Alan Paau transitions to new Cornell role; will depart in 2015

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Joe Schwartz
Alan Paau

Alan Paau, executive director of the Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) and vice provost for technology transfer, is moving out of CCTEC and transitioning to an advisory role as vice provost for technology commercialization global initiatives Aug. 1. He plans to return to San Diego to focus on his consulting activities after his departure from Cornell on Jan. 31, 2015.

Alice Li, Ph.D. ’98, director of technology commercialization and liaison at the Ithaca office of CCTEC, has been named interim CCTEC executive director, effective Aug. 1.

A new Intellectual Property Governance Board – established by Provost Kent Fuchs, Provost and Dean Laurie Glimcher, Vice Provost and Dean Dan Huttenlocher, and Senior Vice Provost and Vice President Bob Buhrman – will define the roles and responsibilities of the technology licensing office, business development offices, entrepreneurship programs and regional economic development initiatives. The IP Governance Board will conduct a national search for the new executive director this summer.

CCTEC assists faculty and staff universitywide in securing patent protection for their inventions. It promotes Cornell discoveries by licensing technology to commercial businesses and assisting inventors in creating their own startup companies. The office partners with industry to develop Cornell technologies and plant varieties into products and services.

“Alan has developed a revitalized technology transfer office, one that is now well-positioned to serve the needs of the university and of Cornell’s inventors,” said Fuchs.

“Alan has advanced the quality, quantity and scope of Cornell’s technology transfer activities, for example nearly doubling the annual number of licenses signed,” said Buhrman. “I appreciate his efforts to organize and support the entrepreneurial talents and energies of faculty, staff and students. I also am very grateful to Alice for stepping into the interim role.”

During Paau’s tenure with CCTEC, the number of annual invention disclosures, patent applications and patents issued for Cornell inventions increased by approximately 50 percent. In particular, plant licensing revenues have increased dramatically, from less than $100,000 in 2010 to nearly $2 million in 2014. Recently Paau negotiated an exclusive license with New York Apple Growers LLC to control the release of two new apple varieties. In addition, he oversaw the upgrading and modernization of the CCTEC office operations and instituted a number of innovative programs.

“It’s been a busy and challenging seven and a half years – managing two offices hundreds of miles apart, restructuring operations, changing culture while surviving the great recession of 2008-2009 and its slow recovery,” said Paau. “I am glad the technology licensing program is now on a solid foundation and will move on in a vibrant manner. I look forward to having the liberty to more engage myself in selected projects that may utilize my technology management skills.”

Paau came to Cornell in January 2007 after having served as assistant vice chancellor for technology transfer and intellectual property services at the University of California-San Diego for nearly a decade.

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Nancy Doolittle