A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.
The University of Michigan is one of the world’s most powerful engines for scholarly research, service, and impact. Sustaining and supporting the University’s robust research enterprise is vital for maximizing innovation and economic growth. As a service and resource for researchers interested in commercialization of technologies and research discoveries, the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) is a unit of the Office of Research that plays a central role in helping to ensure that society realizes the benefits of the research conducted at the University of Michigan.
OTT enhances research discoveries to encourage licensing and broad deployment with existing businesses and newly-formed U-M startups. OTT has earned a reputation for performance among the top 10 of all universities through providing responsive, professional service to our inventors and industry partners. OTT is seeking a Director of Finance and Operations to drive excellence and increase synergy within the organization’s operations and financial teams.
The Director of Finance and Operations will oversee all aspects of the office’s financial and operational activities. The Director must think strategically to create and administer policies and processes to facilitate OTT’s business activities and strategic vision, have excellent leadership and interpersonal skills to manage and motivate the finance and operations teams, and be a collegial team player to interact seamlessly with OTT’s licensing and venture creation teams. OTT’s operational activities include overseeing the collection and reporting of data related to OTT’s research commercialization activities, general administrative support for OTT, invention disclosure intake, human resource administration, facilities management, patent docketing and correspondence, federal reporting & government compliance, database administration, economic impact analysis, business process management, creation and maintenance of standard operating procedures, and all aspects of agreement and patent data entry, management and monitoring using the office’s information management system. OTT’s financial activities include tracking and use of operational funds, sponsored funds, financial data entry into the office’s information management system, and all expense and revenue activities associated with U-M’s technology licensing activity, management of the budgeting process, long-range financial planning, and the receipt and timely distribution of licensing revenue to inventors, co-owners and campus stakeholders. The Director will be responsible for building on a team culture of continuous improvement and increased synergy in the areas of finance and operations within OTT. This will include developing, monitoring and improving key performance indicators for the team such as timeliness of royalty distributions, accounts receivable, timeliness of federal reporting, etc.
Specific duties may be outlined as follows:
Management Responsibility – The Director is responsible for managing multiple finance and operational positions within OTT.
Oversee Financial Operations – The Director oversees a team responsible for ensuring that OTT licensing revenue is tracked and properly distributed per the university’s Technology Transfer Policy, that legal expenses related to the patenting process are tracked and invoiced to licensees for reimbursement, and that all university procedures are followed in regards to finance and accounting. This also includes managing the budgeting process and providing accurate and timely spending analyses, as well as overseeing the reconciliation between OTT’s internal financial data within Sophia and the university’s financial system (PeopleSoft).
Oversee Patent Docketing and Correspondence with External Legal Counsel – The Director oversees a team that ensures OTT’s patent correspondence is tracked in the database in such a way that allows seamless communication with the appropriate Licensing Manager and tracking through patent docketing reports.
Oversee All Data Entry – The Director will oversee processes and quality control checks to ensure that all data entered into the database by members of the Finance and Operations team or other OTT staff is accurate and consistent. This data is vital to the daily operations of OTT and often triggers financial, compliance, and diligence actions. The data is also the subject of frequent reports provided to OTT stakeholders both internal and external to the university.
Oversee Federal Reporting & Government Compliance Management – The Director oversees a compliance team that ensures compliance with all federal intellectual property obligations contained within Federal Sponsored Research Agreements (FSRA). This includes the reporting of all new Intellectual Property (IP) developed with the funding contained within the applicable FSRA, along with any patents, license agreements, and products that flow from the IP. Reporting obligations will be met through usage of the Federal iEdison program along with any additional reporting obligations as specifically required by the sponsor. All interactions will be tracked in OTT’s Information Management System (currently Sophia).
Oversee Business Process Managment – The Director oversees a business process team that monitors and reports on OTT’s progress towards goals and objectives of its 3-year strategic plan. This includes, for example, establishing mechanisms for responsible teams to easily and effectively report out on progress to the appropriate stakeholders. The Director of Finance and Operations is responsible for identifying inefficiencies and proposing business process improvements in all aspects of OTT’s activities, including: patent expense reimbursement, royalty distribution, licensee diligence, federal compliance, patent administration, etc. The business process improvements will be incorporated into all aspects of OTT’s interactions with the information management system and documented in a set of Standard Operating Procedures that will be refined as needed and distributed to the entire OTT Team via the Knowledgebase Wiki.
Database Administration – The Director and the Director’s direct reports are responsible for all aspects of data integrity in OTT’s Information Management System, Wellspring’s Sophia (Sophia). This will involve identifying and overseeing correction of data quality issues; managing user accounts and security permissions for both the client and the online portals managed by OTT; Sophia training when necessary; coordinating with Wellspring staff in developing/testing new Sophia customizations, as well as preparing data for new projects. Responsible for ensuring the Sophia database provides the highest level of information needed by the OTT team, including implementing new methods of information storage and backup. In addition, the Director is responsible for continually evaluating new information management systems and, if necessary, facilitating the process of data conversion and implementation of a new system.
Impact Analysis – The Director is responsible for ensuring proper tracking and reporting of metrics relevant to OTT’s contribution to U-M’s impact, including: invention disclosures, products, startups, and commercialization agreements. Responsible for using data analytics to prepare reports for OTT leadership, AUTM (our professional organization) as well as other stakeholders.
Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Finance or Business Administration; or Master’s Degree in a relevant field; or equivalent combination of education and considerable professional experience with reasonable prior management, supervisory or team leader experience in a similar large academic research institution.
5 years of experience in finance, management or operations.
3-5 years of management experience.
Demonstrates effective communications skills.
Experience in a university technology transfer office.
Experience with Wellspring Sophia or other IP management databases.
Knowledge of the patenting, licensing and startup creation processes.
The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.
The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Internal Number: 173428
About University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
A great university is made so by its faculty and staff, and Michigan is recognized as one of the best universities to work for in the country. The Michigan culture is known for engaging faculty and staff in all facets of the university to create a workplace that is vibrant and stimulating.For two consecutive years, the Chronicle of Higher Education has placed U-M in its "Great Colleges to Work For" survey. In particular, the university earns high marks for strong relations between faculty and administrators, a collaborative system of governance, strong pay and benefits, and a healthy work/life balance.