Mary Phillips has been named director for the Office of Research Development, a new unit within the Research Office. She will take on her new role Dec. 1. Phillips is currently associate director for the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development, where she oversees the management of intellectual property and licensing of OSU inventions.
Phillips will be working with faculty, departments, schools and colleges to identify and help to create and pursue major funding opportunities, including federal, non-profit and corporate sources.
Phillips said the creation of the Office for Research Development is a proactive step by the Research Office that addresses the challenge and goals articulated in the OSU research agenda by providing strategic institutional support for successful proposal development.
“What excites me about this position is the role I will play in developing new approaches that will enable our faculty to be highly competitive in securing grant funding in these times of dwindling federal funding and sequestration,” Phillips said. ”This in itself is a grand challenge.”
Vice President for Research Rick Spinrad said there is a lot of untapped potential for building OSU’s capacity and reputation.
“By establishing an Office of Research Development, we have created the structure to engage in strategic positioning of our research enterprise, long before specific solicitations for research are issued,” Spinrad said. “As part of OSU’s Research Agenda we are striving to diversify our sponsorship base. We’ve done this very successfully with our industry engagement (40% increase in two years), now we have the staff and organization to start doing the same with other sponsors, notably federal agencies.”
Spinrad anticipates that OSU will dramatically increase the number of federal agencies supporting its research, and that OSU will take a much more forward-leaning posture in driving the research interests of traditional sponsors.
“In addition, Mary’s role will allow us to be much more effective in strengthening our proposal efforts (for example by being more strategic in how we address “broader impacts”). This is particularly important as general decreases in federal funding for research make for an even more competitive environment,” Spinrad said.
Phillips will be supported by an advisory group that will consist of senior faculty representing each of the divisions within the university.
Prior to joining OSU in 2006, Phillips began her career in university technology transfer in 2001 at Oregon Health and Science University, where she learned the ropes of intellectual property and licensing and passed the patent bar to become a USPTO registered patent agent. She holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of London’s Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and gained postdoctoral experience in the areas of laser spectroscopy and molecular biology at the University of Oregon.