Andrea Belz to lead NSF Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships
February 21, 2019
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Andrea P. Belz of the University of Southern California (USC) as division director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) in the Directorate for Engineering. Belz, who begins her NSF appointment on May 13, 2019, is vice dean for technology innovation and entrepreneurship in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
“With her leadership abilities, creative thinking and first-hand experience with small business, partnerships, entrepreneurship, and investors, Dr. Belz will be an asset to the division and to NSF as a whole,” says Dawn Tilbury, NSF assistant director for engineering. “She has demonstrated a remarkable ability to make technological innovation activities succeed, scale, and benefit more people.”
At USC, which she joined in 2012, Belz has been Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Technology) in the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Marshall School of Business, and the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation. From 2014 to 2015, she also served as visiting professor of engineering and applied sciences at the California Institute of Technology.
Since 2014, Belz has been director of Innovation Node-Los Angeles (IN-LA), a regional hub for the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program that supports entrepreneurship by scientists and engineers and accelerates technology commercialization. In addition to helping engineering teams in Southern California attract private capital, she extended relationships outside of southern California to share innovation opportunities with communities where there are few resources for nascent entrepreneurs.
Belz has consulted to groups including Avery Dennison Corp., Caltech, Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon and UCLA on commercialization opportunities, as well as with many university startups and venture capital firms. She was the first woman to represent the Pasadena Angels on a portfolio company board, serving as a director of Caltech spinoff Ondax until its acquisition in 2018. For 10 years, she advised NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on systems engineering and roadmap development for many technologies, including electronics and life detection.
Belz’s research has focused on technology ventures from startups through publicly funded launch programs to private funding. She has also developed innovation education and assessment programs through Project PALISADES (Promote, Accelerate, and Launch Innovation in the Security, Aerospace, and DEfense Sectors), a USC Viterbi initiative to connect the defense, security, and innovation communities.
Belz earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland at College Park and doctorate at the California Institute of Technology, both in physics; she earned a master’s degree in finance at Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business. She has been an active member of the investor community through the Pasadena Angels, Innovate Pasadena, Golden Seeds and other groups. She has authored or co-authored dozens of refereed articles, peer-reviewed conference presentations and proceedings on technical topics and innovation, and she authored a book on product development.
IIP invests in high-tech small businesses and collaborations between academia and industry to transform discoveries into innovative commercial technologies with societal benefits.
Sarah Bates, NSF, (703) 292-7738, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.