The Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC received the most funds of any private dental school from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for the second year in a row in 2013.
Overall, the school moved up one spot from 2012 to rank seventh among all public and private NIDCR funding recipients with more than $5.2 million in grant funds in 2013.
Professor Yang Chai, associate dean of research and director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, said a key part of the school’s research funding success has been R01 grants, which can help faculty establish a solid research track record and lead to more funding down the road.
“If you look at our history, what has paid off is trying to focus on helping faculty get R01 grants,” Chai said. “They are the building blocks of our success and can demonstrate how innovative and productive a faculty member is. One grant at a time, our overall program becomes more and more successful.”
In today’s tough funding climate, supporting faculty members at all stages of their careers and providing them the tools to be competitive is crucial, Chai explained.
“At the Ostrow School of Dentistry, junior faculty recruits are given a protective environment, allowing them to focus on research progress and develop their reputation,” Chai said. “Also, clinicians receive support for writing training and career development grants, which allows them to take their clinical questions into a basic science setting and start their research career.”
When each faculty member is provided the mentorship and tools needed to compete, from new recruits to tenured faculty with renowned careers, faculty funding will not only be successful but also sustainable, Chai added.
“Our environment has a lot to do with it. We continuously grow, one faculty member at a time, and we help every one of them be successful,” he said. “If everyone is successful, we will be the best.”