UNC leader says environmental collaboratory fits with school’s mission

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt said Friday that a new environmental policy initiative created by the legislature fits in with the university’s mission to serve North Carolina.

“We have a strong tradition at Carolina for conducting research and outreach to help the citizens of our state,” Folt said in a news release about the N.C. Policy Collaboratory. “We will use this extra funding from the N.C. General Assembly to support academic-influenced, scientific research to help create solutions for natural resources challenges that are important to the citizens of North Carolina.”

UNC received $1 million from the legislature to establish the collaboratory with the possibility of $3.5 million more in startup funds. The effort has drawn critics who fear that researchers will be under political pressure as they develop policy recommendations for state and local governments.

Also Friday, the university announced that Brad Ives, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises and UNC’s chief sustainability officer, will be interim director of the collaboratory. A faculty advisory committee, under the guidance of Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean, will be appointed to participate in project selection, grant making and project review. In the next three months, the university would begin a search for two new staff positions in research coordination and community engagement.

Jeff Warren, science adviser to Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, has been rumored to be a contender for a job at the collaboratory.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill