Research and Innovation Solutions at UNC Gillings

Our Commitment to Ethical Research
The Gillings School of Global Public Health is committed to expanding and disseminating knowledge for the benefit of the people of North Carolina and the world. An important part of that commitment to knowledge is research of the highest ethical standards.
Research and Innovation Solutions (RIS) at Gillings School of Global Public Health promotes faculty and student research, innovation, and entrepreneurship across the school. Through programs funded by the $50 million Gillings gift, we promote innovative solutions to public health problems, including increased use of entrepreneurial tools to extend the impact of those solutions.  Specifically, we support researchers by helping to grow and diversity research funding; facilitating responses to large grant announcements; working with people across the university to create new tools for faculty members who conduct research; preparing an annual research report that illustrates strengths, trends and needs; and implementing research policies to protect and enhance resources.  RIS manages research conflicts of interest assessments and plans for school faculty and leads the Gillings School’s Research Council. The Gillings gift funds research grants (notably, the Gillings Innovation Labs), visiting professors (including an entrepreneur in residence), students, and select strategic investments such as the UNC Water Institute.  To support innovation and entrepreneurship, we assist in technology transfer, funding partners, and strategic advice on commercialization.

RIS provides guidance and resources for:

  1. Innovationstudent and faculty innovations, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, and commercialization
  2. EntrepreneurshipGuidance on launching start-ups, social ventures, etc. 
  3. Research:

RIS directly oversees and supports the following programs:


RIS provides indirect support for other University programs, including:


Who we are


Sandra Martin, PhD

Associate Dean for Research

Julie MacMillan

Julie MacMillan, MPH

Managing Director

Christin Daniels

Christin Daniels, MA

Director of Research

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Erin Johnson

Assistant Director

Don Holzworth

Don Holzworth, MS

Executive In Residence

Elisia Black

Elisia Black

Administrative Assistant


Retired programs supported by RIS: