REACH NC Resource Finder Expands Capabilities of Successful Statewide Researcher Portal

Released: 24-Jun-2014 2:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI)
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Newswise — CHAPEL HILL, NC - REACH NC, a Web portal that connects businesses, developers, government officials, other researchers and citizens to thousands of experts working in higher education and research institutions throughout North Carolina now helps users find university assets and resources across the state through a new tool called the REACH NC Resource Finder.

Powered by the eagle-i open-source tool from Harvard University (funded by Harvard Catalyst, The Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center [grant number 1UL1 TR001102-01]), the Resource Finder allows users to locate facilities such as wet labs and service labs, and resources such as scientific instruments, clinical trial participation opportunities, and open source software.

The Resource Finder is the first statewide implementation of its kind and was developed through a partnership with UNC General Administration, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) and The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Launched in April 2014, the Resource Finder initially featured resources available at UNC Chapel Hill. Beginning June 10, it expanded its services to include resources at four additional UNC campuses and at Duke University.

“People have been using REACH NC for several years now to find university experts who can help them solve problems or partner with them on collaborative research,” said Dr. Sharlini Sankaran, executive director of REACH NC. “With the launch of the Resource Finder, we think we’ve made REACH NC even more useful. It’s great to be able to tap the intellectual capacity of our universities; it’s even better to be able to view the non-human resources that support our experts.”

“Among the greatest strengths of the Research Triangle is the connectivity it fosters between corporations and our research universities,” said Bob Geolas, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, the not-for-profit that manages the RTP. “REACH NC’s Resource Finder promises to make connections between industry and education even easier. It promises to be an invaluable tool for economic development of this region.”

REACH NC helps businesses solve problems and evaluate the feasibility of new products and processes, assists developers and investors looking for locations for new facilities, and enables faculty members to form strategic inter-campus research teams that can compete for large federal grants. The system includes over 9,500 expert profiles, and with the addition of the Resource Finder, more than 1,500 resources.

In 2013 the University Economic Development Association presented a national Award of Excellence to REACH NC in recognition of its ability to positively impact economic development in North Carolina.

REACH NC is supported by initial funding from NC TraCS at UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC General Administration, RENCI, and Duke University. Additional support has been received from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, Inc. and the Research Triangle Foundation.

RENCI data experts built the system’s data backbone and developed protocols for user access, and data management and storage. RENCI also created a tool that visually groups experts by their areas of expertise and professional backgrounds in order to make the search process more visual and intuitive.

NC TraCS is home to the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program at UNC-CH, one of 62 CTSA medical institutions, making up a national consortium to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country.

UNC General Administration houses the offices of the President and other senior officers of the 17-campus University of North Carolina. This core administrative staff is responsible for executing the policies of the UNC Board of Governors and providing University-wide leadership in the areas of academic affairs, business and financial management, long-range planning, student affairs, research, legal affairs, and government relations. UNC General Administration also has administrative oversight of a number of University affiliates, including UNC-TV, the North Carolina Arboretum, the NC State Education Assistance Authority, the NC State Approving Agency, the UNC Press, and the NC Center for International Understanding.

For more information and to access the resource finder, please see www.reachnc.org/resource-finder

To read a recent white paper on REACH NC and its impact, see http://www.renci.org/White-Paper-2014-REACHNC


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