New Office of Economic Development Established

Sep. 12, 2012

UNLV recently announced the formation of a new Office of Economic Development as part of its continued effort to connect emerging research with business and spur economic recovery in Nevada.

The office, housed in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, will help campus researchers protect and commercialize their intellectual property by offering assistance with patent protection, licensing opportunities, and the creation start-up businesses. It will also expand UNLV's ties with local business by seeking partnerships connected to the university's research strengths.

"We're committed to helping Nevada create a new economy built on knowledge-based industries," said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. "By developing strategies to align our expertise with emerging regional development sectors, we'll create new businesses, a stronger workforce and new technologies that will move Nevada forward."

Jim Thomson, who previously led the nonprofit RAND Corp. as president and CEO for more than two decades, is working with the interim vice president for research, Tom Piechota, to guide the direction of the office. The staff also includes Robert Nielsen, the new business development officer, who brings experience from the real estate development, banking, and renewable energy industry; intellectual property officer Mark Litman, who has 40 years of corporate and private practice experience and has worked with the university for six years; and intellectual property coordinator Jill Zimbelman, who previously worked in technology transfer at the Mayo Clinic.

Since the office was formed in May, the staff has met with dozens of potential business partners, has filed four new provisional patent applications, and has more in the pipeline.

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