The UNC General Administration has awarded grants totaling $1.7 million to support faculty research in areas of strategic importance to the state, including a $1.6 million and a $50,000 to the Lee College of Engineering.
The largest of the UNC Research Opportunities Initiative grants will support the project “Advancing the Science and Practice of Metal-based Additive Manufacturing,” led by Dr.Christopher Evans, professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science and director of UNC Charlotte’s Center for Precision Metrology. This project received $1,628,880 in funding.
Researchers from N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University will partner on this project, which “will bring together experts across North Carolina to develop new metal-based manufacturing methods with a goal of establishing North Carolina as the pre-eminent U.S. center of expertise for these processes.”
The project “North Carolina Consortium for Manufacturing Data Science,” led by Dr. Tony Schmitz, professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science, received a $50,000 planning grant to “establish a multi-university/industry consortium for optimizing manufacturing methods using data science tools.” UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University researchers will partner on this project.
UNC ROI grants are awarded through a competitive process and selected through a rigorous review process led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This marks the second round of grant awards under UNC ROI, funded by a recurring $3 million annual appropriation from the 2014 General Assembly. First-round awardees have leveraged the $6 million invested to date to attract $7.5 million in additional external grants. They also have filed 11 patent applications and started two companies.
Priority research areas eligible for UNC ROI funding include advanced manufacturing; coastal and marine science; defense, military and security; pharmacoengineering; energy; and data sciences