A unique forum for representatives from universities and industry to find better ways to partner
UIDP tackles strategic and tactical challenges impacting the environment for research collaboration. We’re not a lobbying organization. We are a solutions-oriented organization where our members identify issues impacting university-industry (U-I) relations and opportunities to develop new approaches to working together.
Members of the UIDP work together to:
- Maximize the potential of existing collaborations and partnerships along the entire Partnership Continuum.
- Build new networks and opportunities for future collaboration.
- Remove barriers to joint research project success.
Some of the finest innovation companies and best research universities in the world belong to UIDP, representing a broad cross-section of industry sectors, organizations and academic institutions. Working together, we find practical solutions to shared challenges impeding collaboration success, irrespective of who we are or where we work.
Want to share UIDP with your colleagues? Download the brief, About UIDP
Identifying new partners
While UIDP’s focus is on developing practical solutions to address obstacles to collaboration, we know how challenging it can be to identify new partners with the right combination of shared values and strategic and technical competencies. We offer UIDP members several ways to identify and connect with potential new partners.
The UIDP supports mutually beneficial university-industry collaborations by developing and disseminating strategies for addressing common issues between the two sectors.
- The development of a deep understanding and respect of the diverse goals, missions, and cultures between our universities and companies, and appreciation of the synergy that they can afford
- An environment where mutual respect fosters candor and communication
Commitment to making a difference
- Innovation for the public good, maximizing to the greatest extent possible, the information and products that will ultimately be available to the public
- Mutual commitment to sharing our experiences, diverse perspectives, and expertise, and lead to high impact training and professional development
- Alignment of the varied goals and cultures of university and industry in pursuit of innovation and research
- Strategic, result-oriented thinking and the development of practical, active demonstrations or pilots
- Recognition of the benefits of university-industry collaborations and the opportunity lost when mutually beneficial agreements cannot be reached
- An appropriate level of trust based upon personal engagement and shared experiences
- A commitment to principled and transparent negotiations
- A commitment to rapidly respond to evolving challenges and opportunities to enhance partnerships
Anthony M. Boccanfuso
President & CEO
Since 2007, Tony has led UIDP, deriving tremendous satisfaction as it pursues the goal of strengthening partnerships while helping members achieve meaningful impact on a broad array of collaboration matters. He is also a co-principal investigator for the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA), an NSF-funded initiative created to identify and develop new engineering research directions and catalyze high-impact research that benefits society. UIDP is an ERVA core partner and its administrative agent.
Tony has more than 30 years of research and commercialization experience managing a variety of administrative, programmatic, and strategy initiatives for academic, government, and private sector firms including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry and an undergraduate degree in chemistry and political science.
His wife, Dr. Laura Boccanfuso, is a computer scientist and founder/chief executive officer of an educational technology start-up (Van Robotics). Tony and Laura have three children: Carolina, Michael, and Ana.
Bob is a UIDP Associate, serving as our Treasurer and a co-lead on our Clinical Trials Project. He retired in 2008 after 32 years in the pharmaceutical industry, ending his career as the Assistant Vice President of Clinical Development, Special Projects at Wyeth Research in Collegeville, PA where he headed the biostatistics, clinical programming, clinical data management, and field monitoring functions.
Mike possesses over 23 years’ experience in higher education as an administrator and researcher with several universities. Including University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Maryland System, University of South Carolina, Troy University and South Carolina State University. Mike was previously founding research director of the IIFRE at the University of South Carolina, where he was a principal investigator involved with several USDA and NSF projects along with several state agency research proposals. Mike has worked with numerous industry organizations as a university administrator, partnering in several outreach initiatives.
Mike earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of South Carolina and his doctorate from the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech.
Melissa, our events coordinator, has over four years of event planning experience and provides support to plan and coordinate numerous conferences, workshops, and other events throughout the US, internationally, and virtually every year. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. Prior to joining UIDP Melissa worked for a land conservation non-profit as their marketing and communications coordinator.
