center (2006) that expanded the cancer center to >200,000 ft2; an education and research complex for the College of Health Professions involving renovation of a 40,000 ft2 historic building adjoining a newly constructed building of similar size (2006); the Ashley River Tower as the first phase of a long-term initiative to construct an entirely new comprehensive teaching and referral hospital on the west side of campus (2008); a 120,500 ft2 home for the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine (2009); the Drug Discovery and Bioengineering Buildings (2011); and 44,000 ft2 major renovation of the College of Nursing including a new Simulation Lab, 2 large “state of the art” new classrooms and 54 additional workspaces (2015). As key components of the James C. Clyburn Research Center at MUSC, these two newest buildings add ~220,000 ft2 for translational research and training to generate molecular targets, lead compounds, tissue engineering constructs, novel devices and genomic technologies. MUSC held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women's Pavilion (August 2016). Scheduled to open in fall of 2019, this 625,000 ft2 state-of-the-art hospital will cost $385 million and span 10-stories. 

MUSC is a partner with the City of Charleston and the South Carolina Research Authority in the SCRA MUSC Innovation Center, ~1 mile from the center of campus, providing research incubator and laboratory space to advance the commercialization of knowledge based on research discoveries and advances in health care.

MUSC is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award bachelor, master, doctoral and professional degrees. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and numerous national, professional and specialized accrediting bodies provide additional accreditations. The teaching faculty on campus consists of ~1,200 full-time and >200 part-time members. MUSC offers professional education at undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels appropriate to the health care disciplines, awarding ~900 degrees annually with enrollment of >2,500 degree-seeking students. In addition, the university coordinates the training of approximately 80 interns, 400 medical/surgical residents and 100 specialty fellows in ACGME-approved programs and dozens of dental and pharmacy residents.

U.S. News & World Report ranked MUSC Health the top hospital in South Carolina for 2017-2018 and among the best in the country when it comes to the treatment of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders; gynecology; urology; and cancer. In addition to the national ranking for ENT, MUSC was categorized as a “high-performing” facility for the treatment of gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and rheumatology.

MUSC leads the South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC), linking the academic health sciences center in Charleston to community-based health care centers statewide with an emphasis on health disparities, rural health issues and access to health care. South Carolina was among the first 11 states to receive federal funding to establish a model statewide AHEC program in 1972. South Carolina AHEC received the prestigious Eugene S. Mayer Award in 2006, presented every two years to the best model statewide AHEC system in the nation. MUSC has received national recognition from the Association of American Medical Colleges and other professional associations for outstanding community service and leadership in innovative health services delivery, outreach, and emergency preparedness.

MUSC is the leading biomedical research institution in Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC), a statewide consortium created to facilitate and accelerate the development, testing and dissemination of new, more effective health interventions and therapies to improve the health and well-being of all residents of the state. Through HSSC, the state’s three research universities and four largest healthcare systems have created a statewide integration of scientists, clinicians and data systems. HSSC has active working groups in science, clinical care, information technology and data interoperability, a statewide IRB, and an integrated Center for Clinical Safety and Effectiveness that develops and coordinates state-of-the-art patient simulation technologies across the state.

Research at MUSC

MUSC has a substantial research enterprise. In FY2017, MUSC faculty received 1,180 extramural awards totaling over $250 million. Federal funding (including federal flow-through) constitutes about 64% of extramural support, with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the primary funding agency. With more than $112 million from the NIH, MUSC’s extramural research encompasses: Basic Research 53%, Clinical Research 24%, Training 13%, and 10% Clinical Trials. MUSC continues to rank in the top 100 in R&D expenditures at higher education institutions [NSF 15-314, February 2015]. Link to Funding Chart.

