December 20, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Legislative Grant Program Invests in UNC Research to Shape State’s Economic Future
CHAPEL HILL -- The multi-campus University of North Carolina today announced grant awards totaling more than $3.8 million to support 18 faculty research efforts that hold strong economic development potential and could also provide real solutions to problems facing the state and lead to creation of new jobs. Faculty from 13 UNC campuses will work collaboratively on these projects.
The awards allocate $3 million appropriated by the NC General Assembly earlier this year for University-based research on North Carolina’s economic future, along with other University funds, to a series of proposals that will create new ideas and jobs in biotechnology, nanotechnology, optics, health care, natural products, environmental science, and marine science.
Funded projects were selected from 35 proposals submitted by 13 campuses, and leverage more than $4.4 million in private and federal funding. The nine “lead” campuses receiving grant awards include Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, NC A&T State University, NC Central University, NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, and UNC Wilmington. Faculty at UNC Asheville and Western Carolina University, as well as several community colleges and private universities, will also play key roles.
The awards coincide with the completion of a months-long series of forums asking people across the state what they believe they need from their public University over the next 20 years. Earlier this month, the UNC Tomorrow Commission released a series of draft recommendations that included strong support for more direct University involvement in shaping the state’s economic future.
“The University is committed to playing a critical role in helping to imagine and shape the state’s economy,” said Steve Leath, UNC Vice President for Research. “These grants will help us, in collaboration with local and state agencies and private businesses, to do the kind of research that will improve existing products and processes and create new innovations that will fuel our future.”
The grants include funding to improve the efficient development and use of biofuels through work being conducted by ASU, NCA&T, and NC State. Another pair of projects will fund research at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNCG, and NC State targeted at improving strategic water resource management and protection of water quality. Other research projects will focus on the economic impact rising sea levels, novel uses of traditional crops, the emerging field of nanotextiles, and the production of natural products.
A full list of the grant awards with project descriptions and project contact information follows.
Appalachian State University
Improving Snowfall Forecasts in Western NC $84,740
This project will improve weather forecasting, increasing mountain communities' ability to protect public safety and benefiting the ski industry. [Collaborating partners: NCSU, UNCA]
Contact: Dr. L. Baker Perry, 828-262-3000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Optimization of NC Biodiesel Production through Data Regulated Processing of Variable Alternative Feedstocks $275,000
This multidisciplinary team will examine the biodiesel industry from the production perspective, providing information needed to ensure high-quality fuel and byproducts. [Collaborating partners: NCSU, Foothills Bio Energies, Catawba EcoComplex]
Contact: Dr. Jeff Ramsdell, 828-262-7243, email@example.com
East Carolina University
NC Coastal Hazards: Economic Implications of Severe Storms and Sea Level Rise $288,694
This research will provide much-needed information to coastal stakeholders and state policy makers about coastal NC’s vulnerability to severe disasters and their economic impact.
Contact: Dr. Steven Culver, 252-328-6360, firstname.lastname@example.org
NC A&T State University
Economic and Environmental Impacts of the Production of Crop Residues as Bioenergy Feedstocks $132,739
Researchers will explore the correlation between the costs of transporting crop residue for biofuel processing and the associated environmental impact.
Contact: Dr. Mark Burkey, 336-334-7744, email@example.com
NC Central University
Development of High-Selectivity High-Sensitivity Biochemical Sensor at the Center for Nanotechnology Devices at NCCU $207,450
This inter-institutional team will develop a prototype biochemical sensor, miniaturized to chip scale. [Collaborating partners: NCSU, UNC-CH, Durham Tech., Wake Tech, Shaw University]
Contact: Dr. Branislav Vlahovic, 919-530-7253, firstname.lastname@example.org
NC State University
Development and Application of Novel, Non-Toxic, Anti-Biofilm Agents $300,000
This work will further develop various compounds directed at remediating the fouling of ship hulls, treating human disease such as cystic fibrosis, and reducing infections in hospitals and other medical settings.
