Mark Coburn, associate provost and director of the University of Rochester Office of Technology Transfer, has been named executive vice president at Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties (VTIP) Inc. Virginia Tech Vice President for Research Brad Fenwick, who is also president of the VTIP board of directors, announced that Coburn, who has been at Rochester since 1997, will take over his new position with the non-profit Virginia Tech-affiliate in April.

VTIP's mission is to seek patents and copyrights to protect the inventions and creations of Virginia Tech faculty, staff, and students, and to market these intellectual properties to enterprises that have the knowledge, connections, and resources to develop and commercialize products so that society benefits.

At the University of Rochester, Coburn was responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating technology transfer activities for the non-medical center campuses. He provided leadership in developing strategies for licensing and commercialization of intellectual property, fostering corporate collaborations, and facilitating the creation of start-up companies.

"We are confident that Mr. Coburn's experience and creativity will be an asset to the university as we seek to share the results of research and scholarly activity," said Fenwick. "While patenting and marketing intellectual properties is not the primary way universities report discoveries, they are an important resource for national competitiveness because the practice gives business and industry time to develop products -- whether medicines or electronics -- that advance society."

"Virginia Tech is really well positioned to capitalize on a fertile climate for new, cross-disciplinary research," said Coburn. "Many of the discovery programs of Virginia Tech researchers are right at those interfaces in life sciences, engineering, and the traditional academic disciplines. This is an area I have always enjoyed getting enmeshed in. It is an area where we see disruptive technologies that change the way we view our world and that often lead to exciting new products that can make our lives better.”

"I hope to implement the latest best practices to bring new ideas to market," Coburn added. "And we will be trying new ways to get closer to our inventors at Virginia Tech. The faculty members, staff and students who come up with innovations need to know that there is someone close by who understands them and the research process."

Coburn also lectured on “Technology Transfer and Commercialization” in the William G. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester, and was a senior associate in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, teaching a class on “Working with Industry/Technology Transfer.” He was co-principal investigator on the National Science Foundation grant for the “Upstate Alliance for Innovation,” served on the board of directors of VirtualScopics, LLC, and is a member of the Association of University Technology Managers and the Licensing Executives Society.

Before going to Rochester, Coburn was director of the Office of Sponsored Projects; patent coordinator; director of business planning and technology transfer at the Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology Center, all at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was deputy director of the Department of Contracts and Grants at the University of Southern California. Coburn earned his Master’s degree from Pepperdine University and his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University, Ohio.


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