OGDEN -- Weber State's new director of Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization sees big things ahead for the university and for the community.
James Taylor's dual focus is to increase the amount of research dollars coming to the university and to increase the number of inventions or ideas coming out of the university and into the marketplace, potentially creating jobs and increasing revenues to the inventors, investors and university.
So Taylor will be doing everything from seeking grants and sponsorship funds for research to marketing ideas, technology and new tools.
"It could be anything from a pharmaceutical drug to software, analytical or diagnostic services, or a simple widget," Taylor says.
"Sometimes, a simple widget can end up being profound. It crosses the spectrum of what technology is."
On the money side, Taylor's goal is to double the research money available to Weber State professors and students, to $24 million, in the next few years through grants and private funding.
Taylor had similar duties at his previous job at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His Weber State supervisor is Vice Provost Alex Lawrence.
"This work involves landing and managing grants, faxing proposals, and working with faculty and staff. That's what brings in money for new programs and research," Lawrence says.
"James has done that for several years at the U, which is a leader in the country for the number of companies they start out of the university. James comes from one of the best schools in America, which happens to be down the street from us."
Taylor says research and business growth will also improve students' Weber State experience. "We want students to have more practical experience and applied opportunities. Educated students can be a beacon of innovation, and their ideas can offer insights to business challenges."
Taylor is inviting community members and Weber State alumni to bring their ideas or concerns to campus so students and faculty can provide research and a fresh perspective.
"Alumni can engage with us on an entrepreneurial level," Taylor explains. "We invite them to bring ideas to campus that students can run with and help develop. It's another way for alumni to both give and receive from the university."
Taylor says his original career goal was to be an attorney. "I started interning in the technical commercialization office when I was in law school at the U of U, and I fell in love with it. There's something exciting about the idea of seeing an idea move forward, from the idea state to the marketplace. It's a fascinating journey to watch. I fell in love with the process."
Taylor says he has been working in the field for about a decade now.
"The main thing I want to let people know is that Weber State is open for ideas. We'd like to be a place where students and faculty members, even the outside community, come to engage, to create an atmosphere where inventions can thrive," he says.
"Come talk to us and be a part of the Weber State ecosystem. We want people to come engage in the process with us. To create an ecosystem that works well requires a lot of people.
"I hope we can do some pretty interesting and cool things here."
For more information about the Office of Sponsored Projects, call 801-626-7537 or visit www.weber.edu/osp