This job is posted as a courtesy to our parent company and provides an opportunity to join the URI Research Foundation family. It is not a 401 Tech Bridge position.

POSITION TITLE: Director, URI Defense Sector R&D Initiatives and Operations
REPORTS TO: URIRF Executive Director, with additional reporting to Director, URI Foundation Business Engagement Center (BEC)

The URI Research Foundation (URIRF) oversees commercialization of protected intellectual property, and the development of business relationships with corporate and government partners for the University of Rhode Island. These commercialization activities advance Rhode Island’s economy while improving society and human lives.  The URIRF partners closely with the Business Engagement Center (BEC) of the URI Foundation, which is also charged with nurturing new relationships with both external corporations and governmental agencies, including those that fall within the defense sector.  Both of these non-profit institutions are allied with, and support, the research and economic development of the University of Rhode Island (URI), including its College of Engineering that hosts novel research and development with defense and military applications.

This position will be primarily housed in the URIRF, but with shared reporting lines to the director of the BEC and the Dean of the College of Engineering.  This position will be supported by all three entities, and the successful applicant will serve as both a bridge and catalyst for defense sector R&D across the university.

This role at The URI Research Foundation (URIRF) is a new position in our rapidly growing organization.  URIRF, in partnership with the BEC and the College of Engineering, is looking for an experienced leader to grow university activities supporting U.S. Department of Defense research, development, and commercialization.  These activities are expected to grow transformational research at the university as well as to support national defense initiatives.  Candidates should have the right blend of analytical talent, military background and business know-how. Successful applicants should be team players who not only understand how to identify a new opportunity, but also know what it takes to lead a team forward and realize that opportunity.  We are especially looking for someone with great communication skills, prior experience working with defense related projects and federal offices, and the ability to represent the foundation(s) and the university in any interactions with external partners.  The successful candidate will be routinely interacting with a wide variety of government agencies, corporate partners, university faculty and students.  Prior military service as an officer (any branch) is required.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Identify Department of Defense solicitations that match with University competencies.
  • Work with university stakeholders to improve DoD research projects outcomes and associated programming.
  • Identify additional DoD opportunities with other partners including universities and labs.
  • Work with federal and state partners to propose new research engagements that will leverage University capabilities which could fill DoD unmet needs.
  • Support startup ecosystem supporting DoD and dual-use commercialization efforts.
  • Investigate, recommend, and potentially manage new business opportunities which support the role of the BEC as the entry to URI for corporate partners, as well as the URIRF mission of technology commercialization and economic development.
  • Work with URIRF management team to define and execute business sustainability and growth of the organization.
  • Perform market research to identify new opportunities and engage with executives to establish strategies for pursuing those new opportunities.
  • Work closely with Polaris MEP and 401 Tech Bridge staff to connect technology with industry partners to grow revenue and jobs at those industry partners.
  • Create and improve proposals for our existing and new partners.
  • Support creation of organizational budget and continually track expenses, as well as make sure we are on track to hit revenue targets.
  • Provide training and mentoring to members of the organization.
  • Develop and deliver pitches for potential funding partners and clients, as well as to steward ongoing relationships with these entities (which may include defense contractors, governmental and intelligence agencies, and external academic partners).
  • Actively participate, with the VPRED ,Dean of Engineering and the Director URI-NIUVT Center, on the internal oversight committee for the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology (NIUVT), and to work closely with the management team of the joint URI-UCONN NIUVT to ensure growth and continued success of the institute.
  • Rely on deep knowledge and understanding of secure research, the design, construction and management of ITAR secure facilities, secure electronic communications facilities, and the management of facilities security to guide the university’s growth in this area.
  • Work closely with URI’s Facilities Security Office and Export Controls Office to increase URI’s activities that require security clearance and secure research environments; to advise senior leadership of the university as needed (and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, in particular) on any matters that pertain to defense-related R&D activities.

The above listed duties and responsibilities are for reference only. Additional duties and responsibilities may apply.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Engineering, Marketing, Finance, Accounting, or related field. MBA desirable. Experience may be substituted for field of study.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience working in or with federal agencies in a policy, strategic leadership or high-tech environment, with technical and business development experience. (Leadership/Management role in high tech environment highly desirable.)
  • Strong and effective strategic management skills are required, including long range planning, organizing, facilitating, communicating, influencing, gathering, and using information, and motivating a team to achieve results
  • Prior experience as an officer in any military branch, with service experience in a strategic leadership position
  • Prior experience managing others including recruiting, developing, setting objectives, measuring performance, and providing feedback.
  • Experience with managing Federal relations and knowledge of Federal authorizations and appropriations processes, and how they relate to university programs.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills including the ability to influence external and internal decision-makers and to provide direction and feedback to others.
  • Skilled in the use of computer for communication, data management and reporting including Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Must be able to work well under pressure, manage and prioritize multiple tasks and have a flexible schedule.
  • Previous knowledge/experience of Economic Development is highly desirable.
  • Previous Consulting experience highly desirable.
  • Top-notch analytical skills — you must have an eye for detail!
  • The ability to travel to meet partners, clients, attend conferences and research new markets as needed.


Compensation for this position includes competitive pay based on qualifications and experience and top-rated benefits package with health, dental, retirement and paid time off.  The URI Research Foundation follows safe COVID practices and is an equal opportunity employer.

To apply for this position, please send a resume and cover letter to

The URI Research Foundation is committed to creating a diverse environment built on respect for all. We are proud to be Equal Opportunity Employers. No persons will be discriminated against in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status or any other protected characteristic. We are committed to the fulfillment of this principle by employing individuals based upon job-related criteria including education, experience, and skills.

Each employee is expected to support and carry out this policy fully in all their relations with present and prospective employees and in any dealings, they may have with others as a representative of The URI Research Foundation. In fulfilling our commitment to creating and maintaining a diverse environment, The URI Research Foundation and its business units will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.