The Director of Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (Director) is responsible for the development and oversight of entrepreneurship support programs for deep science and deep technology ventures in Memphis, Tenn. The goal of these efforts is increased commercialization of Memphis-based intellectual property in ways that accelerate and incubate Memphis-based science and technology ventures, in technologies including, but not limited to, life sciences, agriculture, and logistics. This goal will require establishing meaningful and systematic commercialization-focused collaborations among Memphis research and academic organizations, research-driven industry partners, and the Memphis entrepreneurship support ecosystem.
This ecosystem is comprised of academic and research institutions, industry, investors, nonprofits, and government entities. In addition, the Director is responsible for building working relationships with Memphis-based researchers, technology transfer offices, and science-/tech-based ventures. The Director will work with these partners to create systems and practices that provide improved access to partner intellectual property (IP) portfolios, general deal flow and business development, matchmaking and acceleration services for commercialization teams, pipeline development (talent, technologies and partners), capitalization services, capital identification for clients (including loan funds, angel investors and venture capitalists), and funding strategies for industry cluster programming.
The Director will work through existing development programs and assets at Epicenter and among the Memphis entrepreneurial ecosystem to fill critical program gaps where found. The Director will report to the President and CEO of Epicenter and will be evaluated on his or her success in advancing strategic life science entrepreneurship goals in Memphis.
Strategic goals for the Director of Science and Technology Entrepreneurship:
Strengthen and systematize Memphis’ deep science, life science, and technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystem offerings and outcomes.
Strengthen and systematize relationships between academic and research institution technology transfer operations and the ecosystem of commercialization support services.
Align resources with market demand.
Leverage the ecosystem’s resources through collaborations.
Support the technology transfer function at Memphis research and academic institutions.
Engage the investment community and enhance access to capital for the ecosystem’s startups in the deep science, life science, and technology-based industries.
Enhance partnerships with corporate, state and federal partners as they pertain to these industries.
Create Memphis-based startups and/or growth ventures from Memphis-based IP.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
These duties and responsibilities are judged to be "essential functions" in terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Promote awareness of the importance of IP, commercialization, and related issues throughout the Memphis community.
Work to enhance the efficacy of Memphis technology transfer operations, including the development and implementation of a vision, strategy, and plan to deploy the IP portfolio of the community at large in ways that align with the needs and capacity of the Memphis entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Work closely with the research community and build relationships that allow monitoring ongoing research for early identification of IP arising from research projects.
Build relationships with university technology transfer offices that allow Epicenter and its partners to review and evaluate invention disclosures, develop specific intellectual property management plans, support collaboration with patent attorneys, manage prosecution of patents, and negotiate licensing of intellectual property and capabilities.
Build and maintain collaborations with licensing professionals in ways that better serve entrepreneurs and commercialization efforts.
Contribute to long-range strategic planning to establish and achieve the ecosystem’s collaborative mission and goals.
Manage major IP related agreements with companies, universities, federal labs, hospitals, and other organizations.
Foster research collaborations among ecosystem partners.
As indicated, assist research partners with securing additional sources of support for research funding via active industry engagement.
Work with university technology transfer offices to develop, clarify, and refine patent strategies and policies.
Work with technology transfer offices to review, interpret, revise, and implement favorable technology development policies and procedures.
Develop and advise on optimum protection and commercialization strategies for products and technologies.
Perform other duties as assigned.
MINIMUM REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS
Master’s degree or equivalent in business, public administration, science, or engineering
U.S. citizenship or a legal permanent resident of the U.S.
Minimum of five years’ experience and proven track record driving innovation in a well-regarded corporate, consulting, or academic environment
Experience promoting technological transfer, innovation, and translational research of intellectual property
Experience developing and overseeing strategic plans to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in a complex organization
Business knowledge and negotiation skills
Excellent verbal and written communication; strong analytical, organizational and interpersonal skills; independent judgment
Knowledge of academic research methods and an in-depth understanding of intellectual property protections
Ability to work effectively with a broad range of constituents, including faculty, staff, attorneys, sponsors, and industry representatives
PREFERRED EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE
Ph.D. in business, science, or engineering
Technology commercialization experience, such as an entrepreneurial leadership role in a startup or small business and experience establishing successful relationships with venture capitalists, angel investors, and entrepreneurs
Strong project management, organizational, and leadership skills with the ability to handle multiple, complex tasks and projects concurrently
Supervision of professional staff
Experience in public higher education administration
Demonstrated collaboration with faculty, graduate students, and administrators to advance a culture of research and innovation
Success in facilitating interdisciplinary research and developing internal and external partnerships.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, talk, hear, and use hands to touch, handle, or feel. The specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, and ability to adjust focus, especially due to concentration on a computer screen and graphics.
WORK ENVIRONMENT The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
The Memphis region has a connected and collaborative entrepreneurship ecosystem led by Epicenter, the nonprofit hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurial movement. Using a systems approach, Epicenter drives strategy and measures impact among a network of economic development, academic, corporate, and government partners to increase support to new and existing tech startups, creative and community-based businesses, student entrepreneurs, and others across industries and stages of growth. Epicenter and its partners connect these entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas to programming, capital, customers, and talent in order to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians.