State initiatives that build innovation capacity by supporting local academic research, attracting eminent scholars, and building research excellence have become prominent among the 50 states over the past 30 years. This article focuses on three programs: University Research Grants, Eminent Scholars, and Centers of Excellence. We include examples for each of the state programs and trace the historical evolution of program attributes. Our objectives are to differentiate program attributes to improve understanding of state science initiatives and to begin to assess how programs contribute to the ultimate goal of creating economic growth. Our empirical analysis demonstrates evidence of the long-term impact of these three programs in building state innovative capacity. The article concludes by outlining how these data may be used in future analyses.