LAWRENCE — Building business relationships and enhancing the Kansas economy are high priorities for the University of Kansas. To help further that mission, KU has created a new position and hired an experienced scientist and business strategist to lead the effort.
Julie Nagel will join KU on Aug. 1 as director of industrial partnerships, reporting to Julie Goonewardene, associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Nagel is currently managing director of the Oncological Science Center at Purdue University’s Discovery Park.
At KU, Nagel will work closely with the KU Center for Technology Commercialization to move university technology into the marketplace through startup companies and licensing agreements. In the process, Nagel will strengthen and broaden relationships with external partners – such as the Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences Authority and its Bioscience & Technology Business Center – seek grants in support of these efforts, and assist with the development of a strategic plan for technology commercialization and outreach.
“KU is on the threshold of becoming a first-rate center for technology commercialization,” Nagel said. “It has all the pieces in place. This is an opportunity to join a team that can look at the assets we have and use them to make a difference in peoples’ lives. That means fostering innovation, creating jobs and focusing every day on how to make an impact.”
Prior to joining Purdue in 2005, Nagel was a program director for Biotechnology Business Consultants, following service as a technical coordinator with Rubicon Genomics in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“That introduced me to the business side of the life sciences,” Nagel said. “I learned about all sorts of technologies coming out of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. I also learned why some technologies make it and others don’t.”
Nagel’s academic background includes a B.S.E. degree in biology from John Brown University, an M.S. degree in zoology from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee.
“Julie has experience integrating different groups,” said Goonewardene, “reducing silos and leveraging research strengths across traditional boundaries to find what benefits everyone.”
At Discovery Park, for example, Nagel managed a multi-institutional, $8 million cancer care engineering project that involved proposal development, project management, regulatory compliance, interdisciplinary research and the interface with research coordinators at clinical sites.
“At Purdue, she’s focused on making it easier for industry to work with faculty,” said Goondwardene, “by finding solutions to the obstacles that sometimes block collaboration with the university. She’s also helped educate faculty about becoming entrepreneurs and risk-takers with their ideas. We are about to ramp up our educational program in that area, and Julie will make a significant contribution.”
The Center for Technology Commercialization works with researchers at all KU campuses to protect their creative ideas and assist in the commercial development of their inventions. The outcomes include patents, licensing agreements, and company startups in a variety of fields. The overall goals are to promote entrepreneurism among faculty, staff, and students, reinvest funds in support of further research and benefit society.