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The Office of Research Communications at UNC Chapel-Hill has developed a resource to help explain the impact of Carolina research in North Carolina. On the UNC Research website, we have built an interactive map of the state that shows the presence of our research activity in each county.

Curious about how this map was created or research at Carolina in general? Read below for answers to common questions.

What is research?

Research is the pursuit of new knowledge through systematic investigation and discovery. Researchers ask questions, conduct experiments, gather information, sort through data, and then ask more questions. Research applies to anything and everything — medicine, technology, environment, economics, history, culture, art — and affects everyone in one way or another.

How is research at Carolina funded?

Research at Carolina is funded through a variety of sources. The federal government provides 63% of UNC-Chapel Hill’s research funding. Other funders include private education and research institutions, foundations, businesses, state government, and nonprofit organizations.

Why was the impact map created?

The UNC Research impact map was created to provide more insight into how the research conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill directly benefits people across North Carolina. The map provides up-to-date numbers on dollars and jobs supplied to counties, as well as research projects that improve the lives of citizens.

How do you source the information for the map?

Most of the information presented on the map is gathered through an in-house research data collection system called the Research Administration Management System & eSubmission (RAMSeS). It tracks information on which projects are taking place where, the researchers involved, and the funding mechanisms. By conducting specific searches in RAMSeS, we can see the research impact in individual North Carolina counties.

The number of undergraduate students participating in research activity comes from UNC Undergraduate Admissions. This number is based on student enrollment since the IDEAs in Action curriculum was implemented in Fall 2022. The curriculum requires students to take a research and discovery course.

How often do you update the information?

We update the information on the website near the beginning of each fiscal year, around late summer. This depends on when federal agencies release specific information on their research funding activity.

How can I get a project or story added?

If you think a research project or a story about a project would be a good fit on one of the county pages, send it to Carleigh Gabryel, strategic communications manager in the Office of Research Communications.

What’s next?

We will continue to revise and add to the UNC Research impact website based on feedback we get from users and information provided by University partners. As Carolina’s research enterprise continues to grow, so will our efforts to convey its importance.