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The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory was established in the summer of 2016 by the North Carolina General Assembly for the purposes of facilitating the dissemination of the environmental and natural resources research expertise of the University of North Carolina for practical use by state and local governments.

To fulfill its mission to the General Assembly, the Collaboratory facilitates and funds research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State of North Carolina and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvement. The Collaboratory develops and disseminates relevant best practices to interested parties, leads and participates in projects across the State related to natural resources management, and makes recommendations to the General Assembly.

The Collaboratory is located at UNC-Chapel Hill and its work is overseen by an eight-member Advisory Board.  Board members are leaders in their fields and represent a wide array of expertise in the areas of natural resources, business, public policy, finance, sustainability, natural sciences, and economic development.

The Collaboratory is funded by a recurring appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly.  This Request for Proposals (RFP) represents one component of the Collaboratory’s ongoing efforts to build partnerships and strengthen collaboration between researchers, natural resource managers, and policy-makers.  The funds available through this RFP represent the State’s commitment to disseminating and utilizing the research at UNC-Chapel Hill to better manage the State’s natural resources.

Collaboratory awards are designed to advance research and foster collaborations that:

  • address current environmental and natural resource challenges in North Carolina; and
  • proactively plan for future natural resource challenges and identify practical solutions.

This RFP is solely a request for expressions of interest and statements of qualification.  It is not an offer to contract or an invitation capable of acceptance to create a contract.  The Collaboratory may cancel or modify this RFP at any time without liability for any loss, cost or expense as a result of that cancellation or modification.

Applicant Eligibility

Only faculty, staff, and graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill may apply. Faculty, staff and graduate students may be listed as a part of the research team in multiple proposals, but may only serve as the project lead in one proposal. Graduate students must have a faculty sponsor who will serve as the official awardee for the project.

While not a requirement, collaboration is highly encouraged and the degree of collaboration with units at UNC-Chapel Hill and with other UNC System institutions will be one of the factors considered during the proposal review.

Proposal Eligibility

Proposed research projects must take place in the state of North Carolina and address a research question or topic consistent with the Collaboratory’s focus of:

  • the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State of North Carolina; and
  • a practical application for local or state governments.

Proposed research projects should meet the highest standards of academic research.  In general, these principles (based on language from National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council, 1984) are:

  1. the development of significant questions that can be investigated empirically,
  2. linkage of research to relevant theory,
  3. the use of methods that directly address the question of interest,
  4. a coherent and explicit chain of reasoning,
  5. a standard of generalizability with existing research and research contexts, and
  6. publication of research to encourage professional critique.

Proposals for both newly formed research projects and proposals that supplement or continue to build upon existing research projects are eligible for funding.

We anticipate providing several awards ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

The period of performance for the project must be completed by June 30, 2018. Notification of awards will be made on August 1, 2017. A project status report will be required in December 2017 and March 2018 to report on project progress and outcomes to date. A final report will be due by August 2018.

Awardees will be expected to respond to occasional requests for information as needed, participate in seminars, conferences, and deliver presentations to the legislature and to the Collaboratory Advisory Board as requested.

While letters of support are not required, they are encouraged and the ability to demonstrate a collaboration with a local government unit, a state agency, or a community organization will be considered during the review process.

Submission Process and Timeline

  • The deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, 2017.
  • In fairness to other applicants, late submissions will not be accepted.
  • Proposals must be submitted to the Collaboratory by email to
  • Please note proposal formatting guidelines below.
  • All elements of the proposal must be combined into a single pdf document.
  • Notification of awards will be made by August 1, 2017.


  • May 1, 2017: Solicitation Release
  • June 16, 2017: Proposals Due
  • August 1, 2017: Notification of Awards

Proposal Format

Proposals must adhere to the following format:

  • 1 inch margins all around
  • 12 point font
  • Strict page limits as outlined below (support letters are not counted toward the page limit)

Proposals must contain all of the following elements (not to exceed 10 pages in total with maximum page lengths for each sub-section as follows):

The cover page should include the following:

  • Project title
  • One paragraph project description
  • Project director and contact information
  • Budget summary
  • Describe your project and how it is consistent with the Collaboratory mission.
  • Describe specifically what you plan to accomplish and detail all deliverables.
  • Describe the significance of the project to North Carolina.
  • Provide a detailed budget for your project and an explanation/justification of expenses.
  • University overhead charges are not permitted.
  • Examples of allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, salaries, travel expenses, equipment, contracted services, and publications.
  • All salaries paid under the proposal will also incur university fringe and benefit costs which should be accounted for in the budget.
  • Background of Project Director and other key personnel collaborating on the project.
  • Describe how the project will have a practical application for local or state government and its significance to North Carolina’s natural resources.
  • Describe the impact of your project and plans to disseminate and communicate the outcomes of your plan with the public and media.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the proposal to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State of North Carolina.
  • Meets standards of academic research.
  • Practical application and impact of the proposal to local and state government.
  • Potential to bring together researchers from different fields for collaboration.
  • Clear description of the project’s deliverables.
  • Reasonableness of the budget and ability to complete the work as proposed.


Questions regarding this solicitation may be directed to Dr. Jeff Warren or Steve Wall.

Jeff Warren, PhD
Research Director
NC Policy Collaboratory
Steve Wall, JD
Outreach Liaison
NC Policy Collaboratory

For more information about the NC Policy Collaboratory and for a list of currently funded projects please see

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