C3 is a science and technology nonprofit that is the Kentucky flagship for supporting and accelerating invention and entrepreneurship across the state. C3 serves as a vehicle for partnerships with public Kentucky universities and colleges in an effort to transition ideas and intellectual property into products and businesses through investment. Its roles include a commercialization core team, development of robust legal resources for businesses, an accelerator and federal and state innovation fund assistance. The mission and operations of C3 represent a national-model statewide collaboration and satisfy the Kentucky Innovation Act statute regulations.
  • Commercialization Core – largely operated and maintained through a partnership led by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville and involving Kentucky’s public universities and colleges. This arm of C3 supports efforts of other partnering Kentucky universities to protect and commercialize ideas of faculty, staff and students, as applicable and in accordance with participating institution intellectual property policies.
  • C3 Legal – an initiative that aims to advance the network of high-quality, affordable legal services available to startup companies in Kentucky.
  • Accelerator – a competitive entry accelerator program, with an initial focus on agriculture technology, that allocates risk capital to participants in exchange for an equity stake in the venture.
  • SBIR/STTR Consulting and Matching Funds Program – a robust competitive matching program offered to companies who have received funding previously through the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and/or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
  • Kentucky Enterprise Fund (KEF) – a program geared at accelerating knowledge transfer and technological innovation, improving economic competitiveness, and spurring economic growth in Kentucky-based companies through grants and direct equity investments.
  • Foster high growth innovation
  • Centralize university technology transfer efforts, and liaise between the state’s public universities and colleges and other economic development programs and initiatives.
  • Engage communities
  • Build relationships in a supportive business environment
  • Invest in startups and scaleups
  • Attract outside capital and business partnerships


C3 serves as a vehicle for partnerships with public Kentucky universities and colleges in an effort to transition ideas and intellectual property into products and businesses through investment. Kentucky’s public universities and colleges are partners in the C3 University Core as a shared resource. The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have partnered with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to lead the development of this statewide collaboration. In addition, participating institutions include:



The KYNETIC (Kentucky Network for Innovation & Commercialization) program supports faculty (including basic scientists, clinicians, and physicians), staff, and trainees, who want to take their ground-breaking healthcare-related research/discoveries, product inventions or improvements that they are developing in their laboratories or daily practice to the marketplace to improve human health. KYNETIC does this by:
  • Developing infrastructure for identifying technologies;
  • Allocating funding (up to $200k/technology) for product definition studies (e.g., feasibility studies, prototype development, or proof-of-concept studies);
  • Providing access to early-stage development expertise and mentorship;
  • Offering hands-on skills development in entrepreneurism; and
  • Accelerating development of commercialization strategies.
Eligible KYNETIC technologies must originate from a participating University or community/technical college in Kentucky and focus on healthcare-related products. The KYNETIC program is funded through the National Institute of Health’s Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hub (REACH) program. The goal of the program is to support proof-of-concept centers (hubs) that facilitate and accelerate the translation of biomedical innovations into commercial products that improve patient care and enhance health. The KYNETIC hub is led by the University of Kentucky (UK), University of Louisville (UofL) and Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3).  The long-term goals of the program are to foster commercialization success, economic development and entrepreneurial culture change throughout Kentucky.



  • Why is KYNETIC different from other grant programs? It is important to note that the KYNETIC program is not a traditional grant program; it is product-focused and requires business-case project management. Applicants who are invited to submit a full application will work with a mentor to develop a product development plan and timeline with specified milestones.

  • What benchmarks will I have to meet in the program?
    Receipt of funding for selected projects will be milestone-driven and KYNETIC staff will monitor project progress. There will be a continuation evaluation (go/no-go decision) about every six months and non-progressing projects may be terminated and replaced with new projects.

  • Who is eligible for the KYNETIC program?
    This RFA is open to all faculty (including basic scientists, clinicians, and physicians), staff, and trainees with products originating at a participating university or community/technical college in Kentucky with a focus on healthcare-related products. All types of products (e.g. therapeutic, preventative, device, test, software) are eligible. Previously funded projects from Cycles 1 through 5 are eligible for competitive renewal. Having multiple Principal Investigators (up to three) is optional but permitted.

  • Does my product have to treat one specific disease? There is no disease-specific requirement, but some funds are restricted.

  • What’s the policy on intellectual property? Applications should involve ideas that originate at a participating university or community/technical college in Kentucky (making them potentially eligible for patent protection or some other mechanism that will return income to the program) or technologies with pending/issued patents or copyright. Technologies that are already licensed to a company are not eligible.

  • What’s the budget? Requests for $25,000 to $50,000 total per project, over a period of up to 8 months, will be considered.



Do you have an idea you’d like to share with us?

The downloadable Idea Disclosure Form below is for use by faculty, staff and students of C3 partner universities and college. Download Idea Disclosure Form C3 is here to help with the commercialization process by taking ideas to product via the following steps: chart For questions about the commercialization process and how C3 can help you, email April Turley, director of the commercialization core, at april@c3kentucky.com.


  • C3 Accelerator: All investments made by this platform will be direct equity investments into the companies participating in the accelerator’s programs.
    • Upon acceptance into the accelerator, each company receives an investment of $50,000 for a 3-7 percent equity stake in the company.
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching grant programs: provides non-dilutive matching funds based on the applying company’s total amount of federal funding.
    • Matching funds available to both Phase I and Phase II SBIR recipients with maximum matching funds of $150,000 and $500,000 respectively.
  • Kentucky Enterprise Fund (KEF): The purpose of these funds is to ultimately provide capital to small and medium-size, Kentucky-based companies. KEF will also aid in undertaking feasibility, concept development, research and development, or commercialization work in partnership with colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. These funds will appear in one of three forms:
    • Grants
    • Fund of funds
    • Direct equity investments/follow-on investments
  • Kentucky Innovation Fund Investment Thesis
  • For more information on C3 investments, please email Analyst@c3kentucky.com.

C3 in the news

Groundbreaking Grant Will Transform Kentucky’s Healthcare Startup Ecosystem

A $4 million grant has been awarded to UK, UofL, C3, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

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Kentucky one of five recipients of NIH hubs to accelerate development of biomedical health technologies

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $20 million to fund five hubs

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New Science, Technology Nonprofit Venture Capital Fund Provides Funds for AgTech Company

C3 invests $150,000 in Smart Farm through Kentucky Enterprise Fund 2.0.

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Murray State Faculty, Staff, Students Connect with Science, Technology Nonprofit C3 for Discussion of Research Commercialization

Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3) visited Murray State.

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C3 Board of Directors

Jackson Andrews

Terry Gill

Wendy Lea

Ian McClure

Brian Mefford

Vivek Sarin

Aaron Thompson

C3 Staff

April Turley

Director, Commercialization Core


Michelle Perry

Commercialization Culture Manager


Amanda Kool

Director, Legal Operations


Megan Aanstoos

Licensing & New Ventures Manager


Rebecca Arnett

Office Manager & Executive Assistant