UNC ROI Research Opportunities Initiative

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Investing in North Carolina’s research enterprise where
it starts.

ROI Objective

The UNC Research Opportunities Initiative provides targeted funding for innovative and potentially game-changing research projects. These projects have the potential to promote economic development and position North Carolina as a leader in strategically important research areas. The ROI represents North Carolina’s first financial investment in the UNC system’s five-year strategic plan.

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2014-2015 Awardees

Designing Organic Electronics

Carbon Based Material

Carbon-based materials inspire the next generation of electronics

  • NC Carbon Materials Initiative: Materials Design, Processing, and Manufacturing
  • $2,829,994
  • Harald Ade, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Physics, NCSU

Building Big Data

Hand and Touch Screen

Cloud-based computing infrastructure comes to NC

  • North Carolina Data Science and Business Analytics Initiative: Using Analytics for Risk Mitigation
  • $2,168,379
  • Mirsad Hadzikadic, PhD, Director of UNC Charlotte’s Complex Systems Institute

Engineering Advanced Medical Treatments


Novel therapeutics emerge from an engineering approach to treating cancer and heart disease

  • Pharmacoengineering: Integrating Engineering with Pharmaceutical Sciences to Improve Delivery of Therapeutics
  • $1,830,000
  • Michael Jay, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Molecular Pharmaceutics, UNC-CH
  • Frances Ligler, D.Phil., D.Sc., Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, NC State University

Harvesting Clean Energy


New technology produces clean energy from the interactions between fresh and salt water

  • Salinity Gradient Energy: An Inexhaustible Clean Energy Resource for North Carolina
  • $997,966
  • Douglas F. Call, PhD, Assistant Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, NC State University
  • Orlando Coronell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, UNC-CH

Ensuring Safe Seafood


A diagnostic test rapidly detects harmful contaminants

  • Revolutionizing and Commercializing Rapid Molecular Diagnostics for Viral and Bacterial Pathogen Quantification in Marine Waters and Seafood
  • $684,805
  • Rachel Noble, PhD, Professor of Marine Sciences, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Producing High-Volume Vaccines


An algae-based method promises to speed the production of therapeutics and vaccines

  • Bioengineering Microalgae for Large-Scale Production of Therapeutic Antibodies Against Ebola, West Nile Virus, and Rabies
  • $600,000
  • TinChung Leung, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology at North Carolina Central University