UNC, Duke faculty bring $287 million in stimulus research funding to North Carolina

Faculty researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University have attracted an estimated $287 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the benefit of the state of North Carolina.

Since last March, when ARRA funding began flowing, Carolina faculty have received notifications from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and other federal agencies about grants or awards that are expected to exceed $128.8 million over a three-year period. So far, 258 individual UNC projects had been selected for funding. At Duke, the cumulative total value of 269 different faculty awards exceeded $159.1 million. Some awards are pending, so totals will keep changing.

Those numbers reflect a high level of achievement in the unparalleled nationwide competition for grants as part of the one-time federal package.

“The success of the Duke and Carolina faculty in securing stimulus research funding shows the enormous power of research universities and just how significant the impact is for the North Carolina economy,” said Tony Waldrop, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNC-Chapel Hill. “These investments in research at Duke and Carolina reflect the extraordinary quality of work by scientists who are leaders in their fields. They are a tremendous asset for North Carolina.”

Together, UNC and Duke faculty have helped place North Carolina among the leading states for attracting ARRA funding. According to www.recovery.gov and www.researchamerica.org, North Carolina currently ranks:

  • 5th for the number of jobs created or saved by the stimulus program.
  • 6th for National Institutes of Health (NIH) stimulus funding.
  • 10th for total stimulus funding.

Duke and Carolina have also combined to make North Carolina's Fourth Congressional District the third-highest funded district for NIH stimulus funds, according to www.researchamerica.org. The NIH has committed $160.3 million for 434 projects in the Fourth District, which includes Durham and Orange counties, part of Wake County and a small portion of Chatham County. Only Massachusetts’ Eighth District, which includes Cambridge and about 70 percent of Boston, and Washington’s Seventh  District, which includes Seattle, have received more NIH funding.

The push to apply for ARRA funding totaling $21.5 billion nationwide for research and development was unprecedented. UNC researchers submitted 865 proposals requesting more than $595 million in funding. Duke faculty submitted 854 proposals. Several proposals for major infrastructure improvements on both campuses are still pending.

“These awards were granted on scientific merit, and we’re proud that Duke and UNC researchers have been able to help the state of North Carolina win so much of this federal stimulus funding.” said James Siedow, vice provost for research at Duke.

Research topics at UNC include prostate cancer, obesity among low-income and overweight women in rural eastern North Carolina, bone biology, and memory. Other awards include new NIH biomedical research and training initiatives that involve hiring high school and college students and teachers to spend their summers in UNC laboratories and medical facilities doing hands-on, cutting-edge research with top scientists. Top UNC units securing ARRA funding as of this week include the School of Medicine (nearly $51 million), the College of Arts and Sciences ($16.7 million) and the Gillings School of Global Public Health ($7.4 million).

Duke’s stimulus success has been a boon for work in areas including colon cancer, the search for genetic differences in human metabolism that may relate to a higher risk of heart disease, the immune system and fetal brain development, chest pain tests, and new therapy for methamphetamine abuse and experimental vaccination against nicotine.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s ARRA funding also includes more than $472,000 awarded by the State of North Carolina.

For more information, see the stimulus research Web sites at UNC and Duke:



Contact:  Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593, mike_mcfarland@unc.edu