Kenneth J. Nisbet has been appointed associate vice president for research – technology transfer in the Office of the Vice President for Research, effective May 1.
“The creation of a senior-level leadership position for technology transfer reflects the growing importance to the university of bringing the new ideas and insights that arise from our research to the marketplace through licensing and new venture creation,” said Stephen Forrest, vice president for research.
“The goal of these efforts is to support the entrepreneurial aspirations of our faculty and to contribute to the diversity and strength of our economy, while helping the public realize the many benefits of our research enterprise.”
Nisbet has been executive director of the Office of Technology Transfer since 2001. Under his leadership, Tech Transfer has reported record numbers of new inventions, patents issued and agreements with businesses. The office has earned a reputation as one of the leading tech transfer offices in the country.
With the help of Tech Transfer, U-M launches an average of one company every five weeks, creating more than 1,500 jobs in the region over the last 10 years.
To help boost the number and success rate of startups, Tech Transfer created the Venture Center in 2008, a one-stop hub of expertise and resources for entrepreneurs and investors that includes the Venture Accelerator, providing U-M startups with world-class laboratory and office space at the North Campus Research Complex.
Nisbet has long played an active role in the community and the state. He participated in the founding of Ann Arbor SPARK — the city’s economic development agency — in 2004 and plays a leadership role on several of its boards and committees. In 2011, he established the Tech Transfer Talent Network with state support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to help other state universities enhance their own performance with talent initiatives.
In his new role, Nisbet will remain head of the Office of Technology Transfer and work directly with Forrest on broader issues related to technology transfer, entrepreneurship and industry engagement.
Nisbet earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from U-M. Prior to coming to the university, he accrued more than 20 years experience in engineering, finance, marketing and management at Ford Motor Co., Digital Equipment Co. (now HP), Nortel and Trinova (now Eaton). He also was a co-founder of Memorybank Inc., a storage systems provider.
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