Jandhyala appointed Vice Provost for Innovation

Vikram Jandhyala

Vikram Jandhyala -

Vikram Jandhyala was recently named as the UW's new Vice Provost for Innovation.

Photo by Kyu Han

Vikram Jandhyala, a UW professor of electrical engineering and inaugural Center for Commercialization (C4C) entrepreneurial faculty fellow assumed the new position of Vice Provost for Innovation July 1.

Jandhyala replaced Linden Rhoads, who boosted the number of patents and startup companies coming from the UW each year during her six years as Vice Provost for Commercialization.

In addition to a change in leadership, the position itself was expanded, and the title of the position was changed. Whereas Rhoads’ work focused mostly around patents and startups, Jandhyala’s work will also look into campus entrepreneurships and increased integration within the UW campus. 

“One aspect of my job is to continue the work Rhoads has done, such as startups and incubator licensing,” Jandhyala said. “[The] second aspect of this job is to lead entrepreneurial efforts across campus and to more fully integrate innovation into the educational mission of the university.”

To ensure a smooth transition, Rhoads will continue working full time as Executive Director for Commercialization until December 2014.

In addition to increasing the number of patents and startups the UW produced, Rhoads also improved engagement with the regional business and investor communities during her tenure.

The business incubator of C4C, called the New Ventures Facility, was awarded “emerging incubator of the year” by the 2014 University Business Incubators Global Index, a research initiative led by a study group based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rhoads said she enjoyed the process of creating something from nothing and described the work she did at the C4C as similar to launching a startup.

“[Since] I came here in 2008, we restructured the organization and hired new talent and launched a dozen new programs,” Rhoads said. “We convinced the legislature to pass a bill authorizing the university to work with private investors to raise a venture fund to invest in spin-outs. We negotiated with the state of Washington to transfer Fluke Hall to the UW so that we could build a university incubator that is already generating results,”

UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce said working with Rhoads has been exhilarating and the UW was lucky that Rhoads stayed with the university for as long as she did, but also that the UW looks forward to the work that Jandhyala will accomplish.

According to Cauce, Jandhyala is tailor-made for this position and has a strong record as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and academic leader, having served very successfully as chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and as the co-director of the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing. In 2006, Jandhyala and his students founded Physware, now known as Nimbic, a venture-backed cloud-based simulation software company that was acquired by Mentor Graphics this year.

“I’m confident [future strategies for C4C] will include continuing to spin-off companies that help our local economy as well as helping humanity,” Cauce said. “We’re really interested in helping facilitate turning our excellent scholarship into products or processes that will have a positive impact on the world. Jandhyala will also be working on expanding avenues for both faculty and student involvement in entrepreneurship activities.”

Reach reporter Yebin Zhou at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @aurorayebin

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