There are signs of growth at the NC Research Campus (NCRC). Site development for the new DataChambers regional data center is underway at Loop Road and Biotechnology Lane. The second suite of ready-to-go laboratories in the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building is finished and leasing. The expansion of the UNC Charlotte Bioinformatics Services office is finished and filled with student interns.
Growth at the NCRC is not all about bricks and mortar. Local businesses and organizations are forming partnerships with the NCRC to advance scientific discovery. Clyde Higgs, NCRC vice president of business development, points to the organizations that joined the campus to sponsor the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP) that include Cabarrus Economic Development, Catawba College, Turner Construction and the Duke Energy Foundation.
Holiday Inn Express- Kannapolis recently announced that they are sponsoring the first scholarship for P2EP. The hotel is offering a special rate to companies or individuals who are traveling to do business at the campus. For each room night reserved at the special NCRC rate, the Holiday Inn Express will return a portion of the revenue to the P2EP scholarship program.
P2EP is a research and workforce training program. Up-and-coming scientists in high school through graduate school work under the direction of doctoral level students and the NCRC’s leading scientists to learn to map plant pathways in blueberries, broccoli, oats and strawberries.
The goal is to understand how compounds beneficial to human health form in plants and to create a bioinformatic knowledge base of genetic data. The long-term impact is more marketable crops for North Carolina farmers, and healthier fruits and vegetables for consumers. The program is led by UNC General Administration, UNC Charlotte, Dole Foods, General Mills, NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute and the David H. Murdock Research Institute.
Another option that for local businesses are taking advantage of is the NCRC’s preferred partner program. Participating companies like Keith Whaley State Farm Insurance, Team Honeycutt Realtors and Embassy Suites are on the NCRC website and in front of newcomers moving to the area to work at the campus.
“We’re finding that we have opportunities for business to science partnerships that have never existed before in our region,” said Higgs. “Those partnerships are training the next generations of scientists and, I think, are another sign of the NCRC’s continued growth.”
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