Each semester, the Center for Excellence in Research under Research and Innovation organizes workshops for USC researchers. These courses are designed to provide faculty, research staff, postdocs, PhD students and graduate students across all fields of study with specialized skills and knowledge in seeking funding from government, foundation, and corporate organizations as well as a variety of other topics. Click on the workshops below to register.

Join our mailing list to receive updates on upcoming CER workshops. 
Do you have an idea for a CER workshop? We’d love to hear from you!

For required investigator training, see the Research Training Finder.

Fall 2022 CER Schedule

Submitting a Limited Submissions Proposal - Video Recording

Have you come across a funding opportunity that says only one or two proposals are allowed per institution, and didn’t know what to do? This course introduces all members of the USC community to “institutionally limited submissions,” what they are, how USC coordinates them, how to submit to one, and what else to expect. This course will also include answers to commonly asked questions about our submission guidelines, tips on improving your submissions, and more to help familiarize you with this kind of funding opportunity.

Michael Yarsky, Program Specialist, Office of Research

Funding from Foundations for STEM - Video Recording

There are thousands of charitable foundations around the world looking to fund research — the challenge is finding the right one for you. Learn from Hossein Pourmand how you can build a meaningful relationship with a foundation and the process, as well as resources available at USC to help you along the way.

Hossein Pourmand, Assistant Vice President of Research Initiatives, University Advancement

Writing Compelling NSF Proposals - Video Recording

Arrrgh! My fantastic proposal was rejected! Why couldn’t those knuckleheads at NSF understand how brilliant my ideas are? Did they even read the proposal? Professor Ronney has served on many NSF panels and has reviewed many well-written (and not-so-well-written) proposals. In this workshop he will help you understand how the review process at NSF and other funding agencies works and provide specific recommendations for increasing your chances of getting funded, including how to anticipate panel dynamics and tailor your proposal accordingly.

Paul Ronney, Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Viterbi

Funding from Foundations for Arts and Humanities - Video Recording

There are thousands of charitable foundations around the world looking to fund research — the challenge is finding the right one for you. Learn from Dana Drew Irwin how you can build a meaningful relationship with a foundation and the process, as well as resources available at USC to help you along the way.

Dana Drew Irwin, Associate Director of Development of Corporate and Foundation Relations, University Advancement

Top Tips for Top-Notch Presentations - Video Recording

Do you have an upcoming presentation and want to knock it out of the park? This workshop will empower you with the essential tactics and perspectives that make outstanding presentations tick. From organizing strategies to anxiety reduction to slide deck design, level up your next presentation with this session’s top tips.

Stephen Lind, Associate Professor of Clinical Business Communication, USC Marshall

Innovation and Collaboration with Miro - Video Recording

Feeling overwhelmed by the scale of a research project? Need to collaborate across disciplines and media? This workshop will introduce you to Miro, a versatile virtual whiteboard that lets you collect questions, compile and annotate sources, and organize notes and drafts in one visually engaging workspace. Whether you’re in the very early stages of conceiving a project or overloaded with links, a planner or a pantser, Miro can help corral your thoughts in a flexible, adaptable way. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about Miro's features; experiment with designing your own project; and find out how Miro could enliven your research and teaching practices.

Maddox K. Pennington (they/them) received their MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University and currently teaches in the Dornsife College Writing Program. Their courses typically include multimodal assignments on empathy, monsters, and topics from Native, Disability, and Queer Studies. Their debut bibliomemoir, A Girl Walks Into a Book: What the Brontes Taught Me About Life, Love, and Women’s Work, was released May 2017. They’ve performed comedy and storytelling at DC Nerd Night, FemX at WIT, Improbable Comedy, Health’s Angels and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Previous writing has appeared on Electric Literature, The Toast, and The American Scholar online. Their play Love Chicken had an award-winning world premiere at the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival, and an upcoming play, about the arrival of Okie Cherokees in 1920s Los Angeles, is in development with the Moving Arts MADLab First Look festival.

Securing Corporate Funding for Research

In 2016, businesses provided $4.2 billion in academic research funding, largely directed toward life sciences and engineering. Hossein Pourmand will discuss the commercialization process and how the University Advancement can help you find a partner, negotiate a license, and market your product.

Hossein Pourmand, Assistant Vice President of Research Initiatives
University Advancement

Introduction to Advanced Research Computing

Nearly all scientific and engineering disciplines confront challenges in dealing with a vast amount of data or modeling complex processes across many scales. BD Kim will cover high-performance computing, cloud solutions, data workflow management, and other research computing related topics.

BD Kim, Associate Chief Research Information Officer, Center for Advanced Research Computing

Developing a Successful Mission Agency Grant

There are many Federal Agencies that support University Research — which ones are best for you? The workshop objectives are to help an investigator: identify the pertinent agencies and programs, contact the appropriate program officers, develop a winning proposal (it is a bit different for each agency), and work with agency officials to get the proposal funded. The focus is on agencies that fund science and engineering other than NSF and NIH, but those two are used to provide comparisons.

James Murday, Director Of Physical Sciences, Office of Research Advancement

USC Awards to Fund Your Research

Want to learn more about some of the internal funding opportunities available at USC? We’ll review the internal grant programs supporting research, scholarship and technology available at the Office of Research, SC CTSI and USC Stevens, as well as give you guidelines and tips on how to ensure your proposal is a success.

Silvia Da Costa, Director, Office of Research Initiatives and Facilities
Megan Gutierrez, Program Specialist, Clinical Translational Science Institute
Donaldson Santos, Director of Licensing, USC Stevens Center for Innovation

Proposal Review Service​

The Center for Excellence in Research also offers a peer-to-peer proposal review service for applications to external funding agencies. Email your near-final proposal draft to, along with the link to the specific program announcement to which you are applying. Reviewers may be USC or non-USC faculty.

Investigators should contact our office roughly four weeks in advance of the proposal due date to allow for sufficient time to review and provide applicants with feedback.