URI appoints new economic development officer

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KINGSTON, R.I. – June 8, 2015 – Michael Katz, an experienced leader in intellectual property and economic development, has been appointed associate vice president for intellectual property and economic development at the University of Rhode Island, effective June 1.


Katz will have responsibility for oversight of the economic development responsibilities of the URI Division of Research and Economic Development, including patent preparation and prosecution, patent licensing, and assisting with the development of new research-derived start-up companies. He will also play a role in the URI Research Foundation and provide oversight for the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center and the Polaris Manufacturing Extension Program, both based at URI. Part of his time will be spent engaging the corporate community through the SBDC, Polaris and the URI Business Engagement Center.


“Dr. Katz has the broad base of experience and expertise in technology transfer and economic development to succeed very well in this position,” said Gerald Sonnenfeld, URI vice president of research and economic development. “He brings to the University the knowledge and skills that will serve to build relationships in the business community to the benefit of the state and local economy.”


Katz began his career as an associate research scientist at the University of Connecticut, associate stand scientist at Becton-Dickinson, Inc. in North Carolina, and stand scientist at Bayer, Inc. in West Haven, Conn.


He then began his work in economic development, first as intellectual property manager at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and then as associate director for science and technology ventures at Columbia University. He moved on to become director of the Office of Industrial Partnerships at Virginia Commonwealth University and later director of the Industrial Alliance Office of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was promoted to executive director of intellectual property and industrial research alliances. Before coming to URI, he was principal of Strategic Partnership Advisors in Gaithersburg, Md.


Katz earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a doctorate in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He later served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University.


Photo by Nora Lewis