Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.87
Liaison Elias Platte-Bermeo
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

USC has several programs to encourage students across academic programs to conduct research that explicitly addresses the concept of sustainability, furthers our understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or has a focus on a particular sustainability challenge.

1) USC Center for Sustainability Solutions: Undergraduate Sustainability Grand Challenge Fellowship Program (USGCF)
The USC Center for Sustainability Solutions (CSS) created the Undergraduate Sustainability Grand Challenge Fellowship (USGCF) program to support, through a competitive process, multidisciplinary research projects focused on sustainability. Funded by the CSS, and open to undergraduate students in all USC majors, the USGCF will contribute to extending to the larger USC community the values espoused by the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Price School of Public Policy, and the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program.

The fellowships will be for a one-year duration, renewable for up to 3 years based on annual proposal submission and evaluation. The maximum annual award will be $5k: there will be $3k allocated for the academic year and $2k for the summer. Proposals may be for the full year, for the academic year, or for summer only. Approximately 10-12 Fellows will be selected, assuming receipt of sufficient proposals of merit. The fellowships will be for a one-year duration, renewable for up to 3 years based on annual proposal submission and evaluation. The maximum annual award will be $5k: there will be $3k allocated for the academic year and $2k for the summer. Proposals may be for the full year, for the academic year, or for summer only. Approximately 10-12 Fellows will be selected, assuming receipt of sufficient proposals of merit.
Website link: https://sustainabilitysolutions.usc.edu/grandchallengefellowship/

2) Zinsmeyer Summer Undergraduate Research Program
The complex environmental challenges of today require a deeper understanding of societal choices and behavior, just as much as they rely on comprehending the natural science principles that underlie them. The USC Wrigley Institute's 2021 Zinsmeyer Summer Program will financially support 3 USC Dornsife undergraduate students to conduct research with USC researchers at this cutting-edge intersection of the social and natural sciences. In doing so, this program furthers our understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems.
Website Link: https://dornsife.usc.edu/wrigley/undergraduateinterns/

3) Summer Environmental Communications Internship Program
Science communication and storytelling is an essential skill in the 21st century. As society grapples with challenges at the intersection of environment and society, science communicators help move research out of the laboratory and into the minds and hearts of decision-makers, the public, and next generation changemakers. The USC Wrigley Institute's 2021 Environmental Communication Summer Program will financially support up to 5 USC undergraduate interns to build skills at this intersection of disciplines, working with USC researchers to amplify their work.
Website Link: https://dornsife.usc.edu/wrigley/undergraduateinterns/

4) Summer REU: Coastal Ocean Processes
This NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program will support eight motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to conduct independent but guided research that focuses on Coastal Ocean Processes during a 9-week program at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island, CA.

The program will provide students with hands-on research experience, training in laboratory and field methodologies, introductory lectures and special seminars in oceanography and marine science, academic and career advisement, professional development workshops, group activities and field trips to explore Catalina Island's unique ecosystems.

In addition to training the next generation of ocean and marine science leaders, teachers and scholars, this program is dedicated to enhancing equity and inclusion of future oceanographic and marine science communities. The program seeks mentors and student participants who can contribute to this mission during and after participation in the program.
Website link: https://dornsife.usc.edu/wrigley/reu/


Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

USC has several programs to encourage academic staff across disciplines to conduct research that explicitly addresses the concept of sustainability, furthers our understanding of the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems, or has a focus on a particular sustainability challenge.

1) National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST)
The National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST) provides national leadership in advancing environmentally sustainable transportation through cutting-edge research, direct policy engagement, and education of future leaders. The goal of the NCST is to produce research that directly supports the efforts of policy makers and professionals to improve the sustainability of the transportation system.
Research project awards have a maximum of $100,000 per year.

