Executive Summary / Highlights
Our office focuses on building excellence in research through supporting the recruitment of excellent faculty and students, facilitating faculty development in research/scholarship, improving infrastructure and processes, translating research into new products and companies, and fostering partnerships and collaborations. This year NC State faculty and research administrators submitted 3,425 proposals valued at $1.31B in total funding requests. NC State received $405M in extramural research awards, a historical high, to be dispersed over multiple years to 2,830 projects. The Proposal Development Unit (PDU) supported the development and submission of 44 large-scale, interdisciplinary team proposals that resulted in $29.9M in awards with another $102.3M requested still pending. Since 2008, NC State total research awards have increased by 89.7%.
All time records were also achieved in technology commercialization and innovation with 169 licenses and options agreements executed and 15 new start up companies launched. All of this was achieved while NC State continued to strengthen its partnerships with the public, government, and private sectors. This year Centennial Campus Partners opened 13 new offices bringing the total number of Partner employees on campus to 4610, a 29% increase from last year. The Office of Partnerships and Economic Development (OPED) facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NC State and the City of Raleigh to collaborate on smart city initiatives. OPED also assisted in 60 North Carolina economic development projects, an increase of 20% from the previous year.
Success of Our Students
Strategic Plan: Enhance the success of our students through educational innovation.
ORIED enhances the education of undergraduate and graduate students by providing access to real-world research problems. In FY 2016, 171 undergraduate and graduate students participated in research assistantships at one of ORIED’s core centers and institutes.
In addition, many of the units within ORIED employ student workers to give them hands-on experience in supporting the research enterprise at NC State.
K-12 Digital Learning Plan
In 2016, researchers, faculty and graduate students at the Friday Institute completed the North Carolina K-12 Digital Learning Plan, which focuses on five elements of digital learning: Innovative Funding Streams and Policy, Digital Content, Human Capacity, and Network Infrastructure. Now being implemented by the state with an annual investment of $4M, the NC Digital Learning Plan will accelerate the State’s progress in providing the personalized, digital-age education that K-12 students need to be successful in college, in careers, and as engaged citizens.
NC State’s Data Science Initiative (DSI) coordinated and promoted efforts across campus and across the UNC system (with UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte) to provide graduate and undergraduate education in data science. In partnership with the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science and the National Consortium for Data Science, DSI created a series of one- and two-day classes for faculty, students, staff, and researchers to enhance their skills in data analytics. The week-long series will be offered in early FY2017 prior to the start of the fall semester.
ORIED contributed $100k to the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Undergraduate Research Awards (URAs) program. ORIED’s financial contribution provides support to the faculty who mentor undergraduates, for student travel and the coordination of 22 Summer Research Experience Programs (REUs).
Centennial Campus Career Fair
Continued for the second year, the Centennial Campus Career Fair which provides a platform for our Centennial Campus Partners to market their internship and full-time job openings to NC State students
Scholarship and Research
Strategic Plan: Enhance scholarship and research by investing in faculty and infrastructure.
This year the Research Development Office (RDO) announced over 300 funding opportunities, assisted in over 9 internal limited submission competitions, and managed 3 internal seed-funding programs.
The Research Innovation Seed Funding (RISF) program has grown steadily in popularity, matching the previous year in all-time high proposal submissions. In the program’s 6th year, and in partnership with the Kenan Institute, the RISF program awarded $269K to 12 projects supporting 18 faculty members, 2 postdocs, and 10 graduate students. ORIED also returned $117K to the colleges to fund the Faculty Research and Professional Development Program (FRPD). ORIED initiated the Game-Changing Research Incentive Program (GRIP), a large-scale seed-funding program ($2.3MM to be distributed over 3 years), to incentivize visionary research projects that will result in more extramural funding, superior interdisciplinary graduate education and training, and have a greater societal impact. ORIED partnered with RTI International and the Kenan Institute to develop the full incentive program. The first call for pre-proposals was held in spring 2016, with the final decisions to be made in the fall.
The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund, managed by the OTT, has awarded $1.9M to 28 projects in the past six years, which has resulted in 10 startup companies launched, 14 licenses and option agreements, $983K in licensing revenue, and $9.9M in follow-up external funding to support further development.
