Innovation through Collaboration: Mark Crowell’s First Impressions of KAUST

Mark Crowell was named as KAUST’s Vice President, Innovation and Economic Development (I&ED), in July 2015 and recently sat down with KAUST Innovation to discuss his first impressions of the University.

Crowell has over 25 years of experience as a leader in academic innovation and business development. Before joining KAUST, Mark was the founding Executive Director of UVa Innovation at the University of Virginia where he took its innovation agenda and partnerships to new levels.

In 2010 and 2011, he testified twice before the United States Congress on the importance of innovation and proof-of-concept funding. Crowell has consulted widely for organizations such as the World Bank, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and many others.

He has also consulted extensively throughout the United States and the world, clarifying for him that innovation is everywhere and new approaches can be found from Silicon Valley to rural Idaho to the Amazon rainforest.

“What struck me immediately about KAUST is the culture of innovation that is celebrated on campus,” Vice President Crowell told KAUST Innovation. “The University is at the forefront of a new innovation paradigm, and I hope to lead I&ED in leveraging this foundation to contribute to President Chameau’s vision of KAUST as a destination.”

“Everyone at KAUST is collaborating, innovating and thriving. This creativity is helping to establish a culture that will make KAUST a global destination,” added Crowell. “I look forward to being a part of this exciting journey.”

Mark sees I&ED playing a vital role in achieving this goal. He does not believe there is any other institution in the world that offers such a wide array and strategically connected network of innovation and economic development programs.

“Our Research & Technology Park, industry engagement, technology transfer, Innovation Fund, and Entrepreneurship Center programs are connecting our research and technology to the world.”

He credits President Chameau for his vision in building the University’s talent pipeline and for elevating innovation throughout the campus.

“I want to build upon this momentum by creating a destination where people connect, create, collaborate, build culture and commercialize.”