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Office of Research Development

Scientific Environment

MUSC Overview

Founded in 1824 as the first school of medicine in the southeastern U.S., the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is now the core of the state’s largest medical complex and the largest employer in the metropolitan Charleston area with more than 11,000 employees. A freestanding academic health center, MUSC is the only tertiary/quaternary care referral center in South Carolina for a statewide population of about 4.7 million people.

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. The Dean of the College of Medicine serves as Vice President for Medical Affairs. The Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Center serves as Vice President for Clinical Operations. These dual appointments ensure that strategic planning, implementation and oversight are closely and continuously coordinated to provide excellent education, research and patient care in a first-rate academic health center. 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 76 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); and the new Drug Discovery and Bioengineering Buildings (2011). As key components of the James C. Clyburn Research Center at MUSC, these two newest buildings add ~220,000 ft2 for translational research and research training to generate molecular targets, lead compounds, tissue engineering constructs, novel devices and genomic technologies.

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 based on research discoveries and advances in health care.

MUSC’s major components are the MUSC Medical Center and six colleges: Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, and Dental Medicine. The Medical University of South Carolina 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.

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 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 on 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. In August 2006, the Duke Endowment made a $21 million grant to HSSC to help bring about transformational changes in health sciences/services research, and the foundation awarded $11 million in 2011 for the next phrase of program development.

Research at MUSC

MUSC has a substantial research enterprise with 1242 extramural awards totaling more than $232 million in FY2012. The Chronicle of Higher Education's 2011-12 Almanac Issue recognized MUSC as one of the top 10 institutions with the “biggest gains in federal funds for research and development in science and engineering, adjusted for inflation, 1999-2009”. Federal funding constitutes about 67% of extramural support, with the National Institutes of Health as the primary funding agency. MUSC's ranking in R&D expenditures at universities and colleges increased from 94th in FY08 to 87th in FY09 [NSF 11-313, July 2011].

The South Carolina SmartState™ Program was created by the South Carolina legislature in 2002 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. To date, 49 Centers have been created and 38 SmartState Endowed Chairs have been appointed to lead the centers. 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, this has resulted in initiating 19 SmartState™ Centers at MUSC, bringing the total of MUSC endowed chairs and named professorships to 41 (20 appointed as of January 2013). The Department of Pediatrics is currently recruiting for one of these endowed chairs for a basic researcher in pediatric neurodegenerative diseases. 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. For FY 2012, the Medical University received more than $76.7 million in new gifts, pledges and pledge payments.

Research Training

MUSC offers an outstanding environment for training. The university ranks in the top quartile of domestic educational institutions in number of NIH grants for research training and education. NIH FY2012 award data include 14 NRSA institutional training grants (T32s, T35s, TL1), 28 NRSA individual fellowships (F30s, F31s, F32s), 7 research education grants (R25s), and 24 individual and 2 institutional career development awards (Ks). MUSC has four dual degree programs: the NIGMS-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD), the NIDCR-funded Dental Scientist Training Program (DMD/PhD), and PharmD/PhD and PharmD/MBA programs, plus a well-subscribed Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) program that was initiated with K30 support. In July 2009, MUSC received an NIH Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) award totaling $20 million to support the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute that provides research infrastructure and additional training opportunities at the intersection of basic, clinical and community health sciences. Four MUSC training programs focus specifically on diversity in the biomedical sciences: an NIGMS-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) that supports doctoral training for minorities; two NHLBI R25 grants for short-term research training for minority students; and an NIGMS K12 award for postdoctoral research training and teaching in collaboration with Claflin University, a historically black university in Orangeburg, SC.

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, administers the program of intramural research grants, 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.

Foundation for Research Development

The MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) is an affiliated, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, established in 1995 to manage technology transfer and private sector research relationships for MUSC. MUSC investigators present approximately 50 new invention disclosures per year. On behalf of MUSC and its investigators, FRD has filed 119 US patent applications that cover new subject matter, and received 27 US patents since FY 2005. In addition, FRD has negotiated 23 options, 22 exclusive license agreements, and 7 non-exclusive license agreements. FRD has been involved with 20 start-up companies utilizing 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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