The N.C. Ecosystem Technology
project has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Regional Innovation Engines, or NSF Engines.
The award is to aid the development of an economic engine "that could rapidly improve the quality of life in rural coastal communities using ecosystem technology, or ecotech, an emerging branch of applied science," according to a news release Thursday.
The NCET team consists of 11 principal investigators who are experts across disciplines from seven institutions: the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College, Carteret Community College, Duke University, East Carolina University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and RTI International, the release stated.
Using the coastal city of Wilmington as its hub, NCET will focus on three areas: coastal infrastructure, aquaculture and renewable energy ancillary services, according to the release.
"These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan in the release. "The awardees are part of the fabric of NSF's vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation. Through these awards, NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and growing their regional economies through research and partnerships."
The NCET developing engine "will improve the infrastructure of the NC coastal region and solve problems," the release stated.
NCET is among more than 40 teams to receive one of the first-ever NSF Engines Development Awards.