UNC-Chapel Hill has announced a permanent director for the N.C. Policy Collaboratory, which was created last year by the legislature to come up with environmental solutions for governments.
Brad Ives, UNC’s associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises and chief sustainability officer, was named director after having served as interim director since last summer.
Still unclear is who will be the think tank’s research director. Rumors have circulated that Jeffrey Warren, science adviser to Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, would be hired at the collaboratory.
A UNC spokeswoman said Wednesday that a national open search is being conducted for the position of research director. “Since the hiring process is ongoing and no offer has been extended, I don’t have any additional details to share about that search at this time,” said Joanne Peters, director of media relations.
Berger has said that any of his staff who applied for a UNC job would have his strong support. “On several occasions I have recommended highly-qualified conservative candidates for positions at UNC and within the university system, and, to my knowledge, none have been hired to date,” he said last year.
The collaboratory was established with $1 million in annual state funds plus $3.5 million in public funding if the university is able to raise matching dollars. The idea was that scientists would collaborate on research and policy for state and local governments, but environmental advocates raised concerns that the science could be compromised by political influence.
The legislature directed the collaboratory to do a six-year study of nutrient management strategies for North Carolina’s Jordan Lake and Falls Lake and a two-year review of aquaculture and the economics and ecology of increasing oyster harvests. An interim report on the nutrient management study was sent to the legislature in December.
An advisory board was named for the new entity, as well as a community outreach liaison. The board has approved two projects related to Hurricane Matthew, and a third to study wild fires in western North Carolina.