The National Institutes of Health will provide $61 million in grant funding to UNC-Chapel Hill as part of an effort to translate medical discoveries into improved patient treatment across the state.

The Clinical Translational Science Award to UNC is only one of 14 such programs picked by the NIH. Duke University had been selected earlier.

The grant covers five years.

UNC-CH will be part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium that is operated by the National Center for Research Resources, which is part of the NIH.

The funds will be used by UNC-CH to help establish the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, which will focus on working with communities to improve healthcare.

“This institute will transform the way research is performed in our state,” said William Roper, dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and chief executive officer of UNC Health Care. “The initiative will bridge science and clinical practice and speed up the movement of innovations from the laboratory bench to the bedside and the community.”

UNC-CH plans to create community research units, one of which is already operational in Greensboro. Also planned are a pediatric research network, a statewide registry of children afflicted with chronic disease, and a project with North Carolina Central University designed to help people better understand diseases.

The UNC program also will include work with other universities and RTI International and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers.