NCRC + NCFIL: Growth In Place
June 24, 2020
With a mission to empower human health through nutrition, the North Carolina Research Campus makes sense as a home to and partner with the NC Food Innovation Lab, which is dedicated to supporting plant-based food innovators.
NCRC in Kannapolis is a 350-acre research campus north of Charlotte, NC, with a “scientific community representing eight universities, the David H. Murdock Research Institute, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, global companies and entrepreneurs [who] focus research and development on safer, more nutritious crops, healthier foods and precision nutrition.”
Securing NCFIL Location
NCRC scientists research the role plant compounds play in achieving healthy lives and preventing disease. Therefore, when initial discussions of a NC food processing innovation center surfaced, it made good sense to consider NCRC as a location. Castle & Cooke North Carolina President Mark Spitzer worked with the NCDA&CS and NC Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler, NC State CALS Dean Richard Linton and Golden LEAF to make the NCFIL & NCRC partnership come to fruition.
NC State’s strong existing NCRC presence with the Plants for Human Health Institute is just one reason Spitzer lobbied the NC Legislature for support to build what would eventually be called NCFIL in the NCRC Core Lab Building. And the rest is history.
NCRC + NCFIL Synergies
Spitzer says, “NCRC and NCFIL are committed to working with both large companies and local entrepreneurs to create new jobs, attract businesses and generate income for North Carolina as the state seeks to pursue and enable food manufacturing, processing and packaging.”
NCRC has been strictly focused on research for the past 10 years, but now, NCFIL presents the ability to turn to commercialization and economic opportunity. According to Spitzer, NCFIL is that translational piece—it enables research to translate into economic value, which helps the state validate its investment in NCRC and NCFIL.
Ace in the Hole
NCRC is confident in NCFIL’s ability to attract new clients, and Aimutis is a big factor in that equation. “In my 40 years in industry and academia, I’ve never met a person better suited for his position. Dr. Bill Aimutis is a perfect fit because of both his academic understanding as well as his career experience working for large companies,” explains Spitzer. Under Aimutis’s leadership, NCFIL will soon deliver tangible value for the work being conducted at NCRC.
Partnership for Success
NCRC and NCFIL will work together to improve people’s lives, add to the state’s economy, and grow North Carolina’s food manufacturing, processing and packaging industry.