Successfully commercializing technology discovered at universities is a Gordian knot not often unraveled. A proposed $2.5 million fund in a North Carolina bill introduced this week aims to bring more companies to market from university-born ideas.

Senate Bill 826 casts a wide net in an attempt to accelerate business development across North Carolina, from approval of crowdfunding to a $100 million startup venture fund to a new state-wide entrepreneurial organizational effort – and university commercialization.

The bill creates what it calls a “University Innovation Commercialization Grant Program.” if passed, it would receive $2.5 million in funding.

The goal: “[T]o increase the number of high‑tech start‑up companies and enhance job creation resulting from research conducted by North Carolina’s universities and research‑focused nonprofit corporations.”

The Office of Science, Technology, and Innovation in the Department of Commerce would oversee it, creating a competitive bid process.

Of the $2.5 million, up to 10 percent could go to one or more nonprofit groups to help:

  • Select university technologies for development based on commercial potential.
  • Create a development plan of key activities to make the technologies more attractive to investors.
  • Guide implementation of these activities to assure efficient deployment of funds and commercial‑quality results.

However, each of the nonprofits must meet requirements such as “expertise” in life science and information technology.

A commercialization effort must be recommended by and receive guidance from a nonprofit, and it must be affiliated with a University of North Carolina institution or a private college/university located in the state.

Read the full bill at: