NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill will collaborate to help tackle some of the state’s toughest challenges, Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a message to campus this week. The commitment to work as a team came after trustees from both schools held a joint meeting last month, essentially agreeing to limit their historical rivalry to athletics. It was the first time the two governing bodies had met jointly, Woodson noted.
Collaboration makes sense, Woodson said, since both universities excel at scholarship, research and economic development. “Combined, these strengths transform our state’s leading research universities into a problem-solving, knowledge-and job-creation powerhouse,” he declared.
Woodson identified three areas for research collaboration between the two institutions.
- Pharmacoengineering: The development of materials and technologies to improve the delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agents.
- Data science: Efforts to effectively and efficiently manage the staggering amount of “big data” available to solve problems.
- Systems biology: Research that may lead to advances in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Leveraging the research muscle of the state’s two flagship institutions for collaboration rather than competition should give researchers considerable clout, the chancellor added.
“If you combine the research expenditures of our two universities, you’d have the second-largest university research enterprise in the United States – behind only Johns Hopkins University,” he said.
Actually, researchers at the two universities have successfully collaborated over the years, most notably in the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.