Chief of Staff
Denise has been providing operational and administrative support to Tony and the UIDP since 2008. She holds a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Arts in Communication from Ohio University. Prior to relocating to Columbia, South Carolina, Denise worked for the Rochester City School District in Rochester, NY for 15 years where she was an analyst in the Department of Research, Testing and Records. Denise and her husband, Paul, are now based in Columbia, South Carolina.
Natoshia has 15 years of meeting professional experience planning and managing small- and large-scale meetings and conferences. Prior to joining UIDP, Natoshia worked as a meeting professional for a large corporation, a consulting firm, a university, and a nonprofit. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in executive leadership at Liberty University. In her spare time, Natoshia loves volunteering in the community through various local initiatives.
Tamara Hayman Henry
UIDP Special Projects Consultant
As UIDP’s special projects consultant, Tamara Hayman Henry is responsible for managing the initiative to aid members in growing their relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Tamara is a certified project management professional (PMP), Lean and Six Sigma Blackbelt and engineer with more than 16 years’ experience in varying disciplines including software and systems engineering, information technology, project management and process improvement. Tamara has demonstrated experience in designing and executing Lean projects that leverage the intersection of technology, strategy, and business to create high–value and high–performing teams. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a master’s degree in technical management from Johns Hopkins University. Tamara is a wife, mother of two, and a classroom speaker for Maryland public schools, and actively participates in several community support activities as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Digital Assets and Program Support Manager
As the UIDP Digital Assets and Program Support Manager, Morgan ensures that all UIDP resources are organized, searchable, and readily available to members through the UIDP website. Morgan, a certified archivist, is a proud Tar Heel, as she earned both a master’s degree in library science and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining UIDP, Morgan worked for the South Carolina Department of Archives and History as the Electronic Records Archivist. She resides in Columbia, SC with her husband, Benjamin, and their daughter.
Abishai is a projects coordinator, providing critical support to event project management, development and implementation. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a dual degree in international studies and religious studies. Prior to joining UIDP, he completed an internship for a non-profit that promotes U.S.-Arab economic cooperation. Likewise, he is heavily involved in local SC politics, previously interning for Governor Henry McMaster’s general election campaign and currently serving as a volunteer for the state campaign.
Marketing Communication Director
As UIDP’s marketing communication director, Sandy is responsible for planning and executing communication strategy across the organization. She brings more than 20 years of experience in persuasive writing, translational journalism and multi-channel communication to the UIDP team. Sandy has bylined hundreds of articles and reports, specializing in making complex topics accessible to a broad audience. She is a proud alumna of the University of California San Diego.
Arden, our program specialist, holds a bachelor’s degree from Converse College in musical theater with a minor in arts management and a concentration in vocal performance. She supports UIDP special initiatives and has responsibilities with event production and management. She brings experience in front office and operations support, as well as in production and logistics. Arden resides in Sumter, SC with her family and goldendoodle, Bentley.
Senior Project Advisor
As UIDP’s senior project advisor, Kristina manages UIDP’s project portfolio. The portfolio covers a wide array of topics relating to contracting, strategic partnerships, workforce development, and government engagement. For more than seven years, Kristina has worked at the intersection of university, industry, and government. She seeks to identify barriers to cross-sector collaboration and use crowd-sourcing techniques to create solutions and opportunities for lowering barriers and creating a stronger innovation ecosystem. Previously, Kristina held positions with AAAS and the National Academy of Sciences. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Purdue University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland. She also regularly attends association management, project management, and meeting facilitation training. Kristina resides in Vienna, VA with her husband, Ben, and her dog, Vsepr.
UIDP Senior Fellow
Randy is a professor in the Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on how universities innovate in their practices for education, research and clinical care, and how they overcome the obstacles to change. As vice president of research for 14½ years, he led research initiatives across the university, overseeing research advancement, administration and ethics activities. Randy has contributed to numerous national organizations, including service as board chair for UIDP and chair of our Joint Employment Project Committee.
