Director of Innovation Partnerships and Technology Transfer (#3243)

Director of Innovation Partnerships and Technology Transfer (#3243)

Northern Illinois University (NIU), a student-centered, research-focused public institution located in DeKalb, Illinois, seeks applications for Director of the Office of Innovation Partnerships and Technology Transfer (IPTT).  A member of the senior leadership team in the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships (RIPS), the Director promotes strategic university-wide innovation relationships and entrepreneurship for students, staff, and faculty and the commercialization of their efforts.   The Director has responsibility for oversight and development of partnerships internal to the University and externally with other academic institutions, industry, investors, non-profits, and government entities.   With respect to current initiatives and relationships, the Director will manage and develop University’s 71North Partnership Studio and seek and develop partnerships for the NIU Opportunity Zone, the Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability (NICCS), and the Northern Illinois Research Foundation (NIRF).   The Director will develop and oversee faculty and student programs, with a focus on 71North, that promote innovation and entrepreneurship.   The Director also has responsibility for management of technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property.  The Director will work with the Vice President of RIPS and leadership from other University divisions to develop short-range and long-range strategic plans for external partnerships in support of entrepreneurship and innovation.


Overview of Campus

Chartered in 1895, Northern Illinois University is a comprehensive institution in one of the most diverse and dynamic regions of the country. The main campus in DeKalb is 65 miles west of Chicago with outreach locations throughout northern Illinois. With 17,169 students, NIU attracts students from across Illinois, the country and the world. The university includes seven degree-granting colleges: Business, Education, Engineering and Engineering Technology, Health and Human Sciences, Law, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. Further information about Northern Illinois University can be found at


Summary of Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Operation and Development of 71North

Oversee operations and development of the 71North Partnership Studio as a university wide venture center focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. Develop new and retain existing external partnerships at 71North.   Plan and oversee programmatic elements that will foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for faculty, students, and other researchers.   Collaborate with key stakeholder groups to identify opportunities for joint ventures, funding, cross-promotion, and high visibility events.

External Partnerships

Contribute to the development, promotion, execution, and oversight of high-value external relationships with emphasis on the NIU Opportunity Zone and NICCS.  These partnerships should contribute to a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization.   Contribute to the development and operation of the Northern Illinois Research Foundation (NIRF) as an ally in innovation partnerships.  

Strategy Development and Implementation

Work with RIPS leadership; Academic Affairs; Administration and Finance; Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; and University Advancement to build and implement a strategic plan for external partnerships.   The strategic plan should further the research, innovation and entrepreneurship, and engagement and economic development goals of the University.  

Oversee Technology Transfer and Commercialization and Innovation

Supervise the technology transfer and associated commercialization agreements.  Participate in RIPS leadership meetings.  Ensure intellectual property and commercialization efforts are compliant with all state and federal regulatory requirements.  Manage and maintain all policies and procedures for the IPTT. Prepare and manage all fiscal and personnel functions of the Office of IPTT. Develop and ensure implementation of communications plans for the IPTT.

Professional Development

Remain current on best practices and emerging trends in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer and commercialization.


  • a Master’s degree or equivalent in business, public administration, science, or engineering
  • USA citizenship or a legal permanent resident of the USA
  • a 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.


Additional preferred qualifications include

  • a 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.


Required Documents

Resume or CV

Cover Letter

Transcripts (unofficial with official required at hire)

List of 3 references (only the references for finalists for the position will be contacted). 


Please submit application and documents through NIU online employment system at

by 5/20/19.


EEO Statement

In accordance with applicable statutes and regulations, NIU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, and will comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations and orders pertaining to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action.

The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Acting Ethics and Compliance Officer, Title IX Coordinator
Altgeld Hall 238

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661-4544