As of midnight on Monday, North Carolina’s state budget for the 2023-25 fiscal biennium became law. In addition to raises for state employees and teachers, tax cuts and Medicaid expansion, the budget earmarked a substantial sum to continue the Collaboratory’s work funding research in service to the State. In addition to receiving over $67 million in new appropriations, the Collaboratory was tasked with overseeing an additional $140 million allotted to NC Innovation. Read on for additional details on the legislative funding set to shape the Collaboratory’s work over the next two years.
Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances Research
$20 million was allocated to the Collaboratory for the management of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) research, including:
- a voluntary buyback program of AFFF from local fire departments across the state;
- evaluation of disposal and destruction technologies of PFAS;
- a human exposure study of firefighters and emergency responders; and,
- development of a lab space at NCSU for testing of PFAS-resistant textiles.
The Collaboratory received an additional $8 million for PFAS research with a priority for funding a human exposure study and an additional $4 million for water-related research for emerging compounds, water quality improvements and other discretionary research.
Next-Generation Energy Research and Development
The Collaboratory received $15 million to conduct research in the energy sector and develop academic research partnerships with North Carolina businesses working in the next-generation energy field. The Collaboratory is charged with leveraging those partnerships to perform research and development on next-generation energy technologies.
Opioid Abatement Research
$10.7 million was appropriated to the Collaboratory for grants available on a competitive basis across the UNC System for opioid abatement research and development projects.
Recovery Courts Study
The Collaboratory received $300,000 to conduct a study of existing, judicially managed accountability and recovery courts (JMARCs), including drug treatment courts. A final report is due October 1, 2024.
Artificial Intelligence Study
$3.5 million was provided for the Collaboratory to study the use of artificial intelligence in improving non-confidential patient information.
Digital Engineering Projects
The Collaboratory will receive $4 million over the biennium to support grants across the UNC System focused on digital engineering.
The Collaboratory was allocated $1.5 million to conduct a study on endometriosis.
Research Grant for Historically Minority Serving Institutions
The Collaboratory will receive $3 million in total, $1.5 annually, for a research grant program for institutions in the UNC system identified as historically minority-serving. The institutions include Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, UNC Pembroke and Winston-Salem State University.
FerryMon and ModMon Programs
Over the biennium, the ongoing FerryMon and ModMon programs will receive $660,000 to continue the monitoring and assessment of water quality and environmental conditions in the nation’s second-largest estuary, the Albemarle-Pamlico, and North Carolina’s most important fisheries and recreation resource through a ferry-based monitoring system.
NC Innovation Funds Management
The Collaboratory is responsible for grants management of the $140 million appropriated to NC Innovation project funds during the biennium.