Rebecca, our operations manager, has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate and non-profit relations. Her expertise covers a wide range of areas, including public relations, human resources and employee relations, event planning, and business and program management. She earned a master’s degree in leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Rebecca resides in Irmo, SC with her husband, a retired Marine Corps helicopter pilot, and their two daughters.
Membership Services Manager
As the UIDP Membership Services Manager, Angie ensures that all UIDP members receive the maximum return on their membership investment by leading membership communications including news, benefits and services offered by the UIDP as well as connecting members with other opportunities that arise within the U-I environment. Angie has joined the UIDP team after earning her Bachelors from the University of Pittsburgh specializing in Business administration with a focus in Marketing and Operations Management. Please contact her at email@example.com if interested in learning more about UIDP.
As UIDP’s Events Manager, Linda is responsible for planning and coordinating meetings, workshops and other activities, as well as providing marketing support for UIDP functions. Her events experience spans arranging small conferences to managing and promoting large-scale street festivals, while her 16 years in university marketing and communications puts her in a unique position to create high-quality event experiences for UIDP members and partners.
UIDP Senior Fellow
Jilda served as the vice president for research and general manager of the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) and Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation (GTARC) at Georgia Institute of Technology from 1998 until 2020. She was responsible for the financial and business affairs of GTRC and GTARC and directed the activities of the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Office of Research Integrity Assurance and the Office of Industry Engagement. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, she served as the associate executive director of the Ohio State University Research Foundation (1990-1998). She served on the board of directors of the Council on Governmental Relations (1999-2004) including two years as chair of the Contracts and Intellectual Property Committee. She has also served as a member of the faculty of the National Council of University Research Administrators’ professional education programs.
Theresa Mayer, Chair
Theresa S. Mayer is the executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue University, where she oversees the $670 million research enterprise of the university and supports holistic engagements with federal, industry, and global strategic partners. Prior to this role, she was the vice president for research and innovation at Virginia Tech. During her 23-years at Penn State University, she served as the associate dean for research and innovation in engineering, the site director of the NSF National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network, and a distinguished professor of electrical engineering and materials science. She is widely recognized for her work in advanced manufacturing of nanoscale electronic, optical, and biomedical devices, which has been supported by the DoD, NSF, DOE, NIH, and industry. Mayer has over 200 technical publications, invited presentations and tutorials, and holds ten patents in these areas. Several of her inventions have been transitioned into commercial and military systems. She is actively engaged in service to her profession and the nation, including past service on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, PCAST. Mayer earned a bachelor’s degree. in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech, and master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue University.
Wendi Yajnik, Incoming Chair
Dr. Wendi Yajnik is the Global Head of Academic Partnerships and External Innovation at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), the innovation and research engine of Novartis. At NIBR, Dr. Yajnik leads a team focused on accessing innovative, breakthrough therapies through scientific partnerships and collaborations with global academic partners as well as leading educational training programs, including the NIBR summer internship, post-doctoral and post-baccalaureate programs. Dr. Yajnik also oversees all NIBR donations, grants and sponsorships.
Dr. Yajnik joined NIBR from Sanofi where she was the Head of R&D Transactions in the Global Business Development and Licensing group. In that role she led a team responsible for negotiating early discovery research and licensing agreements with academic institutions and biotechnology partners. Prior to Sanofi, Dr. Yajnik was the Executive Director of Innovation for Partners Healthcare directing a team responsible for negotiating research collaborations, out-licensing intellectual property to Pharma and biotechnology companies as well as start-up formation working in collaboration with the Partners Innovation Fund and venture capitalists. Before transitioning to the business sector, Dr. Yajnik was an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pathology at New York University School of Medicine focusing on HIV-1 research.
