The University of Utah has hired a Michigan State University professor of political economy to lead the office that manages the U.'s intellectual property.
Bryan Ritchie will arrive at the U. on Sept. 14 to succeed Brian Cummings, who left in May for Ohio State University, as director of the Technology Commercialization Office. Ritchie, who grew up in Salt Lake City, is associated with a residential wing of Michigan State known as James Madison College, where he directs the Michigan State Entrepreneur Network and the Michigan Center for Innovation and Economic Prosperity.
"The search committee feels he has the diversity of experience to improve our commercialization efforts and sustain the U as a leader and model for the world," said Jack Brittain, vice president for Technology Venture Development, in a statement.
"His international development experience is a source of perspective on the potential for university developed technologies to literally change the world, and this is ultimately why the university is committed to commercialization; it is one path to changing the world."
Ritchie, who knows four languages spoken in southeast Asia, has started two businesses of his own. His academic research examines how entrepreneurship, technological development, education and other factors can enhance the commercial value of discoveries. He plans to explore ways to deepen the value of technologies developed at the U.
"Ideas are ubiquitous," he said in the U.'s statement. "The real issue is how to add value to those ideas to the point where firms and partners can successfully take new products to the market. We must focus on moving ideas along the value chain."