Executive Director, OKBioStart – The University of Oklahoma

Please note: this job has already been filled by Gardner Innovation Search Partners.

Founded in 2016, the Tom Love Innovation Hub, also known as the I-Hub, originated as a cutting-edge facility to foster the creation, development and implementation of innovative ideas.

Today, the Innovation Hub and its partner programs have established the University of Oklahoma as a leader in the Oklahoma entrepreneurial ecosystem. OKBioStart is one of six initiatives that make up the Oklahoma Biotech Innovation Cluster. In November 2022, OKBioStart earned a $35 million award from Build the US Economic Development Association. Purposed with advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma and across the state, the Innovation Hub has helped to launch many new ventures and entrepreneurial projects. Its programs have rapidly grown the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oklahoma by providing top-tier talent and launching promising businesses into the economy.

Position Details

  • Salary range: $130,000-$150,000
  • Work environment: On site
  • Visa: Not available

Executive Director, OKBioStart Job Duties

The Executive Director will lead the strategy, implementation, and day-to-day operations for the Program. The Executive Director reports to Tom Wavering. OKBioStart consists of four primary efforts: Programs will bring together key ecosystem partners across academia, investors, corporate, government, and entrepreneurial support organizations to provide a comprehensive suite of programs to combat economic disruption and inequity. The suite of programs accelerate innovation, commercialize research, and grow new biotech startups in Central Oklahoma in a repeatable, scalable manner.

  • Engage and build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive Community. The Community will connect academic researchers, local biotech and healthcare workforce, and would-be entrepreneurs from the ecosystem through outreach, events, and conferences such as the Oklahoma Women Impacting STEM and Entrepreneurship conference.
  • Create and implement the Concept Program. For compelling startup concepts that emerge from the Community, the Concept Program will evaluate market size, industry interest, regulatory outlook, intellectual property position, technical risks, fundability, and path forward. Concept Program participants will receive focused entrepreneurial training leveraging OU’s top ranked business programs and startup expertise across the entire ecosystem.
  • Create and implement the Launch Program. Launch is a tailored program for successful Concept teams and is designed to drive them toward the key milestones to secure investment. Launch implements the strategies from Concept to provide translational research grants to mature the technology; mentors and legal support to build the teams and start growing the business; guidance and support to secure funding through SBIR/STTR grants and investors; and connection to physical infrastructure for business activities.
  • Continually measure performance and publish. OKBioStart will leverage a team from OU’s Entrepreneurship program to collect data, analyze across different contexts, and publish. These findings will provide key insights to the project team, EDA, and the broader community.

The Executive Director works in a fast-paced and unstructured environment that interfaces with research, technology and business worlds. The Executive Director must demonstrate a significant leadership role in this position by the development, promotion and execution of a complex interdisciplinary program and coordination of a large team and broad collaborations. This is a senior level position that provides the opportunity to leverage new and existing relationships, evaluate new technologies and assess new business opportunities while developing relationships with ecosystem partners, outside investors, and industry to sustain the program’s funding.

Executive Director, OKBioStart Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a life science or related field and 10 years’ experience required.
  • Ph.D. in a scientific or engineering field related to biotechnology AND 10 years of experience in executive leadership roles working with startup companies, universities, entrepreneurial ecosystem partners preferred.
  • Business or Legal degrees/job related experience preferred.

About Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is a thriving metropolis with a low cost of living, short commute times, big-league quality of life and a diversified economy. Oklahoma City is bursting with new development, bettering its infrastructure and schools and creating new quality-of-life additions to the city that are wowing longtime citizens and drawing attention and visitors from around the country.

With thrilling sports action, world-class museums, entertainment, shopping and dining at more than a dozen different districts, the energy to continue to grow, build and create is pumping all around town.

Executive Director, OKBioStart Applicants

Interested in Applying?

The University of Oklahoma has exclusively retained Gardner Innovation Search Partners to manage this search. Gardner Innovation Search Partners is the top technology transfer recruiter in the world, and is committed to presenting a diverse slate of candidates who possess the skills, expertise, and enthusiasm to thrive in this role.

Interested applicants should send their resume along with any questions to:

Lisa Rooney, Recruiter
(740) 251-7390

Glen Gardner, Recruiter
(614) 354-8400

Tom Sweetman, Recruiter
(614) 563-2389

Gardner Innovation Search Partners is committed to diversity in both people and ideas. Read more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.