Crystal Leach joined UGA as the founding director of Discovery and Innovation Partnerships, a new initiative jointly supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the College of Engineering. Her role is to facilitate partnerships between industry and research at the University of Georgia.
The Ohio native earned her master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Akron and her doctorate in textiles and polymer science at Clemson University. For the majority of her career, she worked at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 global health and hygiene company, in positions ranging from materials research to leading a global innovation and product development team.
“Because industry often moves faster than academia, we need to be efficient and responsive when negotiating terms,” said Vice President for Research Davie Lee. “We need to be as flexible as possible with our intellectual property policies and terms. And we need a point person who gets up every morning thinking about how to connect industry with relevant UGA researchers.”
“We are excited to now have Crystal Leach in this role. Her extensive background in industry research means that she’ll have instant credibility with her peers in industry as well as with our faculty.”
In this interview, Leach answers a few questions about why industry collaborations are a priority for the university, how faculty start collaborations with industry, and what kinds of assistance she offers.