FeatureResearchUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Takes A Giant Leap In Research Excellence Under The Leadership Of Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber

In an impressive celebration of innovation and academic excellence, UNC Charlotte spotlighted its leading researchers during the inaugural Million Dollar Research Circle reception. This landmark event honored 65 principal investigators who represent the driving force behind the University’s substantial grant portfolio, which exceeds $220 million and underscores the institution’s ascent towards becoming a top-tier research university.

At the forefront of this monumental achievement is Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber, whose leadership and vision have been pivotal in steering UNC Charlotte towards this significant milestone. Gaber’s enthusiasm for research and innovation was palpable as she addressed the gathering, highlighting the crucial role of the honorees in elevating the University’s status. “You have helped set the bar for UNC Charlotte as a top-tier research university,” Gaber stated. “The work you are doing is having a real impact on our University and our students and helping to power the future for our region and our state.”

The Million Dollar Research Circle is a testament to the University’s robust growth in research endeavors, with a notable 123% increase in research expenditures over the past decade. This surge positions Charlotte on the cusp of achieving the coveted Carnegie R1 classification for “very high research activity,” a recognition anticipated to be announced in early 2025 according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This initiative, among several spearheaded by the UNC Charlotte Division of Research, celebrates faculty who have secured significant federal, state, and industry grants, contributing to a wide array of research, programs, and creative discoveries. Highlighted among the celebrated researchers is Catherine Fowler, leading the National Technical Assistance Center at Charlotte, with an active funding portfolio of $20.4 million. Additionally, the circle includes faculty with multi-million dollar grants and recipients of prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER awards, underscoring the depth of talent and dedication within the University.

Deb Thomas, associate vice chancellor of research, and John Daniels, vice chancellor of research, both commended the recipients for their contributions and underscored the significance of this achievement. “This represents the vast depth and breadth of expertise at Charlotte. Their contributions are inspiring,” Thomas remarked. Daniels added, “The million-dollar threshold is indeed remarkable, but what’s even more impressive is the underlying commitment and the meaning behind the million dollars.”

As UNC Charlotte plans to make this an annual celebration of research excellence, the event held at the Bissell House not only honors current achievements but also sets the stage for future innovations and discoveries under the guidance of Chancellor Gaber. Her leadership has not only spotlighted the University on the national stage but also affirmed its role in driving educational and research excellence forward, making an indelible impact on the region and the state at large.

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