October 27, 2011
KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF), the not-for-profit organization responsible for commercializing technology created by UT faculty, welcomes new leadership.
Dick Gourley, former dean of the College of Pharmacy at the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC), is interim president of the foundation. Gourley stepped down earlier this month as dean, a position he held since 1989. He has served on the foundation’s board of directors and as head of the UTRF Health Science Center executive committee since 2009.
David Washburn, assistant technology transfer director at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will be vice president of the multi-disciplinary office based in Knoxville, which oversees technologies developed at the UT campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; UT Institute of Agriculture and UT Space Institute. Washburn has more than 10 years of experience in transferring technologies from research laboratories to the market. He will take over his position Nov. 2.
Richard Magid will remain vice president in charge of the office based in Memphis, which oversees technology developed at UTHSC.
“UT has new innovations emerging from our statewide campuses every day, and it is important for both our researchers and our state’s economic prosperity to find ways to accelerate the pace of getting them to the market. We will be better positioned to aid our faculty in their pursuit to bring their ideas and inventions to market,” said David Millhorn, UT executive vice president and vice president for research and economic development. He announced the new hires Thursday during the UT Board of Trustees’ Research, Outreach and Economic Development Committee meeting.
“Through the College of Pharmacy, Dick has vast experience in what it takes to bring products to market, and he has been both a passionate supporter of and an active participant in the foundation and its mission,” Millhorn said. “David is coming from the University of Illinois, where technology transfer has been successfully revitalized and improved, which will allow him to bring fresh ideas and best practices to the foundation.”
“Taking innovation from the lab to the marketplace can be a long and difficult process, but I believe it is critical to the mission of the University of Tennessee to make the process smoother so that our inventions can have an effect on the lives of Tennesseans,” Gourley said. “Streamlining this process also will augment the goals of Gov. Bill Haslam’s INCITE program, a new job creation plan for the state that includes efforts to transfer research and development to private-sector companies.”
“There is a clear commitment by the University of Tennessee, the region and the state to be a driver of economic development through the effective commercialization of technology,” Washburn said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to this important effort.”
The UT Research Foundation (UTRF) implemented a new governing structure in 2009, creating the offices in Knoxville and Memphis. Gourley, who reports to the UTRF Board of Directors, heads a central office in charge of policy-making, accounting, reporting and compliance.
Originally created in 1935 and reorganized in 2003, UTRF helps inventors at UT turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to growing the University’s research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts.
In recent years, UTRF has focused on energy technologies. Genera Energy LLC, which manages the University’s Biofuels Initiative, is wholly owned by UTRF.
For more information about UTRF, visit http://utrf.tennessee.edu/.
*Photos available upon request*