As written for Opportunities, a quarterly newsletter of the NC Research Campus covering real estate to research.
Growth at the NC Research Campus is not all about bricks and mortar. A $1.9 million investment in the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP) is boosting the campus’ collaborative approach to research, revealing new findings about plants and how they produce beneficial, bioactive compounds all while training the next generation of scientists.
P2EP is a hands-on, workforce development, research program that engages 40 students from 12 colleges and universities as well as two high schools. The P2EP interns work with industry and academic scientists to map the genomes of broccoli, blueberries, strawberries and oats. They are also creating bioinformatic knowledge bases of genetic data.
All of their work is advancing scientific knowledge about nutrition and plants as well as training the students for careers in science.
P2EP launched its second year this summer with 40 students, almost double the number of the first year. The expansion is due to the generosity of P2EP’s sponsors.
Associated Hotel Groups, owners of the Holiday Inn Express-Kannapolis, established a scholarship program funded by a portion of hotel reservations from people doing business at the NC Research Campus.
“We are finding that we have opportunities for business-to-science partnerships that have never existed before in our region,” said Clyde Higgs, vice president of business development for the NC Research Campus. “Those partnerships are training the next generation of scientists and are a significant part of the NCRC’s growth.”
Additional P2EP sponsors are: Cabarrus Economic Development, Turner Construction, UNC Charlotte, David H. Murdock Research Institute, UNC General Administration, General Mills, NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute, Dole Foods Nutrition Research Laboratory, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Winston-Salem State University.
All but three of the students are from North Carolina, mostly from Kannapolis, Concord, Salisbury and other communities in the Charlotte-area. The students represent Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Catawba College, JC Smith University, Pfeiffer University, AL Brown High School, Cannon School, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, NC State University, UNC Wilmington, Appalachian State University, Winston-Salem State University, Carnegie-Melon University, John Hopkins University and St. Norbert College.