“This is not your daddy’s NC State when it comes to research,” warns Vice Chancellor for Research Charles Moreland. In the past 10 years, NC State’s model of industry partnerships in innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development has become so successful that the university has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to document and disseminate the model to other universities.

“The real key has been the development of our seed stage venture capital fund, Centennial Venture Partners (now renamed Academy Centennial Fund), which has grown to a family of three progressively larger seed funds,” Moreland says. “Since most university spin-offs aren’t really ready to go after major venture capital, this seed stage fund helps fund the companies through the early period of developing a business plan, proving the concept, attracting experienced management talent, and developing a commercialization plan that will appeal to larger funds.”

The proof of the fund’s success, says Glenn Kline, managing director of Academy Funds, is that the money and guidance invested by the Academy Centennial Fund over the past three years have helped its client companies attract 12 times that amount from other, larger funds. In addition, the value of Academy Centennial Fund’s portfolio of companies is now three times what it was when it started. An unexpected bonus is that the companies that started with the fund’s support have already contracted with NC State faculty for more than $1.5 million in research.

“The reason we’ve been so successful,” says Kline, “is that the chancellor and vice chancellor for research at NC State are so supportive of the model and have a willingness to blaze new and creative trails. I think this signals to the entrepreneurs and the public that moving value from academia to the public is part of the big picture at the ‘New NC State’.”

For more information, please visit http://www.academyfunds.com

A report from the Southern Growth Policies Board (SGPB) has placed NC State’s Office of Technology Transfer in a three-way tie for its best-in-class ranking following a study of technology transfer operations at 72 research institutions in the United States. Johns Hopkins University and the University of Georgia also tied for the top. “It’s great to be Number One in the ACC,” joked Vice Chancellor Charles Moreland, “and we’re certainly in great company.”

The report is the fourth in a series of performance benchmarking efforts undertaken by the SGPB with National Science Foundation support. Performance information was collected in three general areas: patent award rates; license rates and royalty income; and the number of new companies started based on university technologies and other economic impact measures.

In 2000, the Association of University Technology Managers ranked NC State fourth in the nation in the number of start-up companies established, just behind Stanford, MIT, and the University of California’s nine-campus system. According to David Winwood, assistant vice chancellor for technology transfer, “The current year has been the biggest year ever for number of spin-offs from NC State, and will likely lead to a further upgrade in the university’s national ranking in technology transfer activities.”

For more information, please visit http://www.ncsu.edu/ott/