Awards and Honors, Staff

Innovation Grants Help Librarians Tap Into Creativity, Research

Students aren’t the only ones learning at the UNC Library. Thanks to a competitive Innovation Grants program, Library employees also have the chance to pursue projects that will help the Library make an impact on campus and beyond.

This year’s grant recipients will pursue projects to foster digital health research, manage complex biomedical data, and host resource nights at residence halls.


Lauren Tomola, Brian Moynihan, and Jennie Goforth are recipients of the UNC Library’s 2016 Innovation Grant.

Funding for the grants comes from unrestricted library endowment. Awardees will complete the following projects during the 2016-17 fiscal year:

Carolina Digital Health Research Initiative (CaDHRI) 

Awardee: Brian Moynihan 

Brian Moynihan, head of health information technology initiatives, is furthering the UNC Library’s commitment to innovation through the Carolina Digital Health Research Initiative (CaDHRI), the first such initiative that he knows of at a university library.

CaDHRI supports digital healthcare research on campus by hosting workshops, seminars, and interest groups, and by offering consultations to link health and technology researchers. The Innovation Grant funding will support the purchase of devices for the digital health lending library collection.

“This project is about much more than devices—it is a component of a larger effort to promote digital health in research, teaching, and clinical care,” said Brian. “We see the library as a hub that supports innovation not just through our device collection, but also through events, consultations, and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Brian is working on this project with Dr. Carlton Moore, associate professor of medicine at UNC School of Medicine; Gayatri Rathod, graduate research assistant; and Mihir Pershad, project coordinator.

Neuroimaging Data Organization 

Awardee: Lauren Tomola 

Neuroimaging datasets—or sets of information about gene expression, neurons, brain structure, and neurological disorders—are difficult to create and manage because they are so complex. A single dataset may contain scanned images, image analysis, clinical data, and patient demographics.

Lauren Tomola, AHEC knowledge management librarian, is piloting a program that will create a standardized way to describe neuroimaging datasets all researchers can understand and use. Lauren is working on this project with Dr. Javed Mostafa, director of the Carolina Health Informatics Program and professor of information science at the School of Information and Library Science with a joint appointment in the Biomedical Research and Imaging Center.

“Sharing scholarly data is a big research concern, for replicability, transparency, and building on existing research,” said Lauren. “And our hope is to come up with a model that can make this complex type of data easier to locate and understand.”

The Innovation Grant will fund the development of a metadata vocabulary and prototype database with an online web portal. The project will provide a new way for researchers to share multi-platform neuroimaging datasets and help make their data truly findable and accessible.

Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) 

Awardee: Jennie Goforth 

Often, students don’t use University resources either because they don’t know they exist, or because the location or hours are not convenient to their busy schedules. Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) is combatting all of those issues by bringing together staff from the UNC Library, Writing Center, and Learning Center so that students can have access to many resources in one place.

LNAP outreach events, managed by Research and Design Services Librarian Jennie Goforth, will occur four times each semester, at on-campus residence halls from 8 p.m. to midnight.

“Long Night Against Procrastination is allowing us to make new partners across campus and to take library services outside our buildings into the residence halls,” said Jennie. “We’re hopeful that the project will help students survive and succeed with their end-of-semester projects a little better!”

LNAP events further the Library’s mission of extending teaching and learning beyond the walls of the library.


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