Dr. Paula Mendonça has been appointed as Memorial’s first director of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Mendonça is responsible for facilitating and supporting the university’s strategic and long-term approach to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship activities across its campuses, while interacting with regional and national partners. She began on Dec. 18.
In her role, Dr. Mendonça will also lead the operations of Memorial’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTCO). The position of the director of TTCO has been re-titled to director of innovation and entrepreneurship to reflect the broader mandate of the new role.
Dr. Mendonça will report to Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research) and work with a variety of stakeholders across the university and from the wider community.
Since October 2018 Dr. Mendonça has been interim director of TTCO. The office, which is a member of the Springboard Atlantic network, supports industrial liaison, technology transfer and commercialization activities at Memorial.
Its staff works with the university community to identify resources and facilitate connections with other partners from within the university as well as industry.
As Newfoundland and Labrador’s university, Memorial plays a vital role in driving innovation, supporting our next generation of business leaders and ensuring our entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to flourish, says Dr. Bose.
“I am very happy to see Dr. Mendonça take on this new position, bringing her diverse background, international outlook, knowledge of the intellectual property environment and her entrepreneurial knowledge to the role,” he said.
“Her effective leadership and strong partnerships within our university and the broader community are tremendous assets. I know she will strengthen Memorial’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem and build the mission of the research portfolio well beyond those of the existing Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office compliance framework.”
As director of innovation and entrepreneurship, Dr. Mendonça will identify new partnership opportunities, as well as establish and maintain effective relationships with industry, government and other key external stakeholders.
Dr. Mendonça, who will also be key contributor to Memorial’s Innovation Steering Committee, is also playing a lead role in a new pilot program that will teach academics how to recognize the commercial potential of their research. Later this year, Memorial will host Lab2Market, a new pan-Canadian program based on successful programs in the U.K. and the U.S. that will focus on ocean technology-related research.
Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, Dr. Mendonça completed her undergraduate degree with honours in marine biology and fisheries from the University of Algarve. She has lived in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002 and obtained a PhD in biology from Memorial.
Dr. Mendonça has been working in intellectual property and technology transfer for more than 10 years, first with Genesis and then with Memorial upon the integration of Genesis research into the Office of the Vice-President (Research).