Durham, NC - 9/21/2023

Statement on NCInnovation’s Inclusion in State Budget Conference Report

Durham, NC – The state budget conference report, released today, creates a $500 million endowment for NCInnovation through the allocation of $250 million in each year of the biennium.

Under the budget provisions, NCInnovation will be able to allocate up to $140 million over the biennium to support regional innovation networks, partnerships between industry and academia, and North Carolina research universities. The balance will remain in an endowment that will fund research grants and support services well into the future.

Kelly King, Chairman of NCInnovation’s Board of Directors and former CEO of Truist Financial Corp., said:

“Thank you to the visionary policymakers and staff who have worked with us for months on this historic investment.

“I believe in NCInnovation’s promise, and I’m not alone. Leaders in North Carolina and across the country – people who’ve built commercial enterprises and have deep experience in finance, academia, and industry – say NCInnovation is a national model for translating university research into jobs.

“It’s time to get to work doing just that.”

Bennet Waters, CEO of NCInnovation, said:

“Thank you to legislators for resourcing NCInnovation under this adapted funding model, which combines an endowment with authority to spend adequate amounts in the coming years as NCInnovation begins translating research into jobs. We’re excited to get to work on behalf of North Carolinians.”

NCInnovation will distribute grants to North Carolina university researchers. The researchers will use the grants for late-stage research activities to bring a proof-of-concept to the point it’s commercially viable – that is, to the point a researcher can start a company, attract private investors, and create jobs.

In addition to grants, NCInnovation will also offer wrap-around support services to researchers trying to commercialize their work. Those services include legal/IP protection, market analyses, and mentorship in starting a business and attracting private capital. NCInnovation has already finalized initial operations at four “anchor” institutions in the UNC System.

In the coming months, NCInnovation will operationalize the rules, procedures, and reporting required by the legislature and pursue grantmaking activities in 2024.

NCInnovation is 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation focused intensely on accelerating commercialized innovation from North Carolina’s universities. NCInnovation deploys funding, mentors, and support services so that North Carolina university proofs-of-concept turn into companies and create jobs that remain in North Carolina. Learn more at