About Us

Office of Innovation and Commercialization at University of California, San Diego

What We Do

UC San Diego is globally recognized as an innovation leader driving social and economic prosperity. Together with our campus partners, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization aligns resources to encourage and support an innovative community comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community advocates. Our mission is to accelerate the commercialization of UC San Diego innovations and contribute to a sustainable society by empowering a diverse entrepreneurial culture on campus and strengthening a dynamic innovation ecosystem.

Our Leadership

VC Sandra A. Brown (Cropped)

Sandra Brown

Vice Chancellor for Research

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Sandra Ann Brown, professor of psychology and psychiatry, was named the Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego in December 2010. As such, she oversees the Office of Research Affairs, which is charged with creating opportunities, enhancing the research experience, developing tools and training to improve research administration, and supporting and promoting university innovations.

The office collaborates with or oversees the campus Organized Research Units, Office of Innovation and Commercialization, Animal Care, Animal Welfare, Contracts and Grants, Research Ethics, Government Research Relations, University-Industry Relations, Conflict of Interest, Stem Cell Research, Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholars programs, and Research Communications.

Under her leadership, UC San Diego has achieved yearly billion-dollar investments in research and has maintained the university’s top-five ranking as one of the nation’s premier public research universities. She has also designed a major transformation of research-related processes, saving researchers valuable resources and time in a competitive funding environment.

In 2015, she launched the Office of Innovation and Commercialization to accelerate UC San Diego related start-up companies. She serves on the Board of Directors of BIOCOM and CleanTech San Diego, and the APLU’s Council on Research.

Dr. Brown is a Distinguished Professor in two UC San Diego departments: Psychology and Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. Her pioneering studies of cognitive features of youth addiction and adolescent development have led to 26 federally funded grants including the current National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) and Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), which is the largest longitudinal study of youth brain development ever funded by NIH. In addition to over 300 peer reviewed publications and one book (Adolescent Substance Abuse, Oxford Press), she has served as President of the Society of Addiction Psychology and on the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association and Research Society on Alcoholism. She has also simultaneously directed the development of clinical, education and research activities as the Chief of Psychology at the Veterans Affair Health Services System in San Diego.

She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Wayne State University in 1981, and is licensed as a psychologist by the California Board of Psychology.

Paul Roben

Paul Roben

Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Commercialization

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Paul Roben, Ph.D., was named Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Commercialization at UC San Diego in June 2015.

Working with the Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Roben is transforming the functions provided by the Technology Transfer Office, Industry Research Alliances, and Industry Contracting into an integrated organization to include patenting, strategic corporate research partnering and industry contracts. He oversees the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, which will establish a campus-wide innovation platform to build a systemic and sustainable innovation culture, create a vibrant regional ecosystem, and accelerate the commercialization of UC San Diego inventions.

Previously he was Senior Director of Office Technology Development at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, working with multiple academic institutes to develop strategic processes to drive innovation alliances, and help translate their research programs into products for patients and society. He guided the formation of multiple new start-up companies and was responsible for the negotiation of a broad spectrum of technology licenses to industry.

As a key member of Ireland’s Innovation Taskforce (2009 to present), he co-authored a national economic-development plan for Ireland, among other achievements.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology, as well as his Ph.D., at Dublin City University in Ireland, and studied as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Greg Silverman at UC San Diego.

greg horowitt

Greg Horowitt

Director - Innovation Design

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Greg Horowitt is the cofounder and Managing Director of T2 Venture Creation and has spent 25+ years working in startups and venture capital. He is the co-author of the bestselling book, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley and has consulted on innovation with top organizations like the Aspen Institute, National Academies of Science, World Bank, and US Department of State. He worked under Warren Buffett as an executive at a Berkshire Hathaway operating company, is a Kauffman Fellow, and has been a founder, investor, and board member in many leading organizations.

william decker

William Decker

Director - Business Affairs and Commercialization

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Bill Decker grew up in Michigan and Virginia. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia in Engineering Physics and his dissertation was entitled “Numerical Studies of Bifurcations and Chaos in Natural Convection.”

