Established in 2010 by NC State with the support of Chancellor William R. (Randy) Woodson, the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) awards up to $50,000 to support short-term commercially-focused research projects. The CIF assists NC State innovators with reduction to practice and technology development needed to strengthen the commercial potential of intellectual property disclosed to the Office of Research Commercialization (ORC).

CIF Impact Through FY19

microscope- $3.4 million awarded to 51 projects

cycle $60 million in follow on funding

star 27 startups launched

price-tag $1.5M in licensing revenue

handshake 52 commercialization agreements executed

bar-graph 18:1 ROI

Read more about previous Chancellor’s Innovation Fund successes:


inventors holding ice cream

Turning Research Into Real-World Solutions

CIF’s 2020 awarded projects include a novel technique for infusing coffee into foods and groundbreaking developments in disease treatment — including a potential alternative to chemotherapy.

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Professor exhibiting technology

Out of the Lab and Into the World

CIF’s 2019 recipients are tackling everything from blood-clotting nanomaterials and canine cancer vaccines to more efficient electric vehicle chargers.

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Professor exhibiting technology

Investing in Ideas

CIF’s 2018 awardees are pursuing technologies that range from new anti-allergy therapies and potent anti-microbial agents to a complex virtual marine ecosystem modeling platform.

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NC State Boosts Efforts to Commercialize Research Discoveries

In 2017, seven more NC State projects will receive support from the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF). The funding will help researchers move innovative discoveries from lab bench to the marketplace, in areas ranging from the development of new antibiotics to the creation of faster, more accurate medical diagnostic tools.

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Bringing Ideas to Market

From new methods for creating biofuels and determining cardiovascular risk to fridge-free food processing and a more efficient fuel injector, NC State researchers are developing innovative approaches to global challenges.

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From the Lab to the Marketplace

The path from promising idea to marketable product is an uncertain one. Along the way there are funding gaps – key points where financial support for technology development can have a decisive impact. Four years ago, NC State launched the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund (CIF) to fill those gaps for researchers who have salable ideas.

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Guiding Ideas from the Research Lab to the Business World

North Carolina State University researchers make meaningful advances in science, medicine and engineering that could have a significant impact on everything from human health to the business of brewing beer. But moving from the lab to the marketplace takes more than research smarts.

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CIF Application Process

The CIF application process consists of three rounds:


Pre-proposals should be generated using the CIF 2020 Pre-proposal template and should be no more than two pages in length. Please submit an invention disclosure to the ORC for the technology related to the pre-proposal if you have not already done so. Pre-proposals will be evaluated based on the above CIF Program Criteria. Applicants should consider the following:

  • What is the market problem that your technology will address?
  • What are the consequences of the problem (time, money, wasted resources, etc)? Quantify where possible.
  • How is the problem currently being addressed, and why is this inadequate?
  • How does your solution address the outlined problem, and does it completely eliminate it, or does it only mitigate? If so, to what degree?
  • What do you expect your solution is worth to those who are experiencing the problem?
  • What specific research milestones are you seeking to reach that are of interest to potential commercialization partners?
  • How were the milestones determined? Were they requested by potential partners, are they general industry standards?

Pre-proposals do not have to be entered into PINS. They should be sent electronically to CIFprogram1@ncsu.edu.

Pre-proposals that pass the internal screening are reviewed and scored by external subject matter experts. Innovators with pre-proposals that best fit the evaluation criteria are invited to submit a full project proposal as semi-finalists.

Full proposal

The full proposal is a more detailed explanation of the proposed project and how it will enhance the commercialization potential of the technology, including a budget and timeline. Full proposals should be no more than five pages in length, not including appendices and supporting documents, and must be submitted via PINS.

All full proposals undergo review by external subject matter experts who evaluate which projects best fit the CIF Program Criteria. This review will lead to the identification of the CIF finalists.

Semi-finalist Innovators who are not selected to move on to the finalist presentation round will receive a written summary of external reviewer comments.

Innovator’s Pitch presentation

Finalists will be invited to make an Innovator’s Pitch presentation to the CIF Selection Committee.

The Innovator’s Pitch is a 10 minute presentation that outlines how the proposed project will accelerate the commercialization of the underlying technology, with a brief period for questions and answers. This is not an academic presentation of the science behind the technology. The pitch should briefly describe the technology and focus on the commercial opportunity that it represents and how the CIF funding will facilitate commercialization. Innovators work with their ORC licensing professional to prepare for the pitch.

The CIF Selection Committee consists of reviewers from external partners and NC State personnel with technology development, commercialization, and entrepreneurial expertise. The CIF Selection Committee will make award recommendations to the Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. Final CIF award selections are made by the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor. CIF award notifications will be made to Innovators via email.

Finalist Innovators who are not selected for a CIF award will be provided with detailed written feedback from the CIF Selection Committee along with any recommended resources to support their project.

CIF Criteria

CIF pre-proposals and proposals will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility
  • IP Status/Strength
  • Market Opportunity
  • Impact of award on licensability or commercial potential

fund process visualization

CIF Eligibility

All NC State innovators eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator can apply to the CIF. An invention disclosure for the technology must be on file with the Office of Research Commercialization (ORC) by the pre-proposal submission deadline.

The underlying technology is ineligible if it is already licensed, under option, or otherwise encumbered in the same field of use as the proposed project. Individuals serving as lead PIs on previous CIF awards will not be eligible for CIF funding in the following year.

Schedule for CIF Fiscal Year 2021

  • November 1, 2019 – Pre-proposal submission deadline
  • December 6, 2019 – Semi-finalists notified
  • February 7, 2020 – Full proposal submission deadline
  • March 9, 2020 – CIF Finalists notified
  • April 22, 2020 – Physical Sciences/Software Innovator’s Pitch presentation to CIF Selection Committee
  • April 29, 2020 – Life Sciences Innovator’s Pitch presentation to CIF Selection Committee
  • Week of May 18th, 2020 – CIF award winners notified
  • Week of May 25th, 2020 – CIF award winners kickoff meeting
  • July 1, 2020 – CIF award period begins

Terms of Award

All projects and funds must be completed/expended within 12 months from the date of award. Award recipients may submit a written request for a one-time, no-cost extension no later than month 10 of the 12-month award period.

Award recipients will be required to meet regularly with the CIF Program Manager and their ORC licensing professional to review progress and prepare for industry engagement.

One to two page progress reports must be submitted quarterly, and a final report must be submitted within thirty (30) days of the award period to the CIF Program Manager.

If qualifying matching funds are received from either the associated College and/or Department, the share of future license revenue for that unit(s), as described in NC State’s Patent Policy and Royalty Sharing Regulation, will be increased up to a maximum of 10%. A qualifying match is defined as funding provided by the College or Department that is equal to or greater than the amount requested in the CIF proposal. The provision of work release or equipment for CIF proposals is not considered a qualifying match.


Please contact New Ventures Associate Amy Parker.