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Director, Commercialization Programs

Apply now Job no: 499708
College / VP Area: Lerner College Business & Econ
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark
Categories: Full Time, Program/Project Management



Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. In this role, Horn Entrepreneurship seeks to build upon the University of Delaware’s proud tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship through the operation of the Blue Hen Proof of Concept (BH-POC) and other commercialization programs (e.g., NSF I-Corps Program, Lead Mentors). Under the limited direction of the Horn Director, and in partnership with the Faculty Director, Venture Support and other Horn and University personnel, the Director, Commercialization Programs will lead, develop, and administer training and support programs aimed at moving nascent scientific discoveries and new technologies from UD labs into the marketplace via technology-based startup ventures.



The Director is charged with six major responsibilities: (1) devising and implementing policies, procedures and processes, (2) soliciting and supporting proposals, (3) presentation preparation and evaluation, (4) award management, (5) personnel oversight and program execution and (6) program sustainability. The Director is also charged with engaging relevant external stakeholders and pursuing opportunities for continuously enhancing the impact of UD/Horn’s commercialization offerings.


Policies, Procedures and Processes

  • Collaborate with the Horn Director and other key stakeholders (internal and external) to periodically review and refine all policies, procedures and processes needed to successfully operate the BH-POC Program. This includes:
    • Proposal application form(s) and processes,
    • Initial proposal screening procedure to guide external review and determine, whether additional business model development effort is needed,
    • Funding award policies and processes, and
    • Grantee reporting policies and process.
  • Lead the development and implementation of all policies, procedures and processes pertaining to the BH-POC and other commercialization programs.

Proposal Solicitation and Support

  • Collaborate with representatives from the university’s colleges, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Scholarship and Innovation, Office of Economic Innovation & Partnership and other internal stakeholders to promote the availability of BH-POC awards and other commercialization programs to faculty, students and other eligible grantees/participants.
  • Host information sessions for students and faculty to raise awareness of Horn Entrepreneurship’s full spectrum of New Venture Development Offerings, including commercialization programs.
  • Proactively encourage faculty from all colleges, especially those who have filed technology disclosures and received significant funding awards, to pursue BH-POC awards.
  • Actively collaborate with faculty to support their preparation of BH-POC and follow on funding proposals.
  • Collaborate with the Faculty Director, Venture Support to determine eligibility and provide basic assistance to students who are interested in pursuing BH-POC and other funding-based awards.


Proposal Presentation and Evaluation

  • Work with members of an internal review committee to select BH-POC funding proposals for presentation to the external review panel.
  • Work with program applicants to prepare competitive presentations.
  • Establish an annual meeting schedule and invite participation in the external review process.
  • Set meeting agendas and distribute relevant written materials, especially proposals for funding, to panel members.
  • Oversee the process of completing proposal evaluations and making award decisions.


Award Management

  • Lead Horn Entrepreneurship’s efforts to maintain and help to grow a robust network of industry experts, investors, and external advisors to provide technical guidance and unique value proposition assessments of technologies under consideration for funding awards.
  • Communicate changes in proposal status to faculty and students in a timely manner.
  • Work with awardees to establish a set of customized customer, business and technology development milestones associated with program funding tranches.
  • Collaborate with Horn Entrepreneurship’s Business Administrator to initiate and monitor funding awards, including financial and project outcomes.
  • Prepare and present program reports, at least annually, to document commercialization activities and outcomes, especially in terms of key outcome metrics pertaining to follow-on funding and economic impact.

Personnel Oversight and Program Execution

  • Lead members of the Horn team and collaborate with relevant others involved in developing and delivering program offerings that seek to move nascent scientific discoveries and new technologies from laboratories into the marketplace. This currently includes:
    • Horn’s VC in Residence
    • Managing Director (UD Launch Fund)
    • Commercialization program associate(s)
    • Lead mentors
    • OEIP personnel who support Horn programming.
  • Maintain “concierge desk” experience for the founders of student startups and tech transfer spinouts when connecting them to university resources in the areas of talent, potential customers, and capital via core programming including, but not limited to:
    • BH-POC
    • NSF I-Corps
    • UD Launch Fund
    • Startup mentoring programs
  • Provide high-level stewardship of relationships with mentors, investors, and business service providers who invest their time into Horn Entrepreneurship’s commercialization programs.


Program Sustainability

  • Identify and lead the pursuit of program funding opportunities, including federal and foundation grants, philanthropic investments and other funding sources.
  • Develop and continuously assess program policies with relevance to the sustainability of commercialization programs.
  • Collaborate with Horn Entrepreneurship’s Business Administrator to monitor and administer awards, grants, and other funding sources supporting commercialization programming.


Other Responsibilities

  • Engage with entrepreneurial support organizations and other members of the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem to help to create the conditions for successful spin outs from the University of Delaware.
  • Support OEIP’s efforts in identifying, protecting, commercializing novel technologies developed at UD by serving on the ‘commercialization committee’ or in other ways, as specified by the Horn Director.
  • Continuously seek new opportunities to enhance the impact of Horn-led commercialization programming, including the possibility of establishing a graduate student fellowship program.
  • Perform other tasks, as needed, to create and maintain best-practices-based commercialization programs.



  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Eight years of directly relevant professional experience or a graduate degree in a relevant science, technology or business field and a minimum of 5 years of directly relevant professional experience required.
  • Must possess deep knowledge of technology transfer; startups; SBIR/STTR and NSF I-Corps programs; venture capital; and technology commercialization best practices.
  • Ability to design, implement and conduct monitoring & evaluation research related to commercialization and proof of concept programming is highly desirable.
  • Strong passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and analytical skills with a strong customer service orientation.
  • Strong collaboration and networking skills. Existing relationships with federal agencies (NSF, NIH, DOE and others) and directors of peer commercialization programs preferred.
  • Ability to: handle sensitive activities with confidentiality; work independently and/or as a team member; handle multiple assignments concurrently and re-prioritize; ability to successfully adapt to rapid change; and communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders (e.g., students, faculty, corporate representatives, other universities, government funding agencies, entrepreneurs, investors and others).

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time

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