19:00 PM

Ohio State University names commercialization chief

The Ohio State University has named a vice president for technology commercialization. Brian A. Cummings, who helped build a top-tier technology commercialization program at the University of Utah, will lead Ohio State’s strategy to advance the economic and global impact of the university’s most promising technologies. Subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, his appointment as vice president for technology commercialization will be effective June 1.

“We are truly fortunate to have attracted Brian Cummings to Ohio State,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “From engineering and business to the health sciences and agriculture, our faculty are among the most productive in the country in conducting research and developing new technologies and processes. Our imperative is to hasten the rate at which those inventions move to the marketplace. In so doing, we will create new businesses, stimulate job growth, and enrich and enhance lives.”

In his new role, Cummings will build at Ohio State a comprehensive, nationally recognized effort that brings together all of the necessary stakeholders needed to create change to advance promising technologies.

“Technology commercialization at our universities has the ability to transform economies and drive innovative opportunities,” said Cummings. “With a focus on service, outreach and alignment of capital and human resources, we can play a major role in creating a new model for economic development.”

He will lead the university’s new Office of Technology Commercialization, which coordinates all aspects of knowledge transfer and technology development. The office will focus its efforts on building a pro-active and responsive culture to assist in the initial stages of idea formation, technology assessment, start-up creation, licensing, funding and ultimately a positive outcome for the university and the state of Ohio.

Cummings joins the university with an exceptional record in science and technology commercialization. Since 2005, he has served as executive director of the Technology Commercialization Office at the University of Utah and associate vice president of Technology Ventures. In that post, he led a team that brought the university from the bottom of the national rankings to the No. 1 university in the country at creating new start-ups from its research, establishing more than 110 new technology companies and attracting more than $300 million in funding. Previously, he led the life science commercialization efforts at the University of Texas.

Cummings earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1991 from Phoenix University, a master’s of science in genetic engineering in 1985 and a bachelor’s degree in 1983 from the State University of New York at Fredonia.

In his new position, Cummings will report to Geoffrey Chatas, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Ohio State. The Office of Technology Commercialization will be guided by a newly created governance board co-chaired by Fisher College of Business Dean Christine A. Poon and Clayton C. Daley, Jr., former vice chairman of the Procter & Gamble Company. Poon will assume the additional role of special assistant to the president for commercial innovation.

Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. As one of the nation’s top-20 public universities, Ohio State is further distinguished by a top-rated academic medical center and a premier cancer hospital and research center. Ohio State ranks in the top 10 nationally with $756 million in research expenditures in 2010 and is second in industry-sponsored research. The university’s research activities include particular strengths in such areas as alternative energies, cancer, infectious disease, advanced materials, and ag-bio products that feed and fuel the world.