Jan 26 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis announced today that the National Science Foundation (NSF) selected two North Carolina organizations for its first-ever Regional Innovation Engines Program (Engines). The recipients are the Piedmont Triad Regenerative Medicine Engine, led by the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), and the North Carolina Sustainable Textiles Innovation Engine, led by the Industrial Commons. Each will initially receive up to $15 million for two years and up to $160 million over 10 years. Senator Tillis was a strong advocate for both applicants and funding will come from the CHIPS and Science Act which he supported.

“North Carolina is an innovation leader and I am proud that two North Carolina organizations, the WFIRM and the Industrial Commons, have been selected as the leads for the NSF Engines Program,” said Senator Tillis. “I am glad to see the CHIPS Act provide smart federal investments to boost regional economic development and our innovation ecosystem.” 

The Piedmont Triad Regenerative Medicine Engine, based in Winston-Salem, will tap the world’s largest regenerative medicine cluster to create and scale breakthrough clinical therapies, contributing to an ever-growing industry that is key to healthcare delivery. WFIRM will lead this program, which includes a total of 80 partner organizations across the Piedmont.

The North Carolina Sustainable Textiles Innovation Engine will be led by the Industrial Commons, based in Morganton, along with a total of 17 partners organizations concentrated in North Carolina, and extending to South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Engine will revolutionize the $90 billion textile industry by developing sustainable fabrics.

The NSF Engines represent one of the single largest broad investments in place-based research and development in the nation's history – uniquely placing science and technology leadership as the central driver for regional economic competitiveness. The announcement delivers on the bipartisan priorities outlined in the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022," which authorized the NSF Engines program. Launched in May 2022, the NSF Engines program uniquely harnesses the nation's science and technology research and development enterprise and regional-level resources. A total of 188 proposal were submitted, and a total of 8 finalists were selected for the NSF Engines Program.