ReachNC_FINAL1The Research, Engagement and Capabilities Hub of North Carolina (REACH NC) is a searchable Web-based tool used to access profiles of experts at North Carolina universities and other research-oriented organizations. Through the REACH NC website, users can find experts and resources needed to build research teams or consultants who can assist businesses, government agencies, and economic development efforts. The tool compiles data from research publications, grant awards, and other sources to make it easier for faculty, university administrators, government agencies, and the public to discover people with a particular expertise.

REACH NC was launched as a part of the NC TraCS Institute and originally only contained data about experts from UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. It has since expanded to include profiles of faculty at 16 UNC campuses, Duke University, UNC General Administration, the North Carolina Research Campus and some researchers at RTI International in Research Triangle Park. In addition to helping researchers identify collaborators, the database aggregates information on statewide capacities and strengths, making North Carolina expertise and assets more transparent to businesses and governmental organizations.

In 2013, REACH NC won the University Economic Development Association (UEDA)’s Award of Excellence in Leadership and Collaboration. In 2014, REACH NC launched the Resource Finder tool, which contains nearly 1,700 assets and tools from six UNC system campuses and Duke University. In 2015, REACH NC completed Phase I of a transition to a new system that offers faster performance, easier search functionality, and greater data ingest ability: by the end of 2015, 11,000 researchers from ten campuses were transitioned to the new system. The remaining campuses will transition to the new system in 2016.

RENCI’s Role

RENCI built the data backbone for REACH NC and developed protocols for user access and management and storage. RENCI staff designed and implemented the Web front end for the tool. In collaboration with Harvard, RENCI also set up and implemented the REACH Resource Finder, the first multi-institutional node of the eagle-i open source resource finder tool. RENCI creates information visualizations that group experts by research areas and backgrounds to make searching the database and finding connections more intuitive for users.

Project Team

  • Sharlini Sankaran (Project Leader)
  • David Knowles
  • Monica Schledorn
  • Michael Stealey