With 16 public universities, each with its own research profile, North Carolina has become a research and development powerhouse. In fiscal year 2019 alone, the UNC System brought in more than $1.6 billion in sponsored research funding.

That funding produces knowledge—knowledge that has made North Carolina an ideal location for innovative firms and dynamic businesses. University research builds economic prospects, generating startup companies and patents alike. It has helped establish North Carolina as a hub for emerging industries in health care, technology, and advanced engineering. Our students and faculty have helped make North Carolina a national leader in the production, analysis, and preservation of culture and the arts. University research has made North Carolina more bountiful for the agricultural industry and more attractive to the tourists who drive our hospitality and tourism.

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Research is integral to many of our students’ educational experience. All UNC System undergraduates interact with faculty members whose scholarship is nationally and regionally acclaimed. Sometimes these collaborations generate original research and creative activities that can lead to publications, presentations, creative works, and other outcomes. This work benefits our universities, our students, and the communities we serve.

Research projects large and small provide high impact learning opportunities. Studies show that undergraduate research experiences positively affect academic performance, critical thinking, satisfaction, and persistence. In addition, research opportunities can influence a student’s academic and career choices and other outcomes. The discoveries students yield in our science labs, in fields, and abroad prepare undergraduates to be innovative problem solvers and creative thinkers when they enter the workforce.


The UNC System offers a diverse portfolio of graduate programs at master’s, professional, and doctoral levels. For many of our 45,000 graduate students, research experiences are an integral instructional tool for learning the practices and methods of their chosen fields.


The North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, on the site of the old Pillowtex Corporation manufacturing plant, is a private-public venture created to foster collaboration and further advancements in the fields of biotechnology, nutrition, and health. The campus vision is to become the world’s epicenter of nutrition and disease research. With extensive investment by benefactor Mr. David H. Murdock and the State of North Carolina, NCRC combines all the right elements for breakthrough science and discovery.

NCRC offers more than a million square feet of state-of-the-art lab and office space. This includes the David H. Murdock Research Institute, which houses one of the largest and most advanced scientific equipment collections of its kind anywhere in the world. The institute features state-of-the-art technology in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics. Here, universities and private businesses test, explore, and advance scientific knowledge across a variety of disciplines.

Many of the nation’s top research universities are conducting work at NCRC. Several UNC System institutions maintain a significant presence on the NCRC campus, including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Appalachian State University.

To learn more, visit the North Carolina Research Campus’s website.