Mark Crowell, the founding executive director of University of Virginia Innovation, plans to step down May 16, officials said Friday.
As head of UVa Innovation, Crowell, who also serves as associate vice president for research, facilitates the translation of research innovation, technology and discoveries to the global commercial market. Hired in 2010 to transform UVa’s approach to innovation and research, Crowell said he plans to relocate to Chapel Hill, N.C., where he will work as a consultant, writer and speaker about best practices in university innovation.
“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished at UVa Innovation over the last four years,” Crowell said in an announcement. “The opportunity to help transform and elevate the innovation enterprise at UVa has been an awesome and rewarding challenge. The stage is set for new goals and grander heights in the coming years for UVa Innovation, and it feels like the right time to move on to my next opportunity.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named UVa Innovation a 2014 Intellectual Property Champion. Reza Monazami, a UVa scientist who developed technology that helps electronics operate cooler and more efficiently, also was honored at the conference.
“Mark Crowell and Reza Monazami from UVa are great advocates for [intellectual property] and made excellent speakers for the conference,” Brian Noyes, a spokesman for the U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center, said in an email.
In 2011, Crowell was invited to attend a signing ceremony with President Barack Obama for the America Invents Act, a reform of the U.S. patent system. Last year, Crowell received the highest recognition in his field, the 2013 Bayh-Dole Award from the Association of University Technology Managers for his lifetime contributions to advancing academic innovations.
Crowell has worked for 25 years in this field. In addition to his work at UVa, Crowell has held leadership posts at the Scripps Research Institute, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Duke University.
“Mark is one of only a handful of people in the nation who has the experience, the vision, the temperament and the practical skills to implement a fundamental transformation and cultural shift at a major research university,” said Tom Skalak, UVa’s vice president for research. “Under Mark’s exemplary leadership, UVa Innovation has become a national model for technology transfer.”
Upon Crowell’s departure, Skalak and Michael Straightiff, managing director of UVa Innovation, will lead the organization, spokeswoman Chiara Canzi said in an email.