NCInnovation to Report on Spending, First Round of Grants

The House Oversight and Reform Select Committee has called NCInnovation (NCI) CEO Bennet Waters to testify before the committee Tuesday, July 9, at 9 a.m. in the Legislative Building’s Blue Ridge Auditorium.

NCI is a public-private partnership intended to speed commercialization of university research. After proposals to fund NCI from the earnings of a $1.425 billion endowment, the final 2023 budget bill (HB 259, SL 2023-134) included two appropriations to the endowment of $250 million each.

“The General Assembly made a big bet on NCInnovation. If it succeeds in bringing university research to market, the state will reap significant returns,” said co-chair Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan). “NCI leadership has not publicly addressed its funding assumptions or its operations. This hearing can be a step to increase our comfort with putting so much faith in one organization’s ability to pick winning technologies.”

Committee members have questions on NCI’s legislative reporting, receipt and use of state funds, its operations and grantmaking, its funding assumptions, and its long-term plans.

Co-chair Rep. Jake Johnson (R-Polk) noted, “NCInnovation intentionally chose two projects from each region, which does raise concerns of how much it is making decisions on merit and how much on political considerations.”