Executive Director of Innovation Projects - Office of the Provost

  • Philadelphia Pa
  • 03/09/2023
Job expired!

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Drexel University is a world‐class, comprehensive, R1 research institution and a global leader in experiential education. For more than 100 years, our renowned Cooperative Education (co-op) program has enabled students to gain professional work experience before they graduate, setting them apart from their peers.

Committed to becoming the nation’s most civically engaged university, Drexel supports engagement along three dimensions: research and academic programs that directly benefit communities, business practices that support equitable local and regional economic development, and public service by students, faculty, and staff. Our engagement is long‐term, multigenerational, and fundamental to the University’s mission, heritage, and future.

At Drexel, we are devoted to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment that promotes healthy lifestyles and is based on integrity, trust, and respect. We center equity, inclusion and belonging, and incorporate an anti‐racism approach to our strategic plan, organizational systems, policies and structures.

Drexel offers its highly engaged faculty and professional staff a comprehensive and world‐class benefits package that includes generous vacation and paid time off as applicable (including civic engagement days), up to an 11% 403(b) Retirement Plan match with immediate vesting, and remote and flexible work options for many roles. Our exceptional medical plans include domestic partner and fertility assistance and our award‐winning A Healthier U wellness program. In addition, faculty and professionalstaff at Drexel enjoy free tuition for themselves and their dependents for Drexel degree programs, certification, and non‐certification programs. And as part of the tuition offering to employees, Drexel participates in a tuition exchange program for dependents with other higher education institutions. These are just a sample of our extensive benefit offerings. Please see this Benefits Brochure for more information.

Executive Director of Innovation Projects - Office of the Provost

Apply now Job no: 499736
Work type: Full-Time
Location: University City - Philadelphia, PA
Categories: Drexel University, Office of the Provost

Job Summary

The primary role of the Executive Director of Innovation Projects for the Drexel Solutions Institute (DSI) is to build a project pipeline of interdisciplinary innovative research projects with industry for the Innovation Engine. Drexel University’s approach to external partnerships has traditionally included a strong focus on six-month co-op experiences for students. The launch of DSI in 2019 was an important step in the University’s evolution to establishing more formal mechanism for cultivating and expanding relationships by establishing a central unit to facilitate comprehensive, interdisciplinary partnerships. The Innovation Engine builds upon the work of DSI and our Strategic Plan by bringing together teams of students, faculty, and external partners to develop projects shaped by student interests, faculty expertise and partner needs. The director will provide oversight on the identification of new projects and manage the completion and delivery of the interdisciplinary industry projects. This individual will be responsible for developing and cultivating partners that will drive and support the University’s strategic plan and its implementation and grow opportunities to solve real-world industry challenges.

The Executive Director will nurture and oversee business development of the “Engine Projects” and will have a history of successful delivery of a portfolio of projects in collaboration with academic and external partners (for-profit/non-profit organizations). The Executive Director will be responsible for identifying project opportunities that would be sponsored by organizations or donors. Upon completion of project contracting the Executive Director will guide multiple interdisciplinary project teams comprised of expert faculty and students (undergraduate, graduate, doctoral) as well as program coordinator(s), to drive innovative and impactful customized research driven solutions. 

The Executive Director is also required to gain a deep understanding of Drexel’s R1 research capabilities and collaborate with DSI leadership to identify and present existing research capabilities to prospective and current partners to uncover potential opportunities for collaboration. The Executive Director works with C- level industry partners, alumni, faculty, students, and technical staff.

Thorough knowledge of a consultative sales approach, project management, the market, the solutions/services that the university can provide, and the products and services offered by other competitors are necessary for this role. The Director will seek to build partnerships with external partners that will support/enhance students’ exposure to experiential learning through research and curriculum development embodied in the projects and innovation challenges.

The Executive Director will report to the Senior Vice Provost, Academic Industry Partnerships.

Essential Functions

  • Project Identification and Management Leadership:
  • Identify new research (“Engine Project”) opportunities aligned with Drexel’s strategic plan and Areas of Excellence and opportunities
  • Outreach to new and existing partners to further ideate opportunities for collaborations
  • Build opportunities for corporate sponsorship of projects that would expand over time
  • Guide proposal development in collaboration with Program Coordinator(s) and selected faculty experts
  • Identify, define, and approve project scope (including timeline, budget, resources, deadlines for deliverables), and establish delegation of tasks in collaboration with the research team and DSI personnel
  • Create high performing interdisciplinary research teams and a culture of accountability and execution, clearly communicating expectations and deliverables
  • Monitor the overall performance and operations of Engine Projects
  • Lead, mentor, and motivate student teams and guide faculty to deliver projects
  • Encourage and support creativity, ideation, and innovative thinking by teams that is grounded in research principals
  • Review market trends and anticipate client needs – and University capabilities to match them
  • Identify and promote corporate philanthropy opportunities; facilitate introductions to Institutional Advancement team
  • A minimum of 15 years related work experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Minimum of fifteen (15) years of experience in research/project development environments, and/or industry setting, with at least ten (10) years at a manager level or above
  • A proven track record of building businesses and establishing a robust portfolio of projects with industry partners
  • Experience and confidence in networking with and collaborating with senior leadership teams
  • Experience leading diverse teams, managing multiple project streams in parallel, and extensive knowledge of project life cycle
  • Experience in research study operational details (experience with human research protection preferred)
  • Experience working with research participants, communicating with faculty and students, and understanding of the work dynamic of conducting research in a university environment
  • Strong communication, interpersonal, and team building skills
  • Flexibility and comfort working within ambiguity and fast paced environments
  • Ability to accept and lead change
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including preparation of high-quality presentations tailored to varying audiences
  • Sees the big picture, constantly imagines future scenarios, and creates strategies to sustain competitive advantage.
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills; strong interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills
  • Experience with Salesforce, Microsoft Office & Teams, virtual meeting platforms and database tools is highly desirable

Please make sure you upload your CV/resume and cover letter when submitting your application.

Review of applicants will begin once a suitable candidate pool is identified.

Advertised: Oct 11 2022 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Nov 11 2022 Eastern Standard Time

Drexel University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that welcomes individuals from diverse and neurodiverse backgrounds and perspectives, and believes that an inclusive and respectful environment enriches the University community and the educational and employment experience of its members. The University prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, status as a veteran or special disabled veteran, gender identity or expression, genetic information, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions and any other prohibited characteristic. Please visit our Policies page to view all University policies related to Human Resources and News and Announcements for workplace postings.

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