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What is Convergent Science?

Convergent science is a problem-centered approach to research that draws together innovators from a wide breadth of disciplines to address real-world issues. By redefining the journey from idea to discovery to market, convergent science allows research teams to focus on solving the problems at hand with the resources needed to create breakthroughs.

Institute for Convergent Science

Located in UNC-Chapel Hill’s premier science research facility, the UNC Genome Sciences Building, the Institute for Convergent Science (ICS) brings the very best go-to-market, problem-solving process to the University’s more than $1.2 billion research enterprise.

ICS provides the physical space, resources, funding and talent connections that allows science-based problem solvers to come together and find answers to problems that make a tangible difference in the world. This is where collaborative faculty, students and their partners jumpstart and pursue inventions and technologies with market potential. Our teams have access to creative spaces for collaborative work, wet labs for technology development and prototyping, a startup accelerator where they can launch and grow young companies, and a set of programs and resources that offer support for grants, professional services and other entrepreneurial paths.

At ICS, the chance for intellectual and creative interactions between people to develop new ideas, knowledge, inventions and devices is intentionally high. We speed the process of discovery to impact by giving proven convergent thinkers the tools and spaces they need to create. Everything we do is aimed at helping innovators translate research into multidisciplinary solutions for the public good.

Why We Exist

We exist to transform UNC-Chapel Hill’s high-volume, high-density research campus into the world’s most effective engine for discovery and innovation.

We work to create a fully mature innovation ecosystem that offers technical expertise, services and connections needed to move research discoveries into the real world.

How We Work

Our Innovation Framework is the way we accelerate discoveries from the lab to real life. This three-phase process models the process one might follow to prepare for a race:

At each stage, our convergent teams find the spaces, resources and support they need to move their ideas forward faster.

What We Do

  • Solve problems through team-based science
  • Bring together teams of researchers, designers, experts, and entrepreneurs
  • Provide a framework for experts to work together across boundaries in new ways
  • Diversify University research funding opportunities
  • Move valuable ideas from the research lab to the market

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The ICS team is intentional about fostering and upholding diversity, equity, and inclusion within our teams and panels. We recognize that there are differences based on lived experience, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, academic discipline, and more that influence how people engage with problems. Ensuring that a broad range of background and perspectives are at the table is crucial in maximizing diverse teams capable of making an impact on global grand challenges.

Our approach to diversity extends to inclusion of a wide breadth of academic disciplines and internal and external partners. We value tackling problems from different angles by engaging a variety of disciplines, including disciplines outside the traditional STEMM fields. ICS works to ensure that its team members hold a multitude of skills and capacities so that we have the necessary tools to help innovation teams working on the most socially impactful problems. We commit to building diverse teams across academic disciplines and to providing resources that allow us to engage with and pursue problems and opportunities across a wide spectrum of focus areas.