More information: https://research.usc.edu/files/2019/02/NCST_RFP-3.pdf

2) MADRES Center for Environmental Health Disparities
The NIH-funded Maternal And Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors Center of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research (MADRES, madres.usc.edu) is supporting one-year research projects that aim to address scientific gaps in the understanding of the unequal burden of adverse environmental health impacts in susceptible communities. The goal of the program is to advance environmental health disparities research while also increasing representation of members of health disparity populations in scientific and community-based research.
The program awards grants up to $50,000 for researchers.

More information: https://madres.usc.edu/pilot-projects-program/

3) Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR)
METRANS emphasizes research directed at solving significant metropolitan transportation problems while contributing to knowledge. Their Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR) research program is organized around four themes: Technology for improved mobility, improving mobility for disadvantaged populations, improving resilience and protecting the environment, and managing mobility in high growth cities and regions.

The challenge for EPA Region 9 (Pacific Southwest Region) is to reduce environmental impacts while meeting the mobility needs of society, fostering healthy communities, and supporting economic growth. Research is needed to address this challenge along three fronts:
- Infrastructure and operations: lifecycle use of materials and practices in roadway construction, maintenance, and operation; assessment of environmental implications of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) strategies;
- Travel demand: effectiveness of strategies for shifting driving to transit, walking, and bicycling; implications of automated cars for land development patterns; role of new mobility services in daily household travel; and
- Vehicle and fuel technologies: assessment of new-generation fuel and vehicle technologies, including battery, plug-in hybrid, roadway-powered, and fuel cell electric vehicles, with respect to lifecycle emissions, private and social costs, consumer behavior, and regulatory and market policies.
Research project awards have a maximum of $100,000 per year.

More information: https://research.usc.edu/files/2019/02/PSR_RFP-3.pdf


Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
Yes

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

USC has been ahead of the curve in recognizing interdisciplinary scholarship in its written policies around tenure and promotion. Dating back to 2013, USC's official policy handbook has recognized collaborative research, digital scholarship, and provided the means for interdisciplinary scholars to have this work reviewed by faculty that can assess research from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Candidates for appointment, promotion, and tenure must demonstrate a program of scholarship independent from their Ph.D. supervisors or post-doctoral mentors, and their record must provide evidence of original intellectual contributions to collaborative projects. The University supports both independent and collaborative work. In some fields collaborative work is the norm. In evaluating a dossier with collaborative work, UCAPT looks to distinguish the intellectual contributions of the candidate.

In some fields, the new faculty member’s early publications will be outgrowths of the Ph.D. dissertation. In such cases, there should be publications that show the candidate’s further intellectual growth.

If the preponderance of a candidate’s research is collaborative, one way that the nature of the candidate’s independent contribution is assessed is through confidential letters from collaborators. The candidate’s personal statement can also play an important role in identifying the nature of the candidate’s independent contribution to joint work. Candidates are encouraged to provide this information in the personal statement if some of their work is collaborative.

It is usually assumed on grants that the intellectual leadership is provided by the principal investigator (or, when explicitly recognized by the granting agency, equal co-principal investigators). The investigator responsible for a separately scored portion of a large grant is typically credited with that portion.

For collaborative work in multidisciplinary teams, a candidate should demonstrate evidence of his or her unique and original contribution to multidisciplinary teams. The National Institutes of Health criteria state that participants in team research can demonstrate this evidence through “independent publication of methodological or seminal contributions to the candidate’s specific research area; where possible, explicit in-print acknowledgment of unique creative contributions in multi-author publications and/or selection for presentation of team findings at national and international scientific conferences; members of research teams should demonstrate peer recognition of their specific contributions and some publications should highlight their distinctive research; creative and unique contributions to team productivity should be documented.” A candidate who conducts collaborative research should make clear in the personal statement and on the CV what his or her specific contributions were to the collaborative work.


Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

USC Libraries houses a Sustainability Research Guide with information on USC's sustainability goals, initiatives, and news. The guide also houses sustainability-related journals, books, and other resources in the following areas:
- Ecology & Conservation
- Climate Change
- Energy
- Food & Agriculture
- Urban Planning
- Business
- Transportation
- Engineering & Technology

For more information, see the Sustainability Research Guide: https://libguides.usc.edu/sustainability


Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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