There is increasing pressure on academic scientists to acquire research funding and to produce impactful research that stakeholders external to the research can capture value from. However, our understanding of the mechanisms by which funded scientists do this remain unclear. We conceptualize a two stage process of value capture in publicly funded research, the first being resource exchange and knowledge exploration and the second, exploiting the funded research to expand its use. Based on this framing we ask, what are the mechanisms through which value in use is captured in publicly funded research? We draw on interviews with 41 health science principal investigators (PIs) in New Zealand along with related secondary material. Our findings identify two value capture in use mechanisms – boundary spanning and brokering – that PIs employ to extend the use of their funded research to a diverse range of ecosystem actors. While boundary spanning facilitates efficient and deep value capture with select ecosystem actors, brokering allows for wider value capture by identifying, combining and balancing multiple ecosystem interests simultaneously. Our research shows that PIs are not only at the nexus of science to business interactions, their influence surpasses industry to incorporate much broader ecosystem engagement.