University Seeks Greater Investments from Region; Kluger Takes on Role of Economic Development

Posted: April 26, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

The role of Matthew Kluger, who became Mason’s first vice president for research approximately 10 months ago, has been expanded to include economic development.

Now, as the first vice president for research and economic development, he will have responsibility to begin matching faculty members who are pursuing creative research topics with the business community, especially investors who may have an interest in supporting faculty research.

“A large role for any vice president for research in a modern research university is to be an interface between the faculty and business community. If properly nurtured, this relationship can drive economic development, and vice versa, and can greatly enhance the significance of university research,” says Kluger.

Mason, as President Alan Merten notes, has been moving toward this decision to couple economic development with research for many years.

“A good deal of the university’s success and growth can be traced to our many ties with the region,” he says. “The time is right for us to take this next step, not only toward strengthening ties with our business community, but also toward significantly enhancing the reputation of the work of our faculty as opportunities for solid investment.”

Kluger will be working closely with each of Mason’s academic units to provide greater visibility to the work of their faculty and develop strategies to connect with potential investors.

“I am excited about our participation in creating a synergy between the intellectual capital of the university and the economic growth of our region,” says Kluger.

Kluger joined Mason’s administration in July 2005 after serving as vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Medical College of Georgia since 1999.

To provide Kluger with greater assistance, a new position – coordinator of entrepreneurial and business development – has been created. Recently, Ian Mooers, Mason’s assistant director of employee relations for Career Services at Mason since June 2003, was hired to fill the new position and be part of Kluger’s staff. Mooers will work closely with all of Mason’s colleges and schools and the Office of Technology Transfer to help coordinate and promote the university’s entrepreneurial and business development activities.

Additionally, Jennifer Murphy, director of the Office of Technology Transfer and assistant vice president for research and economic development, has recruited Joe Janda to be Mason’s first life science licensing associate. Janda’s efforts will be focused in building corporate biotech and pharmaceutical relationships that will actively promote the development and commercialization of the important discoveries occurring in Mason’s Life Sciences group.

“The unprecedented success of our men’s basketball team has brought greater attention to all elements of our university, most especially the important work of our faculty and their research,” says Merten.

“The next step in our evolution will naturally be along the lines of a more serious engagement with our regional communities. We have the opportunity to inform and be informed through collaborations with our corporate partners in this area. Matt Kluger, in his new role, will be instrumental in helping us realize this vision for Mason.”

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