Program Goals

Funded by the $50 million gift from Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings, Gillings Innovation Labs (GILs) engage in cutting-edge research, translation of interventions to high-impact settings, and development of novel technologies or methodologies for the improvement of public health, both locally and globally.  GILs are innovative, interdisciplinary, and strive to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in public health.

What makes a successful GIL proposal?

Accelerating Translation of Discoveries

One of the primary goals of Gillings Innovation Labs is to accelerate the translation of public health discoveries and knowledge into practice. To facilitate this process, we encourage use of open-source technologies that permit broadest access to methods and results across geographic, disciplinary and other boundaries. We also encourage GIL participants to share tools and disseminate project findings widely and through a variety of mediums.

Collaborating Across Disciplines

Gillings Innovation Labs engage interdisciplinary teams, train future public health leaders, and encourage connections among academic scholars, communities, governments, and organizations committed to preventing and solving public health threats. Proposals that aim to build linkages between community and clinical settings are especially encouraged.

Delivering Proven Solutions Faster

This round, we encourage proposals for cross-department, interdisciplinary implementation science projects that will position the Gillings School for national and global leadership. Gillings Innovation Labs should endeavor to expedite solutions to public health challenges through effective implementation and dissemination of interventions in high-impact settings. For more information, see “What is Implementation Science?” (PDF) and this related journal article (PDF).

Global and Local Focus

Challenges to public health occur at local, state, regional, national and international levels. Solutions to challenges at any of those levels may be proposed, as well as solutions to challenges that cross the barriers of geography, environment, culture, income, and education, or solutions that have benefits that extend beyond the populations in which they are initially demonstrated.

Training the Next Generation of Public Health Leaders

We encourage proposals that include participation and engagement of UNC students and trainees.

A Sustainable Approach

Gillings Innovation Labs are well-suited for projects that are early-stage and higher-risk and are consequently less competitive for common funding mechanisms. GIL awards are intended to kick-start initial support for a promising area of public health research or an innovative public health solution, and should facilitate awardees’ ability to acquire additional funding after the GIL award period has ended.