When UNC Research surveyed faculty members, the overwhelming response praised UNC's interdisciplinary collaboration.
Penny Gordon-Larsen, who accepted the permanent position of vice chancellor for research in early July, said strategic priorities are being developed to continue this culture of collaboration.
After joining UNC in 1998, Gordon-Larsen was the associate dean for research at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and then the interim vice chancellor for research since March of 2022.
Andy Johns, who has worked with her at the school since 2018, described Gordon-Larsen as a strategic and thoughtful person who is driven to solve problems efficiently and creatively.
“She's not one that gets worked up easily, but rather, when we're dealing with challenges, no matter what they are, always keeps a level head and again, works in a very collaborative fashion to try to find solutions that make sense, given the circumstances,” Johns said.
Gordon-Larsen outlined three action items that will guide UNC Research's strategic priorities: innovate, transform and renew.
She said these principles can manifest as supporting pro-innovation research; taking research discoveries to the next level as general knowledge, products or policy; and expanding this culture of collaboration to a state or national level.
“In our state, we're at a very unprecedented moment, when technological and scientific advances create new areas of scientific inquiry that are happening at the same time that we're getting major expansion of regional industries that directly draw on UNC research talents, and in our workforce pipeline,” she said.
One end goal of these new priorities is to collaborate with partners across the state and close the innovation gap.