The University of Arkansas and University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture have reorganized the Fayetteville campus’ technology office, which will now be known as Technology Ventures.

Under the restructuring, which took effect Monday, Nov. 19, Jeff Amerine will become director of technology licensing for the university. He succeeds Lisa Childs, associate vice provost for research and economic development, who will assume a full-time position as a manager of the intellectual property portfolio for the Division of Agriculture.

University of Arkansas Technology Ventures, under the supervision of the vice provost for research and economic development, works in cooperation with the UA office of research support and sponsored programs and the University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation.

“The technology licensing office at the University of Arkansas, which will now be known as Technology Ventures, plays a vital role in assisting campus researchers to move their discoveries in the lab to the marketplace,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “These changes will greatly enhance the office's efforts toward the commercialization of the university's intellectual property.”

The university and division have shared the office since 2006. Officials at both the university and the division decided to separate the office into two entities, said Jim Rankin, vice provost for research and economic development at the university.

“This plan strengthens the commercialization efforts at both the University of Arkansas and Division of Agriculture,” Rankin said. “A serial entrepreneur, Jeff Amerine continues to implement effective strategies and methods that will lead to commercialization of the U of A’s world-class research.”

Amerine joined the university as a technology licensing officer in 2008 after a successful 18-year career as an executive and builder of technology businesses. He held senior leadership positions in seven startup ventures and three Fortune 500 companies and teaches entrepreneurship in the university’s Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Amerine is also an adviser to Innovate Arkansas, an initiative operated by Winrock International for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission that grows and sustains knowledge-based companies in Arkansas. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in physical science in 1984 and he also holds a master’s degree in operations management from the U of A, conferred in 2009.

Childs, who holds a doctoral degree in genetics from North Carolina State University and a law degree from Loyola University of Chicago, practiced law as a partner in the Chicago office of Michael Best & Friedrich before accepting a joint appointment with the university and division in October 2006.

The Division of Agriculture is the statewide entity of the University of Arkansas System that includes the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

“The scope of work surrounding Division of Agriculture inventions has grown substantially in recent years and we see the trend continuing,” said Nathan McKinney, assistant director of the Division of Agriculture’s research efforts. “Dr. Childs has the unique skill-set and experience to lead our commercialization efforts. We are grateful that she will now be able to focus all of her work on Division of Agriculture matters.”

For now, the university will continue to have a single patent and copyright committee, which is responsible for reviewing invention disclosures submitted for patenting consideration. That will change in the future with the establishment of separate offices, Rankin said.

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