Looking at NIH data for federal fiscal year 2016, the COM now ranks 42nd among all U.S. medical schools, jumping five places and positioning MUSC above medical schools at Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest and the University of Florida. MUSC ranks an even more impressive 21st among public medical schools.  Of particular note are several individual departments that showed exceptional results in attaining funding:

The South Carolina SmartState® Program was created by the South Carolina legislature and is funded through South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds. The legislation authorizes the state's three public research institutions, Medical University of South Carolina, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, to use state funds to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy. The SmartState® Program has resulted in more than $400 million dollars in non-state investment into the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of 5,000 jobs. To date, MUSC has initiated 20 SmartState® Centers, bringing the total of MUSC endowed chairs and named professorships to 41 (33 appointed as of 2017). In addition to the obvious benefit of providing substantial resources to recruit senior research leadership and entrepreneurship, the program has dramatically raised the profile of university-based research in South Carolina – especially biomedical and clinical/translational research – and stimulated significant philanthropy to meet match requirements.

Explore how scientists are Changing What's Possible in Research at MUSC.

South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research (SCTR) Institute

The Medical University of South Carolina established the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR) in 2006 in response to the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program, aimed at transforming approaches to research and discovery implementation. The main thrust of the CTSA Program is to catalyze the development of interdisciplinary research initiatives to accelerate the translation of discoveries into improved therapies and clinical practice while breaking down programmatic boundaries. Multiple cores currently operate under the SCTR umbrella, including:

  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Regulatory Knowledge and Support
  • Special Populations & Community Engagement
  • Recruitment
  • Biostatistics, Epidemiology & Research Design
  • SUCCESS Center & Research Toolkit
  • Multi-Site Study Support
  • Translational Workforce Development & Training
  • Pilot Projects & Health Technology Solutions
  • Team Science

The SUCCESS Center (Support Center for Clinical & Translational Science) is the “Front Door” of the SCTR Institute, providing comprehensive navigation to all SCTR research support resources and those of the institution and the CTSA National Network.  Support scans the entire research spectrum, from inception of ideas through technology transfer and dissemination of best practice models.

The Research Nexus, a key element of SCTR, is a specialized, JCAHO-accredited clinical unit that facilitates patient-oriented research for the NIH and provides medical scientists and trainees with critical resources to advance the understanding of human diseases and enhance therapeutic interventions. The Research Nexus – a 9,200 ft2 facility on the 2nd floor of MUSC's Clinical Sciences Building – houses 8 examination rooms, 2 procedure rooms, and a pulmonary function testing suite. A specialized Molecular Core Lab provides services and expertise for studies requiring basic molecular biology (e.g., DNA sequencing) as well as population-based studies (e.g., DHPLC screening). The Research Nexus houses a state-of-the-art facility for cell isolation and processing for local derivation of cells approved for use in human cellular transplantation. For inpatient studies, the Research Nexus uses “scatter-beds” in areas best suited to the needs of the study. SCTR has robust statewide collaborations with affiliate members including the University of South Carolina, Health Sciences South Carolina, Clemson University, Greenwood Genetics Center, South Carolina Research Authority, and the Charleston VA Medical Center.

Research Opportunities & Collaborations. Dedicated to pairing new study opportunities with world-class faculty and supporting rapid study launch (e.g., site assessment, budget negotiation, regulatory review), the ROC team offers a comprehensive array of support services (Phases I-IV) in every major therapeutic specialty. ROC also manages MUSC’s strategic CRO relationships with Quintiles, PPD, ICON and PAREXEL. Since October, 2012, 168 contracts for ROC study opportunities have been executed, totaling $51.6 million; and as a Quintiles Prime Site, the MUSC enrollment factor is 204% (104% more participants enrolled, on average, than other sites) and study implementation is 3 weeks faster compared to other academic medical centers.

