Center for Research Excellence (CRE)

The UNC Charlotte Center for Research Excellence (CRE) provides professional development opportunities for faculty seeking external funds to support their research and creative activity. CRE’s offerings include signature programs:

  1. Catalyst: The goal of Catalyst is to enhance the research capacity of the University and institutionalize systemic support for the advancement and success of early- and mid-career faculty by: (1) providing comprehensive training in the preparation of competitive grant proposals, (2) establishing a research mentoring program, and (3) creating a community of practice aimed at facilitating and promoting the engagement of diverse groups of faculty in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research.
  2. CLIPP (Complex, Large, or Interdisciplinary Proposal Preparation): CLIPP is intended to help build the research capacity of the University by providing enhanced support to teams of faculty interested in preparing and submitting large, complex grant proposals to external funding agencies.
  3. Ignite Planning Grants: The Ignite program aims to promote new collaborative research efforts and facilitate the development of interdisciplinary teams focused on preparing competitive, large-scale collaborative proposals for significant external funding. Ignite grants seek to enhance existing areas of excellence, accelerate the development of emerging research strengths, and foster interactions between UNC Charlotte faculty and potential collaborators at other institutions.
  4. Ignite for Centers (IC): IC grants focus on early-stage, pilot, and established University Centers to support and incentivize interdisciplinary research collaborations. The ultimate goal is to help accelerate UNC Charlotte’s success in attracting extramural funding, especially in the areas of focus and distinction identified in the Top-tier Research Commission Report.
  5. Faculty Research Grants: The Faculty Research Grants program provides is an internal seed grant program designed to assist faculty in conducting well-defined, purposeful, new research or creative or scholarly activities. Each individual project may have a maximum budget of $8,000. Faculty submitting joint proposals may request up to $16,000.
  6. Nexus: In partnership with the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Division of Research supports Nexus. Networking Across Disciplines fosters the emergence of interdisciplinary research teams by providing faculty with structured opportunities to learn about one another’s research and brainstorm areas of mutual interest. Through a series of workshops several months apart, Nexus supports the initial stages of project development as faculty formulate shared research questions, consider analytical strategies, and identify potential funding sources.

Other Services

The Center for Research Excellence also provides the following services:

  • Locating Funding: CRE maintains online resources that allow faculty to search for funding sources and list their expertise. We also perform custom funding searches and monitor and distribute print and electronic notices to faculty.
  • Identifying Collaborators: We can help faculty form interdisciplinary proposal teams and help you find UNC Charlotte collaborators.
  • CRE Editorial Services: We offer a range of editing and formatting services and can provide a critical reading of your proposal before it leaves campus.
  • Hanover Grants Proposal Review and Support: Hanover supports client-led grant proposal projects by providing review and revision services designed to ensure the strongest possible proposals are submitted.

Our Staff

We’re here to help you, so please contact us with your research questions and needs.

The CRE Director (Dr. LaVerne Ellerbe) oversees CRE’s internal funding signature programs and works with faculty to create interdisciplinary and multiple-collaborator external grant proposals. (Contact:

Our Assistant Director and Program Coordinator (Stacy Leotta) manages CRE’s Complex, Large, or Interdisciplinary Proposal Preparation (CLIPP) process in collaboration with senior researchers. Additionally, coordinates training programs, including Catalyst, CRE’s signature faculty professional development program, which is designed to support early and mid-career faculty in research and proposal development. (Contact:

Our Proposal Specialist (Katherine Alexander) assists faculty with proposal guideline review and proposal editing for external submission, conducts specialized information searches and can provide boilerplate text about UNC Charlotte information resources. (Contact:

The Research Assistant (Kailey Hess) performs customized funding searches, helps faculty locate electronic information and forms, and can also help you set up or fine-tune your profile in the Pivot faculty expertise database. (Contact:


Contact Stacy Leotta, Assistant Director & Program Coordinator in the Center for Research Excellence,