Creativity Hubs

What are Creativity Hubs?

Creativity Hubs are evolving virtual research networks that concentrate talent and resources on bold ideas for defined periods of time — free from typical organizational boundaries, with the goal of moving new discoveries and ideas into practice.

We are setting out to change the way research and discovery happen at UNC. The Creativity Hubs will create an environment where investigators can nimbly leverage new advances that keep Carolina at the forefront of creativity and innovation.

In consultation with research deans and pan-campus center and institute directors, the OVCR has identified six strategic research priorities reflecting UNC’s strengths where convergence in social sciences, humanistic scholarship, foundational research, health science, and the natural sciences will accelerate new discoveries and solutions to emerging challenges:

While teams are encouraged to design projects touching on one or more of these foci, projects proposing revolutionary ideas through convergent research in any discipline will be welcome. The OVCR is eager to develop the hub model to support a comprehensive research program at Carolina.

The Need

Research is in an era of unprecedented discovery and innovation in natural, social, and biomedical sciences. Innovative ways of connecting culture, meaning, narrative, and history promise an even richer understanding of our complex world. Powerful new tools and technologies allow for deeper understanding of the world in which we live.

Materials related to Creativity Hubs awards from previous years are archived here:

As problems become more complex, researchers with divergent expertise are needed to work together to form new knowledge, generate new ideas, pursue groundbreaking research, and solve difficult problems. Significant discoveries and creative inventions are nearly always accelerated through the formation of these new collaborative and cross-disciplinary teams.

We are taking a different approach to the development of fluid, cross-disciplinary research by establishing creativity hubs that nurture research innovation and risk- seeking to build a pervasive culture that promotes discovery and curiosity, and recognizes and rewards exceptional performance.

What We’re Looking For

  • Innovation and Impact – Ability to provide solutions to important challenges and/or generation of new fundamental knowledge and create impact to benefit society, culture, community, the environment, or the economy.
  • Convergence – Demonstration that the project takes advantage of expertise from multiple and diverse disciplines and promotes new ways of thinking that push disciplinary boundaries.
  • Sustainability – Likelihood that the project will lead to support of larger and sustained extramural funding from federal agencies, industry, venture groups, or non-profit organizations.
  • Program Management Plan – Clearly articulated plan with description of feasibility, work-plan, milestones, project deliverables, evidence of alignment with large-scale extramural support and timeline for soliciting external support.

Next Steps