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UNC-Chapel Hill is a thriving R1 research university. Over the last 20 years, the dollar value of Carolina’s research enterprise has quadrupled. Research at Carolina, and the businesses that have spun out of the University, contribute over $2.6 billion dollars annually to North Carolina’s gross state product. Our research takes place in all 100 counties of the state and in more than 105 different countries.

How do you run a world-class research operation like Carolina’s? UNC’s Division of Finance and Operations plays a large role by ensuring efficiency and compliance, but it takes more than good business sense to support the 11th largest research university: Finance and Operations staff understand and appreciate the science and are passionate about the researchers they support.

Accounting Services’ Cash Management Team: Providing Solutions

Tammy Jorgenson
Tammy Jorgenson, Advanced Accounting Technician

For six summers, Advanced Accounting Technician Tammy Jorgenson and her husband traveled to Malawi to do missionary work. As a UNC-Chapel Hill employee, she knew about research the University was conducting there and knew some of the researchers on a project. She went to visit them.

“UNC has a maternal and child health program there, and to see the work that was helping mothers and children survive was really inspiring,” she said. “I was very proud to be a part of the work that was helping that country.”

Tammy and her Cash Management Team in Accounting Services play a crucial role in the University’s research. Although there are only four staff members on the team, they manage all the bank accounts for UNC-Chapel Hill. If there aren’t enough funds in the accounts, research can’t happen.

Tammy is responsible for the foreign wire transfers, making sure that the research in foreign countries also has the funding they need in local banks in local currency. So, when she’s wiring the funds to Malawi, “it’s personal,” she said.

In addition to this, the Cash Management Team also oversees the Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP), which provides cost-effective health insurance to graduate students who are so vital to the research the University conducts.

The UNC Cash Management Team also finds solutions to help researchers conduct their business more effectively. Last year, the team unrolled a Prepaid Card program: a better, more secure way to pay research study subjects.

Providing these solutions is a pleasure that Jorgenson says she and her team take in their daily work. She added that it’s the attitude of her team that also makes her job worthwhile.

“If you need help, just call us and ask us, because no information is withheld, and if we don’t have the answer for it, we will help you find it.”

Read more about The Finance Department’s Cash Management Team.

Purchasing Services: Beyond the Buy

Steve Gale
Steven A. Gale, Commodities Manager

Retired Navy veteran Steve Gale recalls returning from two deployments to a UNC-Chapel Hill Purchasing Services department that was reinventing itself — becoming more structured in how it purchased goods and services to support the university’s growth areas like IT and scientific and medical research.

Gale is part of the University Purchasing team that not only buys equipment and supplies for all schools and departments, but also manages essential maintenance for scientific and medical equipment. The team works with suppliers to ensure that the equipment works as it should so researchers can focus on their work without worrying about equipment breaking down.

“If you’re spending $200,000 on a piece of equipment, you want to guarantee that it operates properly through its life,” Gale explains.

Purchasing Services manages the more than $1 billion spent for goods and services each year by the university’s departments and schools. This support extends to managing the performance of the suppliers of those goods and services — all to sustain and support the university’s research mission.

“We look at the dual mission — education and research,” said Troy Morse, director of Purchasing Services. “Our buyers have specialties depending on the commodity or service being bought. In a single day, we buy everything from grass for a field to AI (artificial intelligence) robots. Because all the contracts run through us, we touch what is happening throughout all of the schools. We are enablers and facilitators to get them what they need to be successful.”

“We’re a very strong partner with the research community and we support the research mission — it’s a top priority for me,” said Gale.

Read more about the Purchasing Services Team.

Radiation Safety: Critical Support

Roger Sit
Roger Sit, University Radiation Safety Officer

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Environment, Health and Safety department houses nine radiation safety employees, representing more than 150 combined years of experience in radiation safety. This team is responsible for the critical oversight of the use of radiation for more than 90 UNC licensed principal investigators engaged in the study of cancer and lung and heart disease. In addition, the radiation safety team supports oversight and compliance for use of radiation in the study of physics, astronomy, biomedical imaging, biological science and environment science.

“Research safety is every researcher’s responsibility,” said University Radiation Safety Officer Roger Sit, who earned his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at UC-Berkeley, “But our role is to provide critical support services like inspections, licensing, training, dose and shielding assessment and personnel and occupational exposure monitoring.”

Sit and the radiation safety team make sure that the nine irradiators, 330 radiation producing machines, eight particle accelerators, two calibration facilities and the waste facility are all safe for Carolina’s patients and employees. The team also represents the University to the important regulatory agencies, without which no research could be done.

“The team represents the University to the important regulatory agencies, because UNC’s diverse research is highly dependent on radioactive materials and radiation generating equipment,” said Sit. “Without that oversight the regulatory agencies would not allow that research.”

Learn more about Environment, Health and Safety’s radiation safety efforts.

Biological Safety: Contributing to Scientific Advancement

Garry Coulson
Garry Coulson, University Biosafety Officer

Every day at Carolina, approximately 600 principle investigators and 5000 researchers work in 3500 campus laboratory spaces in 35 buildings on dozens of diseases and disorders, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), cancer, heart disease, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and much more. This important work is supported by five full-time biological safety (biosafety) specialists in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Environment, Health and Safety department, who promote the safe use of biological agents in the university’s research laboratories.

The biosafety team reviews the processes for working safely with biohazardous material, supporting proper handling and disposal to reduce the potential for exposure to infectious or harmful agents. In addition, the team leads safety committees and provides education, training and laboratory inspections. This important oversight work also includes ensuring research compliance with at least six national and other state and local regulatory agencies.

“The biosafety team, like all of the Environment, Health and Safety employees, knows how critical research is to the University, the state and the world,” said University Biosafety Officer Garry Coulson, who earned his Ph.D. in infectious diseases from the University of Georgia.

Previously a research associate specializing in bacterial respiratory pathogens, Coulson brings to his work a clear understanding of the research that he is supporting in his role in EHS. “Every day we come to work knowing we are contributing to scientific advancement and a better world.”

Learn more about Environment, Health and Safety’s biological safety efforts.

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