Training for Startups
OTT also collaborated with the Poole College of Management to provide an Investor Ready Business Plan course targeted toward emerging start-up companies. The class was launched in January with an initial enrollment of 14 company teams. Independently, OTT launched 2 additional intellectual property educational events: an all-day “Startup Boot Camp” and a “Lunch and Learn” program. The first Lunch and Learn, held in spring 2016, provided an overview of the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund program. The second, scheduled for fall 2016, will focus on Tangible Property Licensing & Material Transfer Agreements. Fifteen faculty members attended the Startup Boot Camp event and the next event is planned for spring of 2017.
Research Administration/Compliance Improvements
ORIED launched the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) project to identify a new state-of-the-art eRA system to streamline research activities across the University. The first phase of the eRA project was to engage Attain, LLC to evaluate NC State’s existing research administration systems and related business processes; identify gaps, comment on service levels and user experiences; and benchmark the existing systems against popular vendor-provided systems. Based on Attain’s assessment a Steering Team was appointed and charged to see the project through to the anticipated launch in January 2018.
SPARCS implemented a new vendor-based Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) electronic protocol submission and animal subject inventory system, trained 80+ faculty and staff on its use, and hired a full-time IACUC Compliance Assistant to provide support. SPARCS also hired a full-time Export Control Compliance Administrator to work directly with faculty and administrators to identify and manage risks associated with export controlled technology and equipment.
Strategic Plan: Enhance interdisciplinary scholarship to address the grand challenges of society
GRIP, the large-scale seed-funding program mentioned previously, aims to stimulate growth of interdisciplinary research at NC State while targeting grand research challenges. The program received 59 preliminary proposals from 10 colleges and 52 departments. Over 300 members of NC State faculty were involved in a proposal (~20%) and half of the proposal teams were collaborations with RTI International. The 10 pre-proposals selected to move forward addressed important societal challenges in the areas of energy, water, safety, education, climate, and data science.
ORIED supported the submission of 3 National Network for Manufacturing Institute (NNMI) proposals in Bioenergy/bioprocessing, Fibers/Textiles, and Smart Manufacturing/Clean Tech and partnered with UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University on the submission of a pre-proposal for a Regenerative Medicine NNMI.
The PDU assisted in 34 interdisciplinary proposals and 11 workshops and site visits. In all, over 500 faculty/staff were involved in PDU-supported proposals submitted this year, including 185 PIs/Co-PIs.
Strategic Plan: Enhance organizational excellence by creating a culture of constant improvement.
Fiscal year 2016 was another successful year for ORIED with a record-breaking number of proposals submitted, awards received and licenses and options executed.
FY2016 closed with $349M in sponsored program awards, a record high, and a 13% increase over the previous year. As of July 1, 2016, over 2,600 sponsored projects were active, many spanning multi-years, representing over $1B in total funding. Thirty-four of the proposal submissions were large-scale projects, assisted by the PDU, requesting $425M in research funds, an increase of 190% over FY2015 requests. Also, for the third year in a row, faculty research proposals totaled over $1B dollars. <chart>
Faculty and researchers continued to submit high volumes of invention disclosures and OTT executed a record 160 licenses and options with corporate partners. OTT increased its effort to match technologies with companies by utilizing the technology-marketing web portal, Nouvant. OTT created 95 marketing profiles for new NC State technologies that can be viewed through…? <chart>
In FY2016 ORIED hired Huron Consulting group to examine sponsored programs administration at NC State. The Huron report yielded recommendations in proposal management, award set-up, sub-awards and communications that will drive working groups within SPARCS, Contracts and Grants, and college research offices. The recommendations from the Huron report will be integrated into the eRA project.
In November 2015, SPARCS established an SOP for Testing Service Agreements (TSAs) and Fabrication Service Agreements (FSAs). Previously a function of the college research offices, the change highlighted previously hidden issues related to acceptance of terms unfavorable to the university and unified the process. The process also heavily burdened the workload of the SPARCS staff, increasing the turnaround time for these activities. The process will be evaluated to determine the benefits and costs of the change.
Partnership Strength Score
This fiscal year PED developed a Partnership Strength Score and associated reports for prospects and partners. The goal is to better assess and communicate the strength and impact of NC State’s industry partnerships. PED also funded a project with Computer Science to develop a data-driven prospecting tool to identify prospects for future partnerships with NC State.
Local and Global Engagement
Strategic Plan: Enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships.
The Federal Relations office worked with interested faculty to advise them in pursuing Department of Defense (DOD) research. In support of this effort, the office hosted Bill Regli, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) Science Advisors and helped faculty connect with program managers at Army Research Office (ARO), ONR and DARPA.