Chris Ramming, Immediate Past Chair
Chris Ramming is a technology strategist and research manager with a passion for working at the intersection of theory and practice. At VMware, he is a senior director of research and innovation, with responsibility for the VMware academic research program as well as an incubator that explores disruptive technologies to generate new lines of business for the company. Chris has a background in computer science with degrees from Yale and UNC Chapel Hill. He previously worked at Intel’s University Collaboration Office and has also held roles at DARPA and AT&T/Bell Labs Research. Chris previously chaired DARPA’s Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group and currently is on the board of the Computing Research Association.
Nerissa Draeger, Industry Director
Nerissa Draeger is Director of Global University Engagements at Lam Research, a position she has held since 2017. She oversees Lam’s academic partnerships and strategic research collaborations in pursuit of disruptive and enabling technologies to advance the semiconductor industry. Her leadership is focused on creating diversity in both our technology and talent pipelines to drive innovative solutions for our customers. Dr. Draeger has led various programs since joining the company in 2000; including feasibility of emerging materials and processes, new product development, and strategic business and intellectual property development.
Dr. Draeger’s background is in thin film deposition and she earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and her B.S.E. degree from the University of Michigan. She has authored over 30 patents and numerous technical publications.
Manjula Donepudi, Industry Director
Manjula Donepudi is an Alliance Management professional with 15 years of experience managing innovation at the crossroads of industry and academia. Prior to joining Pfizer CTI as the Alliance Lead, for CTI’s academic network of collaborators, Manjula spent 12 years in academic technology transfer engaged in a range of activities including intellectual property portfolio management, contract negotiations to support a range of industry-academia relationships and managing alliances for clinical stage programs being advanced through public-private partnerships.
As a post-doctoral fellow at MSKCC, Manjula was motivated to join the field of technology transfer for the purpose of moving academic discoveries into industry hands where they would be advanced for patient benefit. She continues to remain committed to continue strengthening industry-academia collaborations for this purpose.
Sophia Herbert-Peterson, University Director
Georgia Institute of Technology
Sophia Herbert-Peterson is director of industry contracting for Georgia Tech Research Corporation, the contracting entity for sponsored research at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is responsible for managing all contracting activities, developing and implementing policies and procedures that support the research collaboration process, and developing and deploying strategic initiatives for industry engagement. She is also an active supporter of diversity leadership initiatives on campus, such as Georgia Tech’s Inclusive Leaders Academy and the Leading Women@Tech Program. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Sophia served as a law clerk for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam in the Southern District of California, as in-house counsel for two Fortune 500 companies, and practiced at an Atlanta law firm. Sophia earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish literature from Manhattan College and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Anne O’Donnell, University Director
UC San Diego
As Senior Executive Director of Development, Corporate Relations at UC San Diego since January 2017, Anne leads a new Central Corporate Relations Office to develop holistic relationships with corporations to support UC San Diego’s strategic plan and fundraising objectives. Anne served over 17 years at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering building corporate engagement programs, first launching the Director of the Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP) with 75+ high technology and life science member companies for custom access to faculty, research, students. More recently, Anne continued to build new corporate engagement models as the Executive Director, Corporate Research Partnerships where she built the first seven of the Dean’s Agile Centers of Excellence–multidisciplinary faculty teams focused on technologies that are highly relevant to industry. Under Anne, CAP ran the Team Internship Program and started Executive Education Engineering degree programs. An alumna of Mount Holyoke College, Anne went on to Harvard University earning a Master’s in Public Policy and a Master’s in Theology. Anne is an active member of UIDP Membership Committee and co-led the Collaboration Metrics Project. As a NACRO member, Anne served as Benchmarking Chair and past Conference Planning Co-Chair. As faculty for Academic Impressions, Anne has taught the Holistic Corporate Engagement course for the past five years and has a webinar in building corporate affiliate programs. Anne serves on Board of Catholic Charities of San Diego and is an ICF certified professional leadership coach. Anne is married and a mother of five great kids ages 15-27.