North Carolina Strategic Research Capacity and Partnership Initiative

7/1/2020 – 6/30/2022


This grant supported the NC Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP) in its work to enhance partnerships between state government and North Carolina’s research and philanthropic sectors. This includes elevating the State’s internal capacity to generate and use evidence in policy and programmatic decision-making.

Over the last two years, OSP increased the number of government-research partnerships in development or underway and moved ongoing projects forward; developed and launched the NC Project Portal, a tool for sharing partnership opportunities with state agencies; expanded its collaborative network of public officials, research partners (at colleges and universities across NC including HBCUs, MSIs, and community colleges), and partners from philanthropy; hosted 25+ in-person and virtual cross-sector learning and engagement opportunities; and grew the OSP team, adding new staff, interns/associates, and OSP Advisory Group members.

In addition to “regular” partnerships work, COVID-19 highlighted the need for more and better partnership across sectors on all types of issues. OSP responded to COVID-19 needs in multiple ways, including but not limited to creating the NC COVID-19 Student Response Corps, an internship program for students to serve in government and nonprofits; conducting a survey and analysis of the North Carolina nonprofit sector and the impact of COVID-19; providing information about specific COVID-19 related needs with NC philanthropies; and contributing to vaccine related efforts through information sharing and data analysis.

OSP maintained regular, substantive communication with partners and potential partners across NC (and nationally) to share opportunities for getting involved, information about projects underway and relevant resources, upcoming OSP and other events (e.g., Monthly Connect series) related to partnerships, and more. In these communications and overall efforts, OSP has been intentional about engaging with diverse (in many ways) individuals and organizations to ensure opportunities and information are shared consistently and equitably. OSP is committed to involving students whenever possible. These and other areas provide constant opportunities for OSP and our partners to learn from, refine, and improve our work to increase our collective impact.