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The NC General Assembly authorized recurring support for the UNC ROI in the 2014-2015 budget bill (Senate Bill 744). The UNC ROI capitalizes on current demonstrated strengths of UNC in the targeted sectors by investing up to $3,000,000 per year in seed funding and programmatic support. These funds can be used to support faculty, research and scholarship in six priority areas: advanced manufacturing; data sciences; defense, military, and security; energy; marine and coastal science; and pharmacoengineering.

Complete request for applications for the 2017-2018 proposal period.

Additional FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Do UNC institutions have to work together on a proposal?

Working together on a proposal is not required, but desired.

If institutions work together, do they submit separate proposals?

No, a single proposal is required for the institutions, and one university has to be the lead on the project.

If money is awarded to a joint team proposal, can teams have separate contracts for money distribution and budgeting?

Yes, the UNC System Office will distribute funds directly to the participating campuses. Note that only one proposal is required.

When can you submit a full proposal?

You may submit a full proposal if you are invited to do so by UNC System Office. These invitations will come from a review of the pre-proposals.

Does the grant allow faculty support?

Money can be used for temporary faculty salary support, start-up funding or other forms of support.

Can institutions receive funding from international companies or sponsors?

Yes, you are able to receive outside support. Matching funds are not required, but are allowed.

Can UNC teams partner with collaborators outside the UNC system?

Yes, but UNC ROI money cannot flow to anyone outside the UNC system.

Can the military be a partner?

Yes, the military can be a partner, but no funds may flow to them.

Can projects focus on more than one of the listed fields?


Is economic impact a required aspect of the proposed work?

No, it is not required but is desirable.

To what degree is commercialization integral to the proposal?

It is a positive attribute in a proposal. It is not a requirement.

Can funding support students?

The purpose of this funding is not student support per se, but if students are part of the overall research project they can be supported. This funding is not intended for the startup of new degree programs. Funding may support student wages but may not pay for tuition.

Are centers and institutes eligible to submit a proposal?

Yes, through the appropriate university channels.

Can one person be listed as the PI on multiple proposals? Can one person be listed as co-investigator/key personnel on multiple proposals?

We strongly encourage faculty to be identified as the lead PI for only a single proposal, however faculty may be identified a co-investigator on multiple proposals.

How many pre-proposals may each institution to submit?

There is no limit on how many pre-proposals an institution can submit. However, all pre-proposals must be prioritized and submitted by the Chief Research Officer of the primary institution (home campus of the principal investigator).

Will the committee link similar pre-proposals between two universities?

The UNC System Office may do this if the pre-proposals are similar.

Will the topics be the same the next time an ROI RFP is released?

We anticipate that they will be the same.

Is there any prioritization among the six listed project areas?

No, there is not.

Is there a format for the budget on the pre-proposal? Can it be on a standard federal form?

There is no format required for the pre-proposal budget and justification. It only needs to fit within the one page length. For invited proposals, there will be a required format.

When do funds need to be spent in the first year?

Funding are provided to the campus in the form of a transfer of state appropriation/state budget. Funds must be fully spent within the year of award and cannot be carried forward to a subsequent state fiscal year.

Is there a specific UNC data management plan?

No there is not, but if the future intention is to pursue federal funding from an agency that does require a DMP, it is advisable to structure the work to accommodate one.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?

Dr. Joe Whitehead, Senior Research Advisory,


Investigators from any constituent institution in the UNC system are eligible to apply. Collaboration between institutions is strongly encouraged but is not required.

Due Dates:

We are pleased to announce a new request for proposals for FY19 (2017-2018 competition). Important dates are listed below:

  • February 23, 2018: Solicitation release
  • March 2, 2018, 9:30 am, Q&A teleconference session. Dial-in number: (701) 801-1230, Access code: 600444 or join the online meeting at, online meeting ID: smsmith
  • March 23, 2018: Pre-proposals due
  • April 27, 2018: Pre-proposal decision
  • May 25, 2018: Proposals due
  • August 1, 2018: Earliest funding start

Application Information