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RTI University Scholars Program

Collaborative research opportunities for faculty from North Carolina universities

Although the impact of our work is felt around the world, our headquarters in Research Triangle Park serves as a reminder of the scholarly spirit behind the founding of the Park—which has long been the heart of research and technology in North Carolina.

The Research Triangle is home to Duke University, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nearby are North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Collaboration enables both RTI and our university partners to mutually capitalize on the vast quantity of academics located in the Triangle as well as across the state.

Fostering Scholarly Exchange and Joint Research Opportunities across the Laboratory and Social Sciences

In 2014, we launched the RTI University Scholars Program to bring academic researchers from the 16 University of North Carolina campuses and Duke University to work alongside our scientists and researchers. The program creates exciting opportunities for high caliber researchers, including tenured faculty and those at the top of their fields, providing financial support to spend scholarly leave time at RTI.

Through a competitive process, our program fosters scholarly exchanges of ideas and creates opportunities for externally funded, joint projects in the future, while also elevating and strengthening scientific stature.  

To date, the program has supported the work of 15 University Scholars, working across more than a dozen subject areas.

Recent collaborations have led to a variety of scientific accomplishments, including

  • Joint, external funding awarded for work on newborn screening and sanitation
  • A working paper about decentralization in rural Africa
  • Joint presentations on newborn health screenings
  • Further development of our work to “Reinvent the Toilet,” investigating cost-effective energy generation and storage options. 

Opportunities for discourse among the scholars increased in 2016, when we launched the University Scholars Seminar Series. The Seminar Series creates an opportunity for scholars to network more broadly, with the aim of finding additional synergies and applications of their work with that of our researchers.

Application, Selection, and Funding Process

Applications for the coming academic year are typically due in early January and are managed online via our application portal. Applicants are notified in March, allowing sufficient time to arrange leave funding with Scholars’ home institutions.

An interdisciplinary panel of RTI researchers and administrators reviews submissions to ensure that applicant goals align with emerging and existing work at RTI. Major considerations in the evaluation process are the likelihood that the period of residence