BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo has reorganized its
research office to better reflect the university's continued
commitment to economic development.
The Office of the Vice President for Research, headed by
Alexander N. Cartwright, is now the Office of the Vice President
for Research and Economic Development. In addition, Marion "Marnie"
LaVigne has been named associate vice president for economic
development, a new position.
The changes took effect Jan. 1.
LaVigne has extensive experience in leveraging UB's resources to
help grow the regional economy, serving as director of business
development at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in
Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and the UB Center for Advanced
Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) since 2005.
In her new role, LaVigne will coordinate university-wide
economic development activities and oversee the following
-- The UB Office of Economic Engagement (OEE), which helps
businesses and other community partners connect with UB researchers
and resources, including workforce development training and
-- The UB CAT, one of 15 state-funded centers that support
university-industry collaboration. Activities include funding
company research and development projects that leverage the
expertise of a UB principal investigator.
-- The business development team in the Center of Excellence,
which houses local life sciences companies and helps organize such
activities as an annual investor forum, workshops for entrepreneurs
and iSciWNY, a workforce-development program that prepares Western
New Yorkers for jobs in the life sciences.
LaVigne also will work closely with UB's Office of Science,
Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR), which runs the UB
Technology Incubator on Sweet Home Road adjacent to the North
Campus and facilitates the commercialization of technologies
invented by UB researchers.
"You can see the signs of the new economy happening throughout
this community, and more fully aligning university resources to
accelerate this effort is a natural next step," LaVigne said. "We
have already built incredible momentum in areas like life sciences,
and I look forward to expanding our work with our strong internal
team of research and business development resources combined with
committed community partners."
"We at STOR feel the coordination of economic development
activities of UB is likely to be successful in advancing our
engagement with the business community. Dr. LaVigne is well-suited
to coordinate these efforts," said Robert J. Genco, the UB vice
provost who heads STOR. "We feel these efforts support STOR's role
in transfer of technologies and commercialization of the
university's research to benefit our community."
The goal of the restructuring is to strengthen UB's role in
economic development, reducing redundant programs and clearly
defining the roles and responsibilities of different units that
engage with industry.
Through these changes, "We are acknowledging the role that the
university plays in economic development in Western New York,"
Cartwright said. "Having an associate vice president for economic
development in place will give our community partners a clear place
to go when seeking to work with the university."
This is particularly important with Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledging
in his second State of the State address to direct up to $1 billion
in grants and incentives to companies locating in Buffalo in coming
years. That's in addition to more than $100 million in state
funding that already is coming to the region for development
projects through the efforts of the Western New York Regional
Economic Development Council, a group co-chaired by UB President
Satish K. Tripathi.
As state authorities look toward public universities to help
build regional economies, UB is doing its part. Besides conducting
research that leads to new technologies, the university trains an
innovative workforce, provides technical assistance to businesses
and contributes to Western New York's cultural assets.
"Economic development, as we define it, is more than the
transfer of UB's intellectual property through inventions, patents
and UB startups." Cartwright said. "The university supports the
region's economic diversification and the growth of high-wage jobs.
Through additional faculty recruitment, we will increase our
intellectual, creative and physical resources, improving our
capacity and effectiveness in regional economic engagement."
Cartwright, a professor of electrical engineering, has overseen
UB's research operations since July 2010, first as interim vice
president for research and then as vice president for research. As
vice provost for strategic initiatives from 2007-09, he helped
build UB's research infrastructure and foster collaboration across
UB's eight strategic strengths -- areas of research and scholarship
that UB is emphasizing under its UB 2020 long-range plan. He is a
named inventor on several issued patents and pending patent
applications, contributing technologies to such companies as
TheraSyn Sensors Inc. and Graphene Devices Ltd. that are helping to
build Western New York's high-tech economy.
LaVigne has spent more than 20 years creating new products and
startup businesses involving innovative applications of technology
in health care and life sciences across a range of high-tech
sectors, including co-founding biomedical informatics companies.
Since 2005, she has been facilitating technology-based economic
development in her role as director of business development at the
UB CAT and Center of Excellence, where she leverages the
university's research and development resources to help grow the
region's life sciences industry. She holds a BS in neuroscience and
a PhD in clinical psychology.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.