The University of Texas at Austin - Discovery to Impact


Discovery to Impact is the connection between campus innovators and industry. We cultivate ideas, uncover pathways to market, and foster commercial collaborations that translate academic research into services, treatments, and products that benefit society.

For decades, research commercialization has been central to our drive to change the world.

While there are more than 130 programs on campus devoted to championing entrepreneurship and intellectual property creation, at the center of this ecosystem is Discovery to Impact. Our team oversees the university’s technology transfer and corporate-sponsored research functions and two startup incubators. We build and nurture relationships with campus creators and inventors as well as corporations, investors and entrepreneurs to get research out of the labs and studios and into the world where it can be put to the greatest use.

Over time, you’ll see this website grow. Have a look around and come back regularly to learn about new programs and resources as they’re added. In the meantime, please contact us and let us know how we can help.

Bringing Research Discoveries to the World
Strategic plan for transforming research commercialization at UT

Discovery to Impact Units

Intellectual Property Development

Manages intellectual property generated by UT faculty, staff, and students and helps inventors shape their discoveries into technologies that address a market need. This team also oversees patent filing, prosecution, and maintenance as well as outbound software and copyright licenses, including releasing software under open-source licenses. 

Chun Kuo

Business Development

Cultivates relationships with industry and startups for the development and commercial launch of products and services based on UT Austin intellectual property. The Business Development team works with industry to identify and address the company’s needs through the licensing of intellectual property and collaborative sponsored research.

Robert Drubka

Licensing and Collaborative Research

Facilitates the licensing of university discoveries to businesses that will bring products and services to the marketplace. Creates and builds relationships with external parties that allow for the efficient negotiation and execution of contracts, providing rights to university IP in addition to directed research funding from the private sector.

Les Nichols

Texas Innovation Center

Brings engineering and scientific discoveries to the market by creating a community for collaborative research and entrepreneurship. The center’s primary focus is faculty and graduate students from the Cockrell School of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences but welcomes collaboration with all schools and colleges across campus.

Ashley J. Jennings
Managing Director

Austin Technology Incubator

Empowers university and community entrepreneurs to commercialize innovations and compete in the global marketplace, particularly within the sustainability, energy, mobility, water, circular economy and food & ag tech sectors. Offers mentoring and networking opportunities with the investor community and serves as the lead institution for the I-Corps Southwest Region Hub. ATI is one of the longest-active technology incubators in the U.S.  

Rebecca Taylor
Interim Executive Director

Program Development

Identifies needs and puts resources in place to fill them to better support campus innovators and entrepreneurs looking to advance commercially relevant discoveries to market. For more information about available support services and awards, along with submission deadlines, visit For Campus Inventors and Entrepreneurs. To learn about all programs on our horizon, visit our strategic plan.

Matt Sorenson
Innovation Program Manager
Andrew Worden
Entrepreneurship Program Manager

UT Seed Fund

The UT Seed Fund is an early-stage venture fund that invests exclusively in University of Texas-Austin licensed startups.  The goal of the UT Seed Fund is to bridge the funding gap between initial launch and VC funding for startups based on UT-Austin intellectual property (IP).

Mark Arnold
Managing Director

Life Science Technology Development

The Life Science Technology Development program helps accelerate patient access to groundbreaking, safe, and effective therapeutics and medical technology invented at UT Austin by moving these technologies through a multi-step development process to de-risk and prepare for clinical evaluation.


Mike Yost


The Operations team provides human resources, financial/accounting services, marketing/communications solutions, purchasing and business contract services, information technology resources, and data systems support across Discovery to Impact.

Tracy Hatfield
Associate Director