Industry and Government Partnerships
NC State has built a reputation on the ability to build strategic partnerships with industry, government and non-profit. These partnerships have been key to ORIED’s success in winning federally funded collaborative institutes and engineering research centers.
Centennial Campus is the gold standard for university research parks, which means we host a number of universities and other visitors from around the world who want to learn about our model. On average, we host two visiting groups per month.
ORIED continued to develop strategic partnerships through the office of Partnerships and Economic Development (PED) with support from Sponsored Programs and Regulatory Compliance Services (SPARCS). These offices facilitated the signing of 6 new master research agreements (MRAs) with Avintiv, BASF, Glen Raven, LexisNexis, Lubrizol, and Positive Energies for a total of 10 managed MRAs. These 10 managed MRAs have resulted in 26 patents.
PED’s Industry Alliances manages 22 research partnerships, representing $8.4MM in new sponsored research activity in FY 2016. In addition, SPARCS established significant contractual relationships with Caterpillar, Novozymes, and Battelle Energy Alliance.
Centennial Campus welcomed 10 new partners including Alkemere, Allasso Industries, Cloudbees, Eva Garland Consulting, IBM, i2m, Liaison Technologies, Locus Biosciences, Merck, and MS Consultants, bringing the total number of Centennial Campus Partners to 72, employing more than 3,200 people. PED also worked 50 distinct new and expanding economic development projects in areas throughout North Carolina and continues to be a valuable asset to the state of North Carolina.
This year ORIED continued to develop a strategic partnership with RTI through the RTI scholars program and collaboration on GRIP. ORIED leadership meets regularly with RTI leadership to continue to identify opportunities for increased collaboration. ORIED also partnered in the submission of a pre-proposal to the DOD for an NNMI on Regenerative Medicine with UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.
PED continued to develop partnerships with industry, government and non-profits. This year PED partnered with the City of Raleigh, submitting a joint grant application to the US DOT to develop advanced transportation systems initiatives (EcoPRT). PED also partnered with Lulu Games, a competition for student entrepreneurs, to create a Daugherty Endowment track aimed toward faculty start-up companies.
Centennial Campus Partnership signed leases with Merck and IBM to establish the companies’ corporate innovation centers on campus. This is a result of PED’s strategy to establish Centennial Campus as a hub for corporate innovation centers. Merck and IBM join Eastman, ABB, Mann+Hummel and HanesBrands for a total of 6 corporate innovation centers on Centennial Campus.
Wolfpack Investor Network
OTT laid the groundwork for the Wolfpack Investor Network (WIN) to connect alumni investors with promising campus start-ups. Set to launch this fall, WIN will provide a new avenue for engaging the enthusiasm, resources and expertise of this important group of alumni. OTT worked with Advancement, Finance, the Kenan Institute, the Office of General Counsel, the Entrepreneurship Initiative, Poole College of Management, and various NC State alumni investors, as well as collaborators from Duke and UNC Chapel Hill to make this project come to fruition. It has already yielded returns by strengthening OTT’s connections with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Industry Partnerships Playbook
PED continued to develop the “Industry Partnerships Playbook”. These documents expedite and enable increased industry-sponsored research. The Playbook represents a commitment to collaboration between the Office of Partnerships and Economic Development, SPARCS, OTT and General Counsel to increase industry sponsored research.
Training Resources for Faculty and Staff
ORIED focused on developing education and training resources to increase the competitiveness of proposals submitted by NC State. The PDU organized several training sessions, which were attended by over 250 faculty members. SPARCS revived research education for staff; conducted 17 face-to-face classes and Q&A sessions; and hosted 14 NCURA Lifecycle of the Award webinars.
The PDU created the Proposal Development Network (PDN) to connect proposal developers and other proposal support staff across campus to foster collaborations involving multiple departments and/or colleges. The group has 40 members and meets bi-monthly with invited speakers presenting on topics of interest.
This year ORIED significantly restructured the organization to improve the overall infrastructure and environment. Dr. Mladen Vouk was appointed to Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Development, a position that had been vacant for 18 months. Sponsored programs activity (research administration) was separated from compliance and new directors were hired/promoted to oversee these units. The Sponsored Programs unit now reports directly to Dr. Vouk and Compliance reports to Dr. Vouk and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Dr. Katherine Stewart. ORIED also hired a Director of Research Operations to drive the implementation of ORIED strategic initiatives.