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Executive Director of Quantum-CT

Full Time  |  Posted on September 25, 2023

Executive Director of Quantum-CT

Job Summary

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a planning grant for a Regional Innovation Engine (RIE) on Advancing Quantum Technologies (Quantum-CT) to the University of Connecticut (UConn) and Yale University. The ultimate goal of the two-year planning process will be a successful application for a full NSF Regional Innovation Engine, leading to the establishment of an independent organization dedicated to fostering quantum innovation across the broader Connecticut ecosystem.

The Executive Director (ED) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engines Development Award: Advancing Quantum Technologies (CT), will have an internal and external facing role and will be responsible for: a) achieving the objectives outlined in the two-year planning grant jointly awarded to UConn and Yale by the National Science Foundation and b) leading the program when the full award has been made by NSF. The ED will have overall responsibility for the Quantum-CT Engine, be instrumental in overseeing program deliverables as outlined in the grant application, and manage interactions among all partnering organizations and within the lead Universities. The position will engage state agencies, business organizations, state and federal legislatures, city officials, entrepreneurs, and academic partners as required to fulfill the mission and accomplish the deliverables both for the planning phase and the full award.

The Quantum-CT Regional Innovation Engine (RIE) aims to position Connecticut (CT) as America's accelerator for quantum technologies and their applications. Drawing on research excellence at Yale and UConn and a growing innovation ecosystem, Quantum-CT will create a national competitive advantage in a vital emerging technology domain with broad applications in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, finance, manufacturing, defense, and beyond. The RIE will proactively extend opportunities to underserved communities, driving economic growth and workforce development in service of equitable opportunities across the state and region.


Duties and Responsibilities

Administratively reporting to the Associate Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UConn and also reporting jointly to the Vice President for Research at UConn and the Vice Provost for Research at Yale, the two Co-PIs of the NSF Engine planning award on the programmatic aspects, the ED will assume leadership of the entire planning initiative, acting as the day-to-day coordinator and liaison among the numerous stakeholders from different organizations. Their role will be pivotal in ensuring the fulfillment of the Quantum-CT grant's ambitious timeline and objectives. The ED will identify new partners, and collaborate with industry, universities, government entities, and community partners to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that supports the growth of the regional quantum industry and its supporting ecosystem. The ED will continue the user-focused planning approach and implementation strategy. Once Quantum-CT is established, the ED will employ the regional sector partnership model to engage companies utilizing and developing quantum-enabled technologies, as well as leading researchers from UConn and Yale, in crafting a strategy for long-term success. A critical first step will be engaging industry partners in their priorities for use-inspired research in quantum technologies that have the potential to advance the success of industry partners. The ED will also develop and engage a Research Translation (technology transfer) program, with the aid of government, University, and venture capital partners, focused on building a quantum-based entrepreneurial ecosystem including the development and launch of a quantum accelerator. Moreover, the ED will be expected to play a central role in fostering an innovation ecosystem of established companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and universities. The ED will also work with key partners in industry, colleges and universities, and government, to identify future workforce needs and to create a strategy to train (and also recruit from out of state) a workforce to advance the quantum technology industry and facilitate the adoption of quantum technologies by client industries. The talent development strategy should give particular attention to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). The ED will engage with relevant stakeholders at the national level and gain national recognition for the emerging quantum innovation ecosystem, including establishing the RIE as the go-to place for regional and national convergence in quantum applications across all industry verticals. The ED should be passionate about DEIA and engage in best practices to ensure diversity within the ecosystem at all levels and to ensure that all communities benefit from the opportunities generated by RIE initiatives.

The ED must establish deep and mutually beneficial collaboration and commitment between diverse university, commercial, and community stakeholders. This requires leadership, community building, and strong experience in managing complex relationships among all stakeholders to drive toward the successful application for a full NSF-sponsored Regional Innovation Engine. They should be emotionally intelligent with excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, demonstrated experience leading large organizations and complex strategic programs, and be an efficient operator capable of managing multiple programs that have diverse outcomes but one common goal. The Quantum-CT program will rely heavily on the ED being a team player with excellent leadership skills, a high degree of sophistication, finesse, and communication skills to be an able advocate at all levels. The ED will work closely with the two Co-PIs of the grant, the project managers (one at UConn and one at Yale), and other staff who will be deployed to help realize the goals of the two-year planning grant. The ED will regularly convene meetings with the Chairs of each workstream including the leadership of the program to report and monitor progress. The ED will work in collaboration with the principal investigators at UConn and Yale for academic-industry partnerships and will manage the timeline of deliverables and outcomes. The ED will help ensure all NSF reporting requirements are met for specific timepoints in the grant. This will require balancing the needs of a range of stakeholders across various institutions and organizations to establish the groundwork for the Regional Innovation Engine. The Executive Director will be the voice and face of the aspiring engine, effectively communicating the research and its societal impact through regular outreach to University constituencies, as well as corporate, state, and community leaders. They will take the lead in working with faculty, staff, and administrators to generate pilot data to be used in writing the full NSF Engine application.


Minimum Qualifications

  1. Bachelor's degree in a STEM field and 10 years of research experience.
  2. Experience leading strategic initiatives.
  3. Experience working in academic organizations and knowledge about nuances of working with university faculty and leadership.
  4. Expertise in managing large complex grants and federal reporting and compliance requirements.
  5. Ability to communicate effectively, articulate, and advocate for the program both at the regional and national level.
  6. Demonstrable leadership experience of complex teams with divergent goals and a mix of industry, governmental, non-profit, and academic stakeholders, be able to address and resolve conflicts and find common ground to advance the program.
  7. Ability to make connections or have established relationships with state and federal government entities and be able to identify additional potential funding sources for the program.


Preferred Qualifications

  1. Master’s degree or Ph.D. in a STEM field and 5-10 years of research experience.
  2. Experience leading large complex organizations and strategic initiatives.
  3. Well-connected with the relevant industry and an understanding of progress in quantum computing, materials, technology, and its applications.


Appointment Terms

This is a full-time, annually renewable position. The University offers outstanding benefits, including employee and dependent tuition waivers at UConn, and a highly desirable work environment. For additional information regarding benefits visit: https://hr.uconn.edu/benefits-beyond-pay/.


Terms and Conditions of Employment

Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.


To Apply

Please apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs, Staff Positions, Search #497829 to upload a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references.

This job posting is scheduled to be removed at 11:55 p.m. Eastern time on October 15, 2023.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.

All members of the University of Connecticut are expected to exhibit appreciation of, and contribute to, an inclusive, respectful, and diverse environment for the University community.

The University of Connecticut aspires to create a community built on collaboration and belonging and has actively sought to create an inclusive culture within the workforce.  The success of the University is dependent on the willingness of our diverse employee and student populations to share their rich perspectives and backgrounds in a respectful manner.  This makes it essential for each member of our community to feel secure and welcomed and to thoroughly understand and believe that their ideas are respected by all.  We strongly respect each individual employee’s unique experiences and perspectives and encourage all members of the community to do the same.  All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

The University of Connecticut is an AA/EEO Employer.


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