John Hardin

John Hardin is the Executive Director for the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, which is staffed by Office of Science, Technology & Innovation in the North Carolina Department of Commerce. He was appointed Acting Director in spring 2008 and Executive Director in fall 2009. From 2003 to 2008, he served as the Board's Deputy Director and Chief Policy Analyst.

The Board advises and makes recommendations to the North Carolina Governor, General Assembly, Secretary of Commerce, and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on the role of science, technology and innovation in the economic growth and development of the state. Created in 1963 (the first such organization in the US), the Board has been responsible for the creation of a number of internationally recognized initiatives to catalyze the transformation of the North Carolina economy by leveraging research & development, science, innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development.

Hardin’s duties include developing and justifying legislation related to defining statewide research capacity and structure; implementing science, technology and innovation-related economic development policy and resource allocations; research, analysis, and review of substantive policy issues and proposals; preparing public policy and budget analyses; preparing and presenting high-level state policy briefings, assessments, and reports to policy makers and external constituencies; conducting strategic planning and making recommendations for technology-based economic development; directing and overseeing strategic initiatives with impact at the state level; and overseeing the administration of grant programs to support technology commercialization by North Carolina small businesses.

He currently serves as a board member for the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) and the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. He also serves as a member of the Governing Committee of the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), the Executive Committee of the PowerAmerica Institute at North Carolina State University, the Executive Committee of the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative, the Advisory Committee of the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network, the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Science Festival, the External Advisory Board for the Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing at NC A&T State University, the Technical Advisory Committee of the Renewable Ocean Energy Program at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, the State Supply Chain & Workforce Advisory Board for the Business Network for Offshore Wind, and the Steering Committee for the North Carolina Center for Optimizing Military Performance (NC-COMP). He previously served as a board member for the North Carolina Center of Innovation Network, the Kenan Fellows Program, Families Moving Forward in Durham, Triangle Day School in Durham, FIRST North Carolina, and as an External Advisory Board member of the Genetic Engineering & Society Program at North Carolina State University, and on the Industrial Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Revolutionalizing Metallic Biomaterials at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

From 1998 to 2003, he served as Assistant Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs at the University of North Carolina (UNC) system office. The Research and Sponsored Programs division advised and assisted the University president in the planning, administrative review, development, promotion, and evaluation of research and sponsored programs within the 17 UNC institutions. From 1998 to 2005, he held an Adjunct Assistant Professor position in the Department of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught courses on American government, political institutions, and state and local politics. From 2006-2018, he was a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he taught courses on American politics, public policy, science policy, and policy analysis. His research and teaching interests focus on American politics and public policy, particularly on how legislative and executive institutions simultaneously shape and respond to changing issue agendas.

He has published articles in the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, the Annals of Science and Technology Policy, and the Economics of Innovation and New Technologies, book chapters in the Oxford Handbook of Local Competitiveness, Policy Dynamics, and Pathways to High-Tech Valleys and Research Triangles, and more than 50 administrative and policy reports for state government and UNC. He also has made over 150 presentations at state, national, and international conferences, symposia, and meetings.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hardin holds the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill, a B.A. in economics from Baylor University, and a certificate of completion for the Leadership Decision Making program, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife, Jane, live in Durham and have two adult daughters. 

Dr. Hardin can be reached at (919) 814-4639 and

This page was last modified on 10/27/2023