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UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp has been named chair of a new National Research Council committee tasked with establishing and promoting a culture of safety in academic laboratory research.

Thorp is among 13 academic and industry leaders who will review laboratory practices and attitudes, then make recommendations that would improve the safety performance of U.S. laboratories conducting chemistry research.

“Laboratory incidents in the academic community have greatly concerned many in academia,” said Thorp. “This committee will learn from these incidents and create an atmosphere in which safety is paramount, from the highest levels of administration, down through schools and departments, to individual faculty and staff.”

The committee will meet at least four times during the coming year to acquire information, visit relevant sites, deliberate on issues and develop its report. Its first meeting is May 14-16, and the committee will make its recommendations to the National Research Council early next year.

Thorp has served on several national advisory panels, including the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board. His other national leadership appointments cover topics including innovation and entrepreneurship, college costs, national security, and improving retention and degree attainment. He also served as chair of UNC’s chemistry department from 2005 to 2007.

Published April 4, 2013.