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Job ID: 198276

Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development (3909)
Northern Illinois University

Date Posted Nov. 1, 2022
Title Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development (3909)
University Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL, United States
Department Innovation
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Associate/Assistant Director
  • Financial Planning/Budget Management


Northern Illinois University, located in DeKalb, IL, a vibrant university town located 65 miles west of Chicago in one of the most diverse regions of the United States, invites applications for the position of Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development for the Innovation Department within the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships.

The Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships encourages research, scholarship, artistry and entrepreneurship across campus by: Promoting the professional development of faculty and graduate students; seeking connections to accelerate the creation, integration and application of new knowledge; facilitating the submission of grants and contracts; celebrating the accomplishments of talented faculty, staff and students who contribute to NIU’s success as a student-centered, public research university.

Position Summary

The Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development leads the operations of the innovation partnership studio, creates new innovation revenue streams through innovation program development, cultivates new, meaningful innovation partnerships, and leads the promotion of innovation activities both internally and externally to NIU.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development will be responsible for developing, implementing, and managing mission-relevant initiatives related to the innovation partnership studio. This will include:

Innovation Programs (30%)
The Assistant Director for Innovation Ecosystem Development is responsible for designing, piloting and scaling new innovation programs that align with Research and Innovation Partnerships (RIPS) priorities and overarching University strategy. In this capacity, the Assistant Director fosters a culture of program experimentation and incremental improvement in program design and delivery. Program focus areas include, but are not limited to, startup incubation, collaborative innovation, technology commercialization, fostering innovation culture, and cross-disciplinary problem solving.

Student and Faculty Innovation Opportunities (30%)
The Assistant Director aggressively seeks and develops new partnerships internally across the NIU ecosystem and externally across industry, government, and academia for collaboration in building and strengthening innovation opportunities for students and faculty. The Assistant Director marries a deep understanding of the process of innovation, with a nuanced appreciation for the needs of NIU students and faculty to drive and deliver valuable innovation opportunities.

Innovation Partnership Studio (30%)
The Assistant Director develops win-win utilization opportunities for the innovation partnership studio, promoting the facility as a valuable innovation resource for the NIU ecosystem and external industry partners alike. The Assistant Director ensures all innovation partners, both internal NIU and external industry, have a positive and rewarding experience at the innovation partnership studio, whether they are involved in a single program or event or a long-term enduring partnership engagement. The Assistant Director assists the Office of Innovation with promotion and marketing of the innovation partnership studio, developing novel means to get the word out about the Studio programs and offerings.

Other Duties as Assigned (10%)
The Assistant Director provides occasional support other core Office of Innovation efforts when required.

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)

Master’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, economics or a field related to the position and 4 years of relevant experience


Bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, economics or a field related to the position and 5 years of relevant experience 

1. Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
2. Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
3. Skill in analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
4. Skill in scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
5. Skill in oral and written communication.
6. Ability to adjust actions in relation to others’ actions.
7. Ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
8. Ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
9. Ability to develop specific goals, plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish tasks.
10. Ability to work effectively with staff, the public, and outside constituency groups.
11. Ability to effectively plan, delegate, and supervise the work of others.
12. Ability to utilize various computer software packages, such as Accounting Software, query, etc.
13. Ability to work independently and exercise judgment in order to be able to analyze and investigate a variety of questions or problems.
14. Ability to analyze and develop guidelines, procedures, and systems.

Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)

  • Experience in developing innovation partnerships, developing innovation and commercialization programs.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills in both academic and corporate cultures;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; computer skills;
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to analyze scientific and technical information;
  • Ability to handle multiple, and sometimes complex situations, with evolving priorities involving numerous and sometimes competing constituencies
  • Ability to exercise initiative, work independently and in team settings.
  • Experience in pedagogy (teaching)
  • Certificate in project management, scrum master, agility HR or similar

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

Please see the job description for contact details
pertaining to this university job announcement.


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