URI appoints tech transfer exec to lead Research Foundation, intellectual property commercialization efforts

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 8, 2008 – The University of Rhode Island has appointed David R. Sadowski, deputy director of technology development and transfer at the National Institutes of Health, to the position of assistant vice president for intellectual property management and commercialization.

Sadowski will assume his position Oct. 13.

In his new role, Sadowski will foster entrepreneurship among URI faculty and researchers and oversee the management of the University’s intellectual property and technology transfer operations. In addition, he will serve as executive director of the URI Research Foundation, with duties including the valuation, market analysis and commercialization of protected intellectual property, and the development of business relationships with the corporate, private and government sectors.

“This is a critical position for the University, particularly at this time of dwindling state and federal support for research. Mr. Sadowski will partner with our faculty to manage a broad range of responsibilities that lead to revenue generation through commercialization of intellectual properties,” said Peter Alfonso, URI vice president for research and economic development. “The revenue will support the URI research enterprise and will contribute to technology-based economic development and high-paying job creation here in Rhode Island.”

Sadowski served in several capacities in the NIH Office of Technology Transfer during his 17-year tenure there, including as assistant director of operations and client relations, supervisory technology licensing specialist, and patent advisor prior to becoming deputy director in its Division of Technology Development and Transfer in 2005.

“I became interested in the URI position because it is a great opportunity to serve the URI community with the full spectrum of technology transfer functions, beginning with advising inventors, then invention evaluation/valuation, patent prosecution, licensing and marketing,” said Sadowski. “I was also impressed by the fascinating variety of intellectual property created at URI.”

In his latest role at NIH, Sadowski directed patent and licensing activities for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the reporting, evaluation, protection, licensing and monitoring of intellectual property that arose from research at NIH and the Food and Drug Administration. A registered patent agent and certified licensing professional, he was previously a primary patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where he examined a wide variety of technologies and made independent judgments regarding patent applications.

“We are very pleased that David has accepted this important position here at URI,” Alfonso said. “His experience at the NIH, the U.S. Patent Office, and as a registered patent agent makes him extremely well qualified for this position.”

Sadowski’s first job will be to assess the University’s current portfolio of patents, licensing agreements and pending licenses. “But,” he said, “technology transfer is not ‘one size fits all,’ so we need to ascertain what is wanted, needed and optimum for URI, and then plan accordingly. Longer term, I will work toward development of faculty entrepreneurship and commercialization of research results to provide economic development and ensure appropriate recognition and rewards for IP creators.”

Sadowski earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland.

His appointment comes on the heels of another executive appointment in the URI Division of Research and Economic Development. In June, URI Oceanography Professor S. Bradley Moran was appointed to a half-time position as assistant vice president for research administration.

Legislation establishing the URI Research Foundation was passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2007 to manage and market the University’s patents and other intellectual property. A self-sustaining enterprise funded through royalties on patents and licensing agreements, the foundation supports the state’s economic development efforts by commercializing new technologies developed at URI that can lead to the creation of new companies and high-paying technology-based jobs.