Research & Innovation

Research & Innovation

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are research protocols that use human participants to help researchers test the effectiveness of new drugs, medical devices and procedures. Without them, it would not be possible to advance health care.

UNC Hospitals’ relationship with the UNC School of Medicine creates a productive environment for clinical research. Patients benefit from the most promising new developments in medical research while advancing health care through their participation in such studies.

In addition, collaboration among our affiliates provides access to clinical trials to UNC Health Care patients across the state. Some examples include:

A major challenge for researchers can be finding patients to participate in clinical trials. Join the Conquest is a recruitment program developed by NC TraCS that seeks to remedy this participation gap by connecting researchers ready to begin human trials with volunteers eager to help advance scientific research.

Center for Innovation

The UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine Center for Innovation is a small resource center that promotes the development of patient-centered innovations designed to address the current challenges facing our nation’s health care delivery system related to cost efficiency, quality of care, innovative health care delivery, and alignment of incentives among industry participants.


UNC is home to the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute. The NC TraCS Institute, made possible by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health, works to accelerate clinical and translational research discoveries from the lab to the clinic where patients need it most.

NC TraCS offers several programs to help researchers give their research the widest impact, awarding pilot grants, offering research training and early career mentoring programs, and using community outreach to create a presence in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

Carolina Kickstart

To help support emerging startups, NC TraCS offers a venture development program called Carolina Kickstart focused on launching biomedical startups based on UNC research. To date, Carolina Kickstart has helped launch 38 companies based on UNC Health Care research, with 11 launched in 2014 alone.

REX Strategic Innovations

Rex Strategic Innovations is a platform created by UNC REX Healthcare to aid the development of innovative technologies and companies in the health care sector. The mission of Rex Strategic Innovations is to enable access to health care products that will improve patient care.
Rex Strategic Innovations has four areas of focus:

  • Supporting the development of new treatments, tools, products and services through REX Health Ventures
  • Identifying potential health care delivery problems and partnering with organizations and individuals to advance potential solutions through REX Health Solutions
  • Turning innovative ideas into compelling products and services through the REX Innovation Facilitator
  • A grant program currently in development called REXCommunity Impact Grants intended for organizations and individuals working to improve patient care or reduce health care costs.