February 12, 2014

NUtech director outlines priorities

Brad Roth

Thanks to high-quality research, UNL is well positioned to move promising technologies from the lab into the marketplace, said Brad Roth, the new president and executive director of NUtech Ventures.

Roth joined NUtech Ventures, the nonprofit corporation responsible for commercializing technologies developed through UNL research, in late 2013. In his new role, Roth leads efforts to commercialize UNL’s intellectual property by building partnerships between university researchers and private companies and entrepreneurs. He succeeds David Conrad, who left NUtech in October. Roth also serves as UNL associate vice chancellor for technology development.

Increasing the number of license agreements with existing companies and with UNL startup companies is one of Roth’s major goals. NUtech is working closely with UNL Industry Relations and Nebraska Innovation Campus to create economic development opportunities for the city of Lincoln and the state of Nebraska through sponsored research, licensing and commercialization and by attracting private sector companies to NIC.

“In Lincoln, we are in the midst of a dramatic culture change on several fronts, including entrepreneurial activity and a rise in the number of startup companies,” Roth said. “It’s very exciting to be part of that.”

He brings corporate licensing experience from his previous positions at LI-COR Biosciences, where he most recently was director of business development for biotechnology, and as a research manager and licensing coordinator at Pioneer Hi-Bred International. He also had more than three years of university technology licensing experience as a technology manager at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Roth holds a doctorate in genetics from Iowa State University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from UNL. Learn more about Roth’s background here.

“It’s helpful to understand product development because often the technologies that universities are able to commercialize are in the early stages,” Roth said. “Usually, there is still quite a bit of development work that goes into a technology before a commercially viable product is realized.”

To better identify the commercial potential of promising UNL innovations, Roth said he and the NUtech team are reviewing NUtech’s processes for evaluating invention disclosures. He and NUtech staff seek to meet regularly with faculty, staff and students to learn about their work and answer questions about intellectual property and technology development.

Faculty are welcome to call NUtech and discuss their ideas and questions, he said. NUtech’s phone is 402-500-0717; email is info@nutechventures.org.