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Consistent with its mission to utilize and disseminate the environmental research expertise of the University of North Carolina for practical use by state and local government the NC Policy Collaboratory has announced a set of funded projects for the 2017-18 academic year.

The projects were selected following a call for proposals from environmental scientists and researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill that address timely environmental topics in North Carolina.  The Collaboratory received eighteen proposal submissions totaling more than $1.5 million in research requests.

Each for the projects selected for funding will receive $75,000 to complete the research and share results with policy-makers. The projects selected for funding are:

“Improving Stewardship of Private Groundwater Wells

Lead Researcher: Jackie MacDonald Gibson, UNC Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

This project will help local health departments educate private groundwater well owners about monitoring their water quality.

“Long-Term Planning to Improve Resiliency and Environmental Service of NC’s Water and Wastewater Utilities”

Lead Researcher: Carol Rosenfeld, UNC Environmental Finance Center

This project will enhance drinking water utilities’ resiliency to changes that could impair their financial resources and ability to effectively provide services by evaluating the long-term planning methods of utilities.

“Are Floodplain Buyouts a Smart Investment for Local Governments?”

Lead Researcher: David Salvesen, UNC Institute for the Environment

This project will estimate the financial impacts of buyouts on local governments and explore the factors that incentivize participation in buyout programs.

“The Origin and Fate of Lead in North Carolina Surface Waters”

Lead Researcher: Drew Coleman, UNC Department of Geological Sciences

This project will investigate the source of lead in surface waters of North Carolina with a focus on the major rivers of the state.

In addition to the projects outlined above, the Collaboratory continues to fund a number of research projects in support of two legislatively directed studies:  

  1. addressing nutrient pollution in Jordan and Falls Lakes; and 
  2. growing the state’s aquaculture industry.

Funding of the above projects continues the commitment of the Collaboratory, with the General Assembly’s support, to fund environmental research to identify solutions to critical natural resource issues facing North Carolina.  In fiscal year 2016-17 the Collaboratory funded over $1.1 million in research projects at academic departments at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State.

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