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Saturday, March 02, 2024 — Houston, TX

Burke to be lead innovation AVP


By Belinda Zhu     1/23/24 9:23pm

Brad Burke has been named associate vice president for industry and new ventures by Rice’s Office of Innovation. According to Burke, this new role serves as an alliance between the Brown School of Engineering, Wiess School of Natural Sciences, Jones Graduate School of Business and the Office of Research to support the launch of Rice faculty and student startups, combining business experience with engineering and science innovations.

Michael Koenig, the associate dean for innovation initiatives, said Burke’s new position is an important new development for Rice Business and the university as a whole. In addition to this new role, Burke will continue as executive director of the Rice Alliance, which he has led for the past two decades. 

“With his wealth of experience and dedication, [Burke] will play a pivotal role in fostering innovation, strengthening industry relationships and accelerating the growth of Rice startups,” Koenig wrote in an email to the Thresher. “His leadership will benefit the Office of Innovation and contribute significantly to developing corporate collaborations, community partnerships and marketing strategies.”

Besides supporting the growth of Rice-affiliated technology companies, Burke will lead the strategy of both new and current corporate collaborations, community partnerships and marketing strategy for the Office of Innovation. Burke’s responsibilities will also extend to the Ion, an innovation district established by Rice and Houston. According to Burke, the Ion is poised to be transformative for the city. 

“We hope to contribute our two decades’ experience with investors, corporations, mentors and service providers to support entrepreneurial founders and startups from the region,” Burke wrote in an email to the Thresher. “We want to make sure Rice faculty and student-led startups can access all of these resources at the Ion.” 

Burke said this is an exciting time in innovation due to Houston's growing prominence as a startup hub.

“I think we can build on the momentum of Houston’s startup ecosystem, capitalize on the many innovation activities underway and make Houston a leading center of technology commercialization and entrepreneurship,” Burke wrote.  

Quynhmai Nguyen, senior director of operations at Rice Alliance, worked with Burke for 17 years. She said Burke’s new role underscores his commitment to Houston’s startups.

“This [job] reflects his passion for the Rice entrepreneur and belief in the potential of the Houston and Rice startup ecosystem,” Nguyen wrote in an email to the Thresher. “I’ve witnessed the impact of [Burke’s] supportive and collaborative leadership style and am excited to see what's next for him, Rice Alliance and the ecosystem.”

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