Nghia Chiem, a long-time member of the team of the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) in Knoxville, is joining the University of Alabama (UA) as Director of the Office for Innovation and Commercialization.
A former Senior Scientist at Protein Discovery Inc., a Knoxville life sciences start-up founded by Chuck Witkowski, Chiem joined UTRF in February 2012 as an Intellectual Property Manager. UA announced his appointment last week (see news release here), noting that externally-funded research awards have reached record levels as well as a significant increase in inventions and patent activities from UA research and scholarly activity.
The release described Chiem’s role as being “a key member of a team focused on implementing a comprehensive program of supporting innovation, technology transfer, commercialization and economic development activities.”
His unit is part of the UA Office for Research and Economic Development that has a similar reporting relationship to UTRF, in this case to a Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “By building a large cache of patents, UA is able to increase its global impact, receive more funding for research, develop start-up companies and positively impact the local and state economy,” said Lauren Wilson, Assistant Vice President for Research and Technology Agreements.