Director of the Office of Innovation Commercialization

Iowa, United States
Salary Not specified
Dec 17, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The Director of the Office of Innovation Commercialization has oversight for the Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer and the Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc. The director provides successful management of innovations and corporate engagement, and ownership, protection and licensing of inventions to established companies and new ventures, and supports and creates opportunities for economic development. The director embodies forward-looking agile leadership, demonstrates strategic thinking abilities and creates a vision in support of the university's mission to implement industry funded research agreements, and to transfer and commercialize technology arising from its research enterprise, resulting in the expanded use of university intellectual property in industry and entrepreneurial ventures. The director works collaboratively with senior administration, faculty and staff researchers, and research centers and institutes to facilitate technology commercialization. The director proactively seeks out and establishes innovative research and commercialization partnerships between the university and corporate partners. The director should focus not only on commercialization of academic intellectual property, but also to catalyze innovative capacity through proactive engagement and educational outreach to researchers on impactful science that spurs economic development. The director is engaged with peers at other universities, aware of current national and international trends in intellectual property and licensing, and engaged in managing adoption of best practices at the university. This position serves at the pleasure of university administration and is exempt from certain P&S policies


The director oversees an annual budget of approximately $4 million, is responsible for leading an operations team of twenty professional staff, establishing and executing policy decisions related to intellectual property, and creating a winning attitude and inclusive work environment.


Specific duties are to:

  • Successfully grow and lead innovation management, corporate engagement, protecting and licensing inventions to companies, new venture creation and incubation, and economic development.
  • Build strong, productive relationships among industry, including the Iowa business community and ISU faculty, staff and administration through the receipt, protection, marketing and licensing of ISU technologies and support the creation of start-up companies using ISU technologies. Provide leadership in the coordination of technology transfer activities with the ISU Research Park Corporation, the Ames Economic Development Commission, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, and other local and regional business development agencies.
  • Provide licensing, intellectual property and transactional expertise and guidance for driving technology commercialization.
  • Provide the vision necessary to increase the number of licenses and agreements, including leading efforts to propose and execute policy and assure compliance with legal obligations pertaining to ISU intellectual property.
  • Promote and encourage collaboration on university-wide strategies to develop and enhance outreach activities to corporate partners that foster a robust research commercialization ecosystem.
  • Provide leadership and guidance to staff review, negotiate, and execute license agreements, confidentiality agreements, material transfer agreements, center memberships, memoranda of understanding and research agreements; and provide oversight of staff on the compliance for these agreements, and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
  • Provide leadership to staff who receive and review invention disclosures, market technologies and obtain patent protection for selected technologies.
  • Provide leadership to engage the ISURF board in furtherance of the ISURF mission.
  • Prioritize work that reflects the resources of staff, provides value to ISURF and Iowa State University, and is in alignment with the University mission.


Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree and 8 years of related experience. Evidence of strong interpersonal and communication skills; excellent and current IP knowledge and capability; strong marketing skills; negotiation skills and experience that lead to favorable outcomes; and demonstrated ability to lead and influence others.


Preferred Qualifications

JD or a Ph.D. in a technical or related field or with broad experience in commercialization of science and technology; experience that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of intellectual property rights and the transactional commercialization process; current experience as a member of the Licensing Executives Society, AUTM, or a similar organization; experience in new business development; work experience within a research university; understanding of industries that reflect ISU’s existing research partnerships, such as bioscience and manufacturing; and previous experience in licensing technology.


Iowa State University

Iowa State University is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation. More than 30,000 students are enrolled and are served by over 6,200 faculty and staff.


Iowa State University is a global and culturally diverse university committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment. We know that diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The university has an expectation that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in Iowa State University’s Principles of Community.


Iowa State University is located in Ames, Iowa, a progressive community of 60,000 located approximately 30 minutes north of Des Moines. Ames is regarded as one of the best college towns in the nation. The university is a global and culturally diverse community committed to providing an inclusive environment for learning, living, and working, and all employees are expected to support Iowa State University’s Principles of Community. Iowa State University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified applicants, including women, underrepresented populations, and veterans. The university supports the needs of dual career couples and offers a portfolio of policies to support work-life balance.


Nominations, applications, and inquiries of interest may be sent in confidence to the University’s executive recruitment consultant:


Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner

Chelsie Whitelock, Principal

Buffkin / Baker

10 Cadillac Drive, Suite 190

Brentwood, TN 37027

Apply for Director of the Office of Innovation Commercialization

Already uploaded your resume? Sign in to apply instantly


Upload from your computer

Or import from cloud storage

Your Resume must be a .doc, .pdf, .docx, .rtf, and no bigger than 1Mb

4000 characters left

When you apply for a job we will send your application to the named recruiter, who may contact you. By applying for a job listed on The Chronicle of Higher Education Jobs you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy. You should never be required to provide bank account details. If you are, please email us.