Prior to joining UC San Diego, Bill was employed for five years at a biomedical device start-up, first based in Florida, then in Orange County, CA, where he held positions of increasing responsibility and performed duties that were cross-functional between business and R&D. Bill’s work at the company resulted in eight issued U.S. patents, four issued non-U.S. patents, and several patents pending in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Hong-Kong.

Over the years, Bill has been an invited guest speaker at meetings sponsored by the American Physical Society, the American Nuclear Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the International Society for Analytical Cytology, the Association for Women in Science, and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Christina Falcone

Director - Finance and Operations

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Christina joined UCSD OIC in 2019. In her role as the Director of Finance and Operations, she is responsible for oversight of the administrative, operations and financial functions of the department, including planning and managing the annual budget, long-range strategic planning, developing and implementing financial and licensing compliance policies and procedures, financial management of UCSD's innovation programs and overseeing the licensing compliance and financial activities and for UCSD's intellectual property portfolio, such as the inventor and author share distribution and research support fund distribution. Christina oversees the Finance and Operations team. She brings +10 years of finance, accounting and leadership experience. Christina has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BS from UC Riverside in Anthropology.

Core Values

Being a Trusted Partner

  • It's all about engagement. We foster and nurture relationships, both internal and external, for the benefit of inventors, campus community, and society at large.
  • Every relationship is unique. We step into our partners' worlds to understand their priorities and needs.

Setting a High Bar for Ourselves

  • From research to market, from bench to bedside, we are the intellectual capital experts.
  • We strive to inspire excellence, acting with integrity and professionalism in all we do.

Recognizing and Empowering Potential

  • We are strategic thinkers and appreciate that creative solutions require empathy and an open mind.
  • We identify and grow future leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and risk-takers.
  • We facilitate access and connect the dots. We deliver a network of opportunities that connects people to resources, ideas and programs.
  • We cultivate meaningful relationships with alumni that engage their expertise and celebrate their achievements.

Striving for a Culture of Appreciation and Recognition

  • We acknowledge differences and appreciate people for who they are, what they do, and how they contribute to our mission.
  • We value and reward a job well done.
  • We understand that our work impacts others, so we strive for effective communication and transparency in all directions and al all levels.

Our Culture

Who we are...

  • We are ambassadors of innovation and technology, creating value for the campus impacting the world. We close the gap between the academic environment and end users.
  • We contribute to the campus voice for entrepreneurship, advancing a culture of innovation at all levels and across disciplines.
  • We are a Center of Excellence within Research Affairs. 
  • We believe innovation means bringing together diverse perspectives to craft original solutions with value. 

Our History

How Tech Transfer Began

Enacted on December 12, 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act (P.L. 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980) created a uniform patent policy among the many federal agencies that fund research, enabling small businesses and non-profit organizations, including universities, to retain title to inventions made under federally-funded research programs. This legislation was co-sponsored by Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Robert Dole of Kansas. The Bayh-Dole Act was especially instrumental in encouraging universities to participate in technology transfer activities.

Tech Transfer at University of California

The central University of California Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) was established in 1978 and for many years provided all technology transfer services from a central location in the San Francisco Bay Area. A single, central OTT providing services to such a large enterprise allowed the investment of sufficient resources in a single program to reach critical mass and achieve early success. However, while this location is very close to the UC Berkeley campus, it is over 500 miles from the UC San Diego campus, and the lack of direct connections to researchers and the technology itself at more distant campuses proved to be problematic, especially as research programs grew dramatically in the 1980s.

The Evolution of Tech Transfer - the UC San Diego Model

The transformation of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization from a traditional technology transfer office to an expanded innovation-agnostic group began in 2015. The original Office of Technology Transfer was established in November 1994, with a handful of staff to manage the intellectual property portfolio of the entire campus. In the intervening years, the office has grown to more than thirty staff to support a vibrant innovation ecosystem and manage the commercialization of inventions resulting from a billion dollar annual research budget.

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