Contact: Dr. John Cavanagh, 919-513-4349, email@example.com
Nano-Textile Technology $207,668
This multidisciplinary team is working at the juncture of the textiles and nanotechnology fields. [Collaborating partners: ASU, ECU, NCA&T, UNC-CH]
Contact: Dr. Gregory Parsons, 919-515-7553, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enhancing Competitiveness of NC Biodiesel Producers through Value-Added Enxymatic Process of Waste Glycerol and Low-Value Oils $275,000
Researchers will convert glycerol, a by-product of biodiesel production, to glycerol carbonate, a versatile, high-value chemical. [Collaborating partners: ASU, Piedmont Biofuels, Foothills Bio-energies LLC]
Contact: Dr. Steven Peretti, 919-515-6397, email@example.com
Promoting NC Economic Development through Strategic Water Resource Management $245,650
This project will focus on the application of research and expertise for regional water resource management, a matter of timely importance to the state.
Contact: Dr. Gregory Characklis, 919-843-5545, firstname.lastname@example.org
Establishing a Pipeline Program to Encourage Undergraduate Students at NC A&T and NCCU to Pursue Careers in Clinical Translations Research $210,000
This program aims to increase diversity among clinical investigators and clinical personnel. [Collaborating partners: NCA&T,NCCU]
Contact: Dr. Margaret Dardess, 919-966-8991, email@example.com
Instability: A Family of Medical Devices for the Continuous Evaluation of Mortality Risk in Critically Ill and Hospitalized Pediatric Patients $188,912
This project will develop and refine multi-functional biomedical devices for pediatric patients. [Collaborating partner: REALTROMINS]
Contact: Dr. Keith Kocis, 919-966-4601, firstname.lastname@example.org
Transgenic Soybeans Expressing a Vaccine for Swine $100,384
This project focuses on developing vaccines for pigs from soy beans. [Collaborating partner: NCSU]
Contact: Dr. Ken Bost, 704-687-8677, email@example.com
Metamaterial-based Microwave and Optical Devices: A NC Foundry for Research, Design and Fabrication of Next Generation Electromagnetic Structures $185,400
This research team will design and fabricate devices to strengthen wireless signals and enhance sensors. [Collaborating partners: WCU, Clemson University]
Contact: Dr. Mike Fiddy, 704-687-8594, firstname.lastname@example.org
Production of Echinacea with Optimal Bioactivity: Improving Market Value of a NC Crop $363,846
Researchers will identify anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in echinacea and then develop growing strategies to optimize those properties. [Collaborating partners: UNCA, NCSU, Gaia Herbs]
Contact: Dr. Nadja Cech, 336-334-3017, email@example.com
Rapid Assessment of Food Allergens and Allergy Biomarkers $200,000
Researchers will develop a medical device to detect human allergens using saliva samples and identify allergens in consumable food products. [Collaborating partners: NCA&T, LeBauer Health Care]
Contact: Dr. Yousef Haik, 336-334-4625, firstname.lastname@example.org
Integration of Novel Technologies for Safeguarding Potable Water Supplies $292,010
This project will integrate two water-monitoring capabilities for municipal water supplies and provide early warning systems related to water quality. [Collaborating partner: NCSU]
Contact: Dr. Parke Rublee, 336-256-0067, email@example.com
Microbial Anti-Oxidants from Swine Waste $116,507
Research will explore new approaches for using hog waste to create economically viable, valued-added products. [Collaborating partners: NCSU, Duke University]
Contact: Dr. Lawrence Cahoon, 910-962-3706, firstname.lastname@example.org
Initiation of an Inter-institutional Environmental Observation Network System for NC (NC-EONS) $200,000
This multi-institutional team will develop and deploy an environmental monitoring platform in the southern Pamlico Sound. [Collaborating partners: ECU, NCSU, UNC-CH, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, NC Division of Marine Fisheries]
Contact: Dr. Lynn Leonard, 910-962-2338, email@example.com