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Chancellor’s Innovation Fund

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 FY24

Major Gift Expands Support for Commercially Focused Research

A $900,000 gift to NC State will enable even more Wolfpack innovators to conduct commercially focused research in the coming years. Entrepreneur and investor Bill Spruill recently donated to the Chancellor’s Innovation Fund in order to support market-focused activities of funded projects.

Research on dog collars and vests embedded with microscale sensors continue in the lab of Alper Bozkurt on Centennial Campus. Photo by Marc Hall

Meet This Year’s Awardees

This year’s funded projects feature wearable EKG for dogs, better ways to capture carbon dioxide and synthesize or modify DNA, new tools to detect plant disease and bridge failure sooner, and a game-changing technique that could help drastically cut the costs of cutting-edge cancer treatment.

Research on dog collars and vests embedded with microscale sensors continue in the lab of Alper Bozkurt on Centennial Campus. Photo by Marc Hall

CIF Application Process

The CIF application process consists of three rounds:

Pre-proposals should be generated using the CIF 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. (Only projects with an invention disclosure on file with ORC will be considered.)

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? Does it completely eliminate it, or does it only mitigate, and 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

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.

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 and sent via email to the CIF Program Manager.

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.

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

CIF Eligibility

All NC State innovators eligible to serve as a Principal Investigator can apply to the CIF. The proposal must involve NC State-owned intellectual property and 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.

Schedule for CIF 2022-2023 Award Cycle

  • September 5, 2023 – Request for proposals released
  • October 5, 2023 – Pre-proposal submission deadline (proposals must be submitted by 12 PM noon)
  • December 12, 2023 – Semifinalists notified
  • January 17, 2024 – Full proposal submission deadline (5 PM)
  • February 5, 2024 – Finalists notified
  • March 19, 2024 – Innovator’s Pitch presentation to CIF Selection Committee
  • May 2024 – CIF award winners notified
  • June 2024 – CIF award winners kickoff meetings
  • July 1, 2024 – CIF award period begins
  • September 2024 – request for proposals (RFP) for next funding cycle released

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.