MCNC is selling its three cutting-edge technology research and development groups to the Research Triangle Institute International, the organizations disclosed Wednesday morning.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The sale is part of an effort by MCNC to refocus its efforts on creating new companies and jobs in North Carolina, a spokesman for MCNC stressed to Local Tech Wire. As part of that plan, MCNC announced a new grant program of up to $500,000 a year for startup companies. These grants will be awarded through the MCNC Research and Development Institute.

The sale does not affect either MCNC’s venture capital group or its networking organization, which is developing grid computer technology and maintains a statewide communications network that is used by the University of North Carolina system.

Sold to RTI are three groups:

Advanced Networking

Signals Electronics Group

Materials and Electronic Technology Group

RTI and MCNC said the employees of those groups would become RTI employees. RTI will lease the space where the groups currently work from MCNC.

The research groups are involved in several programs for the US government and defense departments. Much of the work is secretive in nature but is known to apply to networking technology, signals encryption and electronic chip fabrication.

The R&D group has developed technology in the past that has been spun off and commercialized.

RTI said the three groups would be folded into its Science and Engineering Group.