UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's Office of the Vice President for Research has appointed Harl Tolbert assistant vice president for research and director of the Office of Technology Management (OTM).
For the past four years, Tolbert served as the director of the Office of Technology Transfer and Commercial Development at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. At Roswell Park, he managed a commercialization fund that helped establish start-up companies in areas such as cancer immuno-therapy and precision diagnostics.
Prior to leading Roswell Park’s technology transfer efforts, he spent seven years as the associate director of the Office of Technology Transfer at the University of Rochester; during Tolbert's time there, the office was ranked in the top ten in licensing revenues among U.S. universities. Before entering academic technology transfer, he spent several years in the commercial sector, having worked in the Chemical and Agricultural Products Division of Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago, Illinois, and in the Business Development Group of Pierce Chemical in Rockford, Illinois.
OTM is tasked with protecting Penn State's intellectual property, identifying commercial potential of research output, and promoting economic development through the transfer of Penn State technologies to the marketplace. The office provides guidance to faculty, staff and students regarding university intellectual property policies and procedures, as well as educational sessions for internal and external groups looking to navigate the IP management or tech transfer processes.
"As we look to translate research into real-world impact, the work done at OTM becomes an increasingly key piece of the research enterprise," said Neil Sharkey, vice president for research. "Harl's combination of scientific, academic and business experience will no doubt make him an effective ambassador for tech transfer at Penn State, and we look forward to implementing new strategies to help Penn State become more competitive in this area."
Tolbert will also collaborate with units including the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, the Office of Industrial Partnerships, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central and Northeast Pennsylvania.