Executive Director, Business Connect, Associate Director Technology Transfer and Commercialization
Gardner Innovation Search Partners
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Type: Full Time
Preferred Education: 4 Year Degree
Michigan State University has exclusively retained Gardner Innovation Search Partners to fill two critical roles within their Innovation Center: Associate Director – Technology Transfer and Commercialization, MSU Technologies & Executive Director – Business Connect.
The MSU Innovation Center combines innovation, technology transfer, start-up support and a portfolio of dedicated business and community partnerships to bring cutting-edge ideas to the marketplace. Composed of Business Connect, MSU Technologies, and Spartan Innovations, the MSU Innovation Center stewards ideas from concept to product, engaging in hundreds of corporate-sponsored programs, and launching more than 130 discoveries into patented products and start-up businesses annually.
Associate Director – Technology Transfer and Commercialization, MSU Technologies Qualifications:
A high degree of energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to transferring technology for public benefit.
Ability to collaborate with internal offices and third parties, including other academic institutions and industry.
Leadership experience in academic technology transfer or experience in corporate business development. 5-10 years of licensing experience, with a preference for an in-depth understanding of and experience in a research university environment.
Strong interpersonal skills along with the ability and desire to develop and lead the licensing team. Ability to efficiently and effectively mentor and guide a significant number of direct reports. Sets clear expectations and holds direct reports accountable for performance.
Experience in supporting and growing professional development of technology transfer staff.
Deep understanding of the academic research environment, including the various stakeholders of an academic technology transfer office.
Bachelor’s degree in science or engineering is required and an advanced degree is preferred.
Excellent working knowledge of laws and business practices related to university technology transfer.
Executive Director – Business Connect Qualifications:
Bachelor’s degree required, an advanced degree (PhD, MBA, etc.) preferred (preferably in business, engineering, or the sciences).
10 years’ experience working in research management, business development, or corporate relations with at least 5 years of this experience in private sector research and development. Extensive and broad experience in the business of research and commercialization, a documented and strong track record in negotiation and contract development, or other business operations across an academic-corporate interface.
Commercial expertise and mindset achieved as an executive or manager of a business unit, a corporate, government or academic corporate engagement unit, or research and development organization. Evidence of ability to balance competing priorities and effective time management skills.
General management experience in a university, or biotechnology/engineering, or other relevant company, and related experience building and/or managing a unit within an academic environment. A demonstrated record of proactive attention to matters of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Specific experience that relates to technologies with commercial potential developed in MSU colleges (e.g., Agriculture, Communication Arts and Sciences, Education, Engineering, Natural Science, Social Sciences and Medicine) is highly desired.
Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with a wide variety of people and to act effectively both independently and as a member of a team.
A reputation and demonstrated success as a visionary, creative and dynamic business professional, and more specifically, success in creating commercial value derived from scientific or other innovations. International business experience and established networks are highly desired.
Excellent oral and written communication skills, highly effective as a business leader sensitive to the needs and workings of the academic and corporate environments and missions. Must demonstrate leadership and a capacity to achieve consensus among university officials, the MSU Foundation, Michigan economic development leaders and Business Connect personnel concerning key initiatives, commercial strategies and long-term planning of technology growth and infrastructure.
Capacity to easily comprehend technical communications/documents from diverse scientific and technical disciplines and work effectively with diverse elements of the MSU technology base.
Operational knowledge and significant experience with university-based research contracting processes and the development and execution of diverse agreements, demonstrated negotiating skills, and experience in advanced deal-making business strategies. Evidence of creative solutions in complex negotiations and an experience in negotiating to productive middle ground will be highly valued.
Established networks and working relationships with corporations within the US and internationally, to enable opportunities to link Business Connect to external partners.
Familiarity with external funding opportunities from federal, state, or private granting agencies, and generally understand the requirements of regulatory bodies (FDA, USDA, EMEA etc.).
Fluency with computer software (spreadsheet, word processing, PowerPoint).
Advanced knowledge of the law (especially relating to contracts and intellectual property).