In four years, 23 projects have earned funding from the CIF. The $1.3 million invested in them has generated $4.2 million in follow-on funding and $460,000 in licensing revenue for the university, as well as launching six startup companies.
Each year, roughly 75 faculty members file CIF proposals. After initial screening, finalists pitch their technology development projects to a selection committee comprising representatives of university innovation partners: Eastman Chemical, Rex Healthcare, the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, First Flight Venture Center, HQ Raleigh, the Kenan Institute, NC Idea Fund Partners, Hatteras Venture Partners, the Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Small Business Technology Development Center.
Chancellor Randy Woodson makes the final selections, with input from NC State’s vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development, Terri Lomax.
Proof-of-concept funds like the CIF are critical to supporting innovators, says Kelly B. Sexton, director of the Office of Technology Transfer. The presence of Research Triangle partners in the review process differentiates NC State’s fund from others.
“We’re working really hard to get the voice of the marketplace into the lab and make sure that the commitments we’re making through the CIF (are) based on validated market needs,” she said.