North Carolina Research Complex Attracts World-Class Talent
Several major colleges and universities have established operations on the North Carolina Research Campus, as well as partners that include Labcorp, Sensory Spectrum, Carolinas Healthcare System, Carl Zeiss Imaging, Anatomics, Lovelace Research Institute and the Dole Nutrition Institute.
Biotechnology and life sciences research being conducted at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis is creating jobs, attracting investment and positioning Cabarrus County for success in the knowledge-based economy of the future.
More than 300 people work at the NCRC campus today, a number that is expected to rise to as high as 5,000 when the facility is completely built out, says Ann Gibson, the city’s director of marketing. NCRC is located in a former textile mill that was once the world's largest producer of sheets and towels.
NCRC includes more than 1 million square feet of state-of-the-art lab and office space where universities and private enterprises are advancing scientific knowledge about plants, fruits, vegetables and nutrition’s links to disease and good health.
Vision of NCRC
The vision and funding for the NCRC originated with Murdock, whose investment of $1.5 billion paved the way for creation of the NCRC. Globalization closed the former textile mill in 2003, where as many as 20,000 people once worked. In Kannapolis, 4,340 lost their jobs in the largest single-day layoff in North Carolina history.
A year later, Murdock, owner of Dole Food Co., purchased the property. Partnering with Kannapolis and the University of North Carolina system, he envisioned turning the property into a center for state-of-the-art nutritional and scientific research. In September 2005, the NCRC was announced.
The growing facility has attracted private-sector investments to Kannapolis from companies including Dole, General Mills and Monsanto. In addition, eight North Carolina universities have a presence at the NCRC.
Kannapolis and the NCRC received the 2011 Innovative Small Business Community Award from North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. Communities were selected based on their creative solutions to improve quality of life and well-being through job creation and job sustaining activities.
The NCRC is now anchored by universities, the Rowan Cabarrus Community College Biotech Training Center and the David H. Murdock Research Institute. The NCRC has attracted partners such as LabCorp, Lovelace Respiratory Institute, Carl Zeiss Microimaging and Carolinas Healthcare System.
Private enterprises and government agencies active at the NCRC include:
Sensory Spectrum. The company provides custom designed studies of consumers’ interactions with the look, feel, taste and smell of products.
Dole Food Co. Dole is the world’s largest seller of fruits and vegetables. The Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory’s work will allow Dole to produce healthier fruits and vegetables and will affect decisions regarding ingredients and packaging of products.
General Mills. The world’s sixth-largest food company and maker of household brands such as Green Giant, Betty Crocker and Cheerios, is taking advantage of the cutting-edge technology and expertise at NCRC to form partnerships to improve the nutrition of food.
Immune Tolerance Institute. ITI is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the discovery and development of breakthrough treatments for major immune system-related diseases.
Monsanto. The company’s research focuses on the improvement of the flavor, taste and nutritional properties of fruits and vegetables.
The Cabarrus Health Alliance. Patients and clients can take advantage of the education and research opportunities presented at the NCRC. CHA will also collaborate on clinical research and research development projects.
U.S. Department of Agriculture. The human nutrition program within the USDA Agricultural Research Service promotes health by ensuring the food supply is safe, affordable, nutritious and healthy.
The David H. Murdock Research Institute. DHMRI is a nonprofit that bridges the research gap between academia and industry by providing research solutions in a customer-based yet collaborative environment.
Drawing Higher Education
North Carolina higher education institutions with a presence at North Carolina Research Campus include:
Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Laboratory
Duke University’s Translational Medicine Institute
NC A&T State University’s Center of Excellence for Post Harvest Technologies
North Carolina Central University’s Nutrition Research Program
NC State University’s Plants for Human Health
UNC Chapel Hill’s Nutrition Research Institute
UNC Charlotte’s Bioinformatics Research Center
The UNC Greensboro Center for Research Excellence in Bioactive Food Components
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College's Biotechnology Training Center, a three-floor, 62,000 square-foot facility that is a "hands-on realistic training environment."