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Research Initiatives

The UNC System Office is dedicated to advancing research efforts across the University. To these ends, the office takes part in a number of proactive research initiatives to further a variety of research interests. Projects range from collaborative efforts in streamlining the commercialization of new University discoveries to the development and implementation of innovative research administration software.


The UNC System undergraduates interact with faculty members who are nationally and regionally acclaimed in their academic specialties, sometimes collaborating in original research and creative activities that can lead to publications, presentations, new creative works, and other products of value to universities, students, and the communities we serve. Undergraduate research experiences are known to positively affect academic performance, critical thinking, satisfaction, persistence, choice of major and career, and other outcomes.


The UNC System offers a diverse portfolio of graduate programs at master’s, professional, and doctoral levels. For many of our 45,000 graduate students, research experiences are an integral instructional tool for learning the practices and methods of their chosen fields.

UNC Research Opportunities Initiative

The NC General Assembly provided support in the 2014-2015 budget bill (Senate Bill 744) for: “Game-Changing Research (16011) – Funds focused investments in faculty, research and scholarship in six priority areas: advanced manufacturing; data sciences; defense, military, and security; energy; marine and coastal science; and pharmacoengineering. The investment in data sciences shall include data sciences programs at UNC Charlotte.- $3,000,000. Recurring.”

The UNC Research Opportunities Initiative will capitalize on current demonstrated strengths of the UNC System in the sectors targeted in the strategic plan by investing up to $3,000,000 per year in seed funding and programmatic support.

Proposals must:

  • Significantly advance UNC research and scholarship in one or more of the six priority areas.
  • Demonstrate the potential for near-term and long-term impact.
  • Develop programs with high potential to leverage significant internal support and external funding from government, corporate, and foundation partners.
  • Describe a realistic sustainability plan.
  • Proposed activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Support for faculty hires;
  • Shared equipment, core facilities, and lease/upfit of research space (labs, shops, studios).
  • Student (graduate and undergraduate) and postdoctoral support.
  • Industrial research collaborations.
  • Proof-of-concept funding for early data collection.
  • Workshops on emerging multidisciplinary research areas.
  • High-level seminar series to promote networking for innovative project formation.
  • Concept development and white papers for large scale efforts.
  • Travel to establish partnerships and to interact with federal and industry program officers.
  • Identification and recruitment of partners (industrial, academic or government).
  • Support for release time, travel, workshops, and other expenses associated with conceptualization and preparation of large grants.
  • Creation and support of resources such as websites, research collaboration sites, or other social networking tools to facilitate large scale research projects.

    The North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, on the site of the old Pillowtex Corporation manufacturing plant, is a private-public venture created to foster collaboration and further advancements in the fields of biotechnology, nutrition, and health. The campus vision is to become the world’s epicenter of nutrition and disease research. With extensive investment by benefactor, Mr. David H. Murdock and the State of North Carolina, NCRC combines all the right elements for breakthrough science and discovery.

    NCRC offers more than a million square feet of state-of-the-art lab and office space, including the David H. Murdock Research Institute, which houses one of the largest and most advanced scientific equipment collections of its kind anywhere in the world, including state-of-the-art technology in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Here, universities and private businesses test, explore, and advance scientific knowledge across a variety of disciplines.

    Many of the nation’s top research universities are conducting work at NCRC. UNC presence on-campus includes North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Appalachian State University.

    To learn more, visit the North Carolina Research Campus's website.

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