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Comings and Goings

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) has chosen business development expert Sean Johnson to serve as professor and director of the Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEE&I).

Johnson has an extensive portfolio in workforce and business development. Most recently, he served as senior project manager in the Workforce Development Center at Cincinnati State Technical & Community College. In this role, he launched and directed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business initiative, providing entrepreneurs with access to education, capital, networking opportunities, and other resources crucial to scaling their start-ups.

In his new role at NC A&T, Johnson will oversee all administrative, entrepreneurial, research and development related programs at CEE&I involving faculty, staff and the university at large.

“I love helping other entrepreneurs be successful,” Johnson says. “Connecting them to vital resources and providing access to practical knowledge needed to be successful is satisfying. Too many businesses start but so many don’t last. We’re trying to launch and grow businesses that will be around 10, 20, 30 years from now.”

Source: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

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The Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has hired two new directors, expanding expertise within the university’s innovation ecosystem.

The office has chosen seasoned investor Steve Carpenter to serve as director of research start-ups, and innovation strategist Brad Zdenek to serve as director of economic development and student programs.

Carpenter has supported Pennsylvania start-ups for the past 20 years, holding various positions with early-stage VC firm Life Science Greenhouse Investments, including serving as vice president and then senior vice president over the past 10 years.

In his new role at Penn State, Carpenter will support the development of start-ups based on university research, overseeing Penn State’s start-up pipeline and its entrepreneurial mentorship program, the Startup Leadership Network.

Zdenek most recently served as innovation strategist and program manager for the Penn State Nittany AI Alliance, where he was responsible for directing the formation and refinement of unit goals, partnerships, and strategic planning.

“With these newly appointed directors, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization will continue to raise the bar for what a university-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem can look like,” says James Delattre, associate vice president for research and director of the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization. “Both of these individuals have contributed greatly to the Penn State community and clearly recognize how essential it is to continue to build and improve upon the systems and processes needed to support our researchers and entrepreneurs. It is with great pleasure I welcome them into their new roles.”

Source: Penn State

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Timothy Denning, vice president for research and economic development and Distinguished University Professor at Georgia State University (GSU), is stepping down from his role to become president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA).

Since he arrived in 2020 Denning has led GSU’s research community to historic growth and new funding records. In fiscal year 2023, GSU faculty attracted a collective $224.72 million in research funding, the highest total in university history.

“Tim has been so crucial and instrumental to the growth of our research enterprise, and he has been an incredible partner to me and the entire university community,” says GSU president M. Brian Blake. “His leadership has been vital for the exceptional research efforts taking place here.”

Source: Georgia State News Hub

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Indiana University (IU) has hired tech transfer executive Nicholas Hammond to serve as associate vice president for innovation and commercialization.

Hammond currently serves as senior director of the Department of Innovation and Technology Research at the American Dental Association Science and Research Institute, where he leads various aspects of the institute’s research and tech transfer process. He also served as associate vice president for innovation and economic development at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, in addition to several executive roles at successful tech companies.

In his new role, Hammond will lead the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office in its efforts to connect inventors with entrepreneurs, facilitate the licensing and commercialization of university technologies, and form strategic innovation partnerships with outside industry.

“We are excited to have Nick lead the Innovation and Commercialization Office, overseeing IU’s efforts to bring IU faculty discoveries and innovation to market,” says IU Vice President for Research Russell J. Mumper. “Under his leadership, I am confident we will grow external R&D partnerships in order to ensure IU inventions are quickly able to positively impact Hoosier lives and our state economy.”

Hammond comments, “I understand the power of transformative research and innovation to drive economic and societal growth. I am excited to return home to Indiana to work with my colleagues in the Innovation and Commercialization Office and across IU, and with industry partners to translate IU’s cutting-edge research into real-world impact.”

Source: News at IU

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The University of Arkansas (UA) has elevated research strategist Margaret Sova McCabe to serve as vice chancellor for research and innovation.

McCabe has served as an interim in the role since the start of 2023, working to develop the research excellence strategy necessary for the continued growth and support of UA faculty research.

She has also worked in other key roles across the university, including as dean of the School of Law and senior adviser for special projects.

“I am excited to be able to continue working with some of the most talented and committed people on campus: our division staff and our researchers,” McCabe says. “Whether focusing on adopting a best administrative practice through policy change, pursuing large funding opportunities or developing our research facilities, our campus and stakeholders should know there are teams of people who pursue research excellence every day. We have a bright future of discovery and innovation that will benefit the state, nation and world.”

Source: University of Arkansas

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