Research Training

MUSC offers an outstanding environment for training and career development. The university ranks in the top quartile of domestic educational institutions in the number of NIH grants for research training and education. NIH FY2017 award data include 24 NIH institutional training or research education grants (T15, T32, T35, TL1 and R25 types), 23 NRSA individual fellowships (F-types), 37 individual and 4 institutional career development awards (K12 & KL2 awards), and 16 center grants (P awards) with many including training and career development components for postdoctoral and/or junior faculty. MUSC has three dual degree programs: the NIGMS-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD), the NIDCR-funded Dental Scientist Training Program (DMD/PhD), and PharmD/PhD, plus a well-subscribed Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) program that was initiated with K30 support. Four MUSC training programs focus specifically on diversity in the biomedical sciences: the NIGMS-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) that supports doctoral training for minorities, two NHLBI R25 grants for short-term research training for minority students, and a Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) that supports minorities in preparation for biomedical research careers.  (revised Jan 2018)

Research Development and Administration

The MUSC research infrastructure includes pre- and post-award functions reporting to the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost through the Associate Provost for Research. The Office of Research Development (ORD) focuses on program and proposal development, identifies funding opportunities, develops proposal concepts, networks faculty members with complementary interests, provides grant-writing consultation and workshops, offers pre-submission critiques, compiles institutional data, and prepares competitive proposals for research resources and research training. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) handles certifications and assurances, ensures that policies and procedures are followed, helps prepare budgets, negotiates terms and conditions, maintains proposal and awards data, and oversees re-budgeting and close-out activities. ORSP is the institutional interface with and coordinates all aspects of electronic research administration. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) provides oversight and staffing for activities focused on compliance with regulations for research involving humans, vertebrate animals, and biohazardous agents. It also coordinates management of conflict of interest, financial disclosure, and scientific integrity issues. A new Office of Clinical Research (OCR) was created to support physician-scientists by developing strategic partnerships with industry sponsors, supporting feasibility and site selection processes, and employing metric tracking and reporting to ensure efficient study activation timelines, improved participant accrual and optimal financial performance.

Foundation for Research Development

The MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) is an affiliated, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, established to manage technology transfer and private sector research relationships for MUSC. FRD is responsible for evaluating all intellectual assets MUSC owns and generates, extracting value, and forging industry and other relationships resulting in products and services that provide real life solutions to the world’s medical needs. MUSC investigators currently submit approximately over 100 new invention disclosures per year, for a total of over 1500 disclosures since the FRD’s inception. On behalf of MUSC and its investigators, FRD has filed more than 400 US patent applications on new technologies. Those applications resulted in over 300 domestic and international patents. In addition, FRD has entered into more than 160 license agreements for MUSC innovations with over 70 products on the market. Over 50 start-up companies have been founded to commercialize MUSC intellectual property. These accomplishments illustrate the quality and practical relevance of MUSC expertise and research findings, setting the pace for future progress.

Support Services

Health Affairs Library
The MUSC Library serves as a database and knowledge center, academic computing support unit, electronic education center, and leader in information planning. Online resources include major biomedical databases (e.g., Scopus, CINAHL, PsycINFO, SciFinder Web, and PubMed). Resources include drug information (Lexicomp Online, the Electronic Orange Book), consumer health (Hands on Health, MedlinePlus, Health Reference Center), clinical decision support systems (DynaMed, UpToDate, DDX), Clinical Practice Guidelines, clinical trials, evidence-based practice (Cochrane, the TRIP database), government resources (Toxnet, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, SC and US Statistical Abstracts), the Computational Biology Resource Center, over 30,000 electronic books (Procedures Consult, Harrison's Online, AccessMedicine) and e-journal packages with over 19,000 individual journals), statewide shared academic databases (Collegiate DISCUS, DISCUS), and other resources that provide a wealth of global information. Service-oriented faculty and staff assist in the use of a variety of informational systems. An active program of individual, class, and group instruction supports teaching, clinical care, research and community outreach. The Library includes the Instructional Technology Lab for web-based instruction and curriculum evaluation, and the Informatics Lab with more than 180 microcomputers and peripheral equipment. In addition to off-campus remote access to collections and information, the Library maintains 250 print journals that are not available electronically. The library serves as a resource library within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and is a major health science resource library for the State and the Southeast.


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