University of North Carolina campuses are home to world-class researchers in an array of disciplines.  There are many areas where, working with businesses, foundations, nonprofits, and others, the University can make a real difference. The 2014 General Assembly made the legislature’s first financial investment in the University’s five-year strategic plan (“Our Time, Our Future”), providing a $3-million recurring appropriation for what it called “Game-Changing Research.”  The funds will enable 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 UNC Research Opportunities Initiative (ROI) was developed to capitalize on this investment and UNC’s demonstrated strengths in these critical areas, as outlined in “Our Time, Our Future.” This new pool of funding will be invested through UNC ROI, in time-limited seed funding and programmatic support.

University research faculty are invited to submit pre-proposals and proposals for research-related programs and projects for investment consideration. Two to four proposals will be funded in the first round. Full proposals will be invited from the pool of pre-proposals that:

  • Significantly advance UNC research and scholarship in one or more of the areas above.
  • 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.

Submit a pre-proposal/proposal.

Questions? Contact Dr. Christopher Brown | Vice President for Research and Graduate Education, UNC | (919) 962-4619


UNC Strategic Plan Priority Areas

Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing approaches and techniques can apply to cutting-edge technical fields such as aerospace, nanotechnology and biopharmaceuticals as well as traditional industries such as furniture, textiles and motor vehicles, all of which are a part of the NC manufacturing economy. Advanced manufacturing integrates information technology, design methodology, rapid prototyping, automation, computation, software, sensing, networking and new materials in the production of products, as well as the systems that support and enable them.

Coastal and Marine Science

Coastal and marine-related activities are important to the state’s economy, both in traditional sectors (eg. Tourism, fisheries, hazard resilience, and marine heritage), and in emerging areas (eg. ocean energy and marine biotechnology). It is incumbent on UNC to be at the forefront of understanding our coast.

Data Science

The volume of data available for making decisions has increased exponentially over the past ten years, creating a corresponding need to make sense of and take advantage of vast data to inform decision-making in fields including scientific research, homeland security, defense, energy management and many more. UNC has great strengths in big data that, if collectively harnessed, can provide national leadership in this important sector.

Defense, Military and Security

NC has the third-largest military population in the United States and is home to more than half of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. UNC’s distinct talents and cutting-edge technology coupled with strong relationships with these operational end users—and with the U.S. Army Research Office in Research Triangle Park—offer a distinct advantage: face-to-face interactions with military customers, combat developers and program managers to better understand DOD and Homeland Security research and development needs, programs and processes. 


Recognizing that most sources of easily accessible energy are limited and many are non-renewable, UNC must be at the forefront in making discoveries that will fuel our state and the work in the future, and we have a robust foundation on which to build. Investment in a comprehensive effort to take full advantage of the wide array of energy research, development, outreach and training provided by these and other programs in collaboration with both private and nonprofit organization will yield scientific advances in the field and economic advances for the state.


The focus of this investment will be on building collaborations between UNC-Chapel Hill’s School Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and College of Arts and Sciences, and NC State’s Colleges of Engineering, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Science, and Veterinary Medicine, as well as with private companies and nonprofits.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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