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WSU Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship Review

Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WSU

External review aims to clarify and support innovation and entrepreneurship activity

Innovation and entrepreneurship are aligned with WSU’s land grant mission to conduct research and outreach that benefit Washington’s economy. In the summer of 2016, Vice President for Research Christopher Keane commissioned the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to assess the current environment around these activities, and to determine the opportunities and challenges involved in strengthening that environment.

The review was led by Glenn Prestwich, Chancellor’s Distinguished Visiting Professor at WSU and Presidential Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and Special Presidential Assistant for Faculty Entrepreneurship at the University of Utah. Dr. Prestwich assembled a team who conducted a questionnaire and interviews of tenure and tenure-track faculty, as well as site visits to WSU units in Spokane and Pullman that do work related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

The review identified six broad topics, each with recommended actions to encourage research engagement among faculty, students, businesses, non-profits, community groups, and startups. The recommendations will enable WSU to define for itself what success in improved innovation and entrepreneurship means, and to determine how best to achieve that success.

Below you can view the report, and the team who will drive implementation based on the recommendations.

View the report and recommendations


Contact the Innovation & Research Engagement Office:

Brian Kraft
Assistant Vice President
Based at WSU Pullman, 509-335-3959

In addition to his director role at the Office of Research, Brian Kraft is director of business development in the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington State University.  Within these roles he is tasked with developing privately sponsored research and enabling entrepreneurial faculty efforts focused on translational research. Specific WSU programs Brian is currently running include the Scholarly Knowledge, Innovation and Leadership Development Program (SKILD), which aims to provide technical graduate students experience in technology opportunity assessment. The Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors (EFA) Program, which aims to connect innovators across campus to disseminate lessons learned in how faculty can effectively engage the private sector and propagate new areas for collaborative and cross-disciplinary translational research. In addition to these programs Brian is part of the teaching team for the WSU I-Corps site, a training program for technology entrepreneurship funded by NSF.

Brian holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry, a PhD in Chemistry and has served Washington State University in roles ranging from technology evaluation to programmatic development over the last twelve years.


Heidi Medford, Ph.D.
Innovation Advancement and Partnerships
Based at WSU Spokane, 509-358-7874

Heidi Medford handles the health sciences intellectual property portfolio for the WSU Spokane campus. As the first OC representative dedicated to Spokane, Heidi is working to increase visibility of the office, as well as create a conduit between WSU researchers and the local entrepreneurial community. Community involvement and faculty enrichment efforts are in addition to her primary duties, which focus on protecting intellectual property and identifying licensing and commercialization opportunities for technologies coming out of WSU.

Heidi has two degrees from WSU; she completed her B.S. in nutrition and exercise physiology in 2010, and successfully defended her PhD dissertation with the WSU College of Pharmacy’s pharmaceutical sciences program in 2014. Heidi is passionate about creating opportunities to keep the local talent coming out of the nine Spokane colleges and universities close to home, as well as helping to build infrastructure to attract others to the area.