U chief innovation and economic engagement officer elevated to cabinet-level position

In a move that emphasizes University of Utah President Taylor Randall’s efforts to pick up the “clock speed” on moving research to commercialization, the U’s chief innovation and economic engagement officer is now a cabinet-level position. The newly elevated role held by Keith Marmer will work closely with the university’s Interim Vice President for Research Erin Rothwell to broaden the impact of the U’s research mission through commercialization and corporate engagement. The administrative change takes effect on July 1, 2022.

Keith Marmer, University of Utah's chief innovation and economic engagement officer.

“The University of Utah is uniquely suited to generate discoveries that improve lives and change the world. We need to do more of this research, and that research needs to hit markets quickly,” said Randall. “I will be relying on Keith’s considerable expertise and experience to help make this happen.”

During his inauguration, Randall highlighted his goal of the U reaching $1 billion in research funding over the next seven years. In 2021, the U had more than 3,000 research projects that generated over $640 million in external grant funding.

Marmer said elevating his role as a direct report to the president signals that applied research at the U is being renewed and strengthened as an important way to positively impact society. In addition to building on existing programs, his plans include helping the U foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing innovation districts where U researchers engage deeply with Utah’s innovation stakeholders and bolstering engagement with industry partners.

“The discoveries made on our campus and through our industry partners have improved the human condition—and they will continue to do so,” said Marmer. “I look forward to working closely with President Randall, as well as Interim Vice President Rothwell and her team, to ensure our faculty, staff, students and corporate partners have a seamless and positive experience as they consider commercialization opportunities.”

Prior to his current role, Marmer served as the U’s associate vice president for technology and venture commercialization and corporate partners. He has more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive and investor, and has personally launched and scaled four companies.

Before his time at the U, Marmer was co-founder and managing director of SG3 Ventures, a venture capital firm targeting early life science investments with a primary focus on fund creation, raising investment capital, sourcing deals, due diligence and portfolio management. Before SG3, Marmer served as chief business officer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Center for Innovation. While at Penn State University, he held the roles of director of technology commercialization, associate dean for research innovation and associate professor.

Marmer serves on a number of boards and is a past entrepreneur-in-residence at Princeton University. He received a Master of Business Administration, a doctorate and a master’s degree in physical therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from University of the Sciences.

About the University of Utah’s PIVOT Center

The University of Utah’s Partners for Innovation, Ventures, Outreach & Technology (PIVOT) Center serves as a catalyst for the regional innovation economy, integrating technology commercialization, corporate engagement and economic development. By integrating these functions, PIVOT Center positions the U and Utah to uniquely take advantage of the U’s burgeoning innovation. The center prioritizes connecting stakeholders (U faculty inventors, industry, entrepreneurs, investors, Utah’s innovation ecosystem) with each other and the U’s resources. PIVOT is responsible for all aspects of invention management, patent prosecution, licensing, start-up formation and support, equity management and early stage funding.

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