The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officially launched the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) on June 23, an effort made possible through a five-year, $20 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, Office of University Programs.
Dr. Richard Luettich, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and Sewell Family Term Professor of Marine Sciences and director of UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City, N.C., serves as a principal investigator at the center.
Led by Dr. Gavin Smith, research professor of city and regional planning in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, the CRC initiative will include collaboration with more than a dozen partner universities to address unique challenges facing U.S. communities that are vulnerable to coastal hazards.
The CRC, which will receive an initial $3 million grant for its first operating year, is charged with helping to conduct research and education that directly addresses key challenges associated with growing coastal vulnerability. Specific examples include:
“The Coastal Resilience Center will improve our readiness through groundbreaking multidisciplinary research, the development of best practices, and the education of the next generation of researchers and policy makers,” said U.S. Congressional representative David E. Price (NC-04) during a press conference announcing the launch of the initiative. “I am thrilled to help celebrate this grant and the continued expertise UNC-Chapel Hill provides to the Department of Homeland Security. I look forward to following the center’s important work for many more years.”