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The regulatory landscape for research has taken a dramatic shift in the last two years, with a stronger emphasis on protecting the integrity of the U.S. research enterprise. In response, Brian Collier has been appointed the first-ever director of science and security at UNC.

The university has been focused on strengthening its infrastructure to respond to new and changing requirements for research involving foreign entities and collaborators. To ensure the security of the UNC research enterprise and compliance with federal regulations, the OVCR has established a director of science and security position.

“The importance of securing our research enterprise has become obvious over the past few years as many large research universities in the United States have been targeted by certain foreign entities,” Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Andy Johns says. “Further, the federal government has taken great interest in this issue and has implemented new regulations that are greatly impacting the way we support research. This new role allows us to have dedicated focus on ensuring compliance with these new regulations, as well as educating the broader research community on these issues.”

Brian Collier
Brian Collier (photo by Alyssa LaFaro)

Brian Collier began serving in this role on March 1. He will collaborate with several key offices on campus including Central Compliance, Export Controls, Conflicts of Interest, Information Technology Services, Office of University Counsel, Office of Sponsored Research, UNC Global, Office of Technology Commercialization, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and Finance and Operations, along with schools, the college, and research centers and institutes. He will also serve as the OVCR liaison for science and security matters to federal and state agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and North Carolina state agencies, among others.

“I hope to improve the infrastructure that supports our research and grow our relationships with Federal agencies, external sponsors, and current and potential partners and collaborators,” Collier says. “I also want to help faculty and staff navigate the changing regulatory environment by working closely with them and building a robust training program. I’m looking forward to tackling these challenges and helping the university be a leader in this new and evolving area.”

Collier’s 30 years of experience in research administration, operations, finance, and government administration make him uniquely qualified for this role. Previously, he served as assistant director of research administration in the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR), where he was responsible for leading a team that provided research administration support for campus faculty and staff. Prior to joining Carolina in 2013, he served as an operations manager with the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville and as an administrative officer at the NIH.

“My previous experiences have taught me how to assess risks and solve problems, to be proactive, to communicate well, to build successful partnerships and collaborations, to manage projects, and to navigate the field of research administration in a higher education environment,” Collier says. “Most importantly though, my time in OSR gave me the opportunity to build relationships with many faculty and staff across campus as we worked to achieve their goals.”

Collier encourages anyone with questions about science and security, his new role, or UNC’s research program to reach out to him at

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