Arcot Rajasekar, Frances McColl Term Professor at the UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has been awarded a grant from the UNC Research Opportunities Initiative (ROI) for a project titled, “Towards a North Carolina Smart and Connected Communities Initiative.”
Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) is an emerging concept that aims to harness state-of-the-art technologies to exploit “Big Data” and the “Internet of Things” in order to promote sustainable social and economic development across rural and urban communities. S&CC solutions aim to produce positive impact across a range of concerns, including food, energy, and water; access to quality jobs; community planning; and social justice.
The planning grant will support workshops to organize a network of UNC system researchers, as well as industry and government partners, who will work together to lay the foundation for a collaborative research, development, and translational S&CC program that is well-positioned for funding from federal agencies.
ROI grants are awarded by the North Carolina General Administration to advance collaborative projects that aim to develop new metal-based manufacturing methods, apply state-of-the-art technologies to promote economic development across the state, improve electricity distribution, and optimize manufacturing processes through data science. This marks the second round of grants under UNC ROI, funded by a recurring $3-million annual appropriation from the 2014 General Assembly. First-round awardees have already leveraged the $6 million invested to date to attract $7.5 million in additional external grants. They also have filed 11 patent applications and started two companies.