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February 06, 2024 | Tom Ballard

NCInnovation goes all-in on commercialization

The nonprofit's $500 million endowment will be used to rescue university research innovations from “the valley of death.”

So, if you were allocated $500 million by your state’s legislature, how might you best use the dollars for a maximum return on investment? NCInnovation has decided to invest its dollars in rescuing university research innovations from “the valley of death,” according to this article in WilmingtonBiz.

The Tar Heel State ranks second nationally in research development dollars allotted to the university system, but 20th in the output of those dollars in things like start-ups and patents, according to NCInnovation which began in 2018 as a discussion between North Carolina business executives with an interest in bringing C-suite leadership to impact North Carolina’s innovation future. Initially known as “The Innovation State,” the effort evolved into a nonprofit named NCInnovation.

The General Assembly granted the $500 million in an endowment, to let it accumulate interest. That interest will be used to fund the grants, creating a replenishable pool of money to pull from. The goal is to help North Carolina universities commercialize the finished product of their research. The mission stems from a disconnect between the state’s academic research distinctions and the commercialization of that research.

NCInnovation is led by a 13-member Board of Directors that is composed of current or retired business executives and one economic development leader.


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