Alice Li, PhD, CLP

Executive Director, Center for Technology Licensing
Cornell University

Candidate Biography

Alice Li is the Executive Director of Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University (CTL), the university’s technology transfer office. She oversees activities in technology management, licensing, marketing and finance to support Cornell’s goals in commercializing technologies, promoting startups, and building partnerships. Alice also leads the university gap funding initiative to accelerate innovation and new venture creation.

Alice has over 20 years of experience in university tech transfer and business development. She started as a licensing officer with hands-on management of invention portfolios, negotiations of complex deals, and engagement with startup companies. She rose through the ranks of CTL and became the Executive Director in 2014. Prior to joining Cornell, Alice was an R&D manager at BioArray Solutions, a startup biotech company in diagnostics that was later acquired by Immucor. During her five-year tenure there, the company grew from a two-person startup to an enterprise of fifty people. Alice is also an inventor, patent holder, and author of research papers in scientific journals.

Candidate Q&A

What experience do you have working on or with a strategic Board of Directors?

Working with the Board of Trustees at Cornell on research and innovation. Serving on the board of two startup incubators. Organized the committee that oversees the gap funding program. Reported to the University-wide tech transfer advisory board.

Please include a brief description of your volunteer experiences within AUTM.

While serving on AUTM New Metrics committee from 2013 to 2017, I worked with the team to produce the annual Licensing Activity Survey, including a special one for the 25-year report. I served on the Membership committee to help grow AUTM memberships in the US and abroad from 2004 to 2009.

Why do you want to join the AUTM Board of Directors?

I am passionate about applying technologies to improve the well-being of people. With the increasing breadth and pace of technology transfer, there are constantly growing demands placed on our profession in terms of our knowledge, connection, and execution. Empowering AUTM members to grow and to be successful in this changing environment will be a top priority for me if elected. Advocating for impact-based metrics for success and gaining support from stakeholders are my other priorities.

Have you served in a volunteer leadership role for other organizations? If so, please explain.

I served as the co-chair for the LES Western New York Chapter when we restarted it in 2016. We mobilized local members to plan for the Chapter and organized a number of events.

If elected by the Membership to the Board, would you consider serving as Chair? Please explain.

This is a possibility I will consider although it is not something I have weighed carefully at this moment. My decision will be based on my working with the Board and gaining knowledge about the position after spending time as a Board member.

Please share personal strengths that you believe would be valuable to the AUTM Board and/or the strategic direction of the Association?

I am creative in establishing new initiatives through experiment-based approaches. For example, in the past several years, we have successfully created new initiatives such as FastTrack for Startups, Gateway for Partnerships, and IGNITE gap funding series to accelerate innovation and startup formation. I am a consensus builder to support and manage complex systems and stakeholders. For example, Cornell has three main campuses (one in Ithaca and two in New York City), each with different ecosystems. I routinely work with stakeholders with very different mindsets and priorities to reach common goals.

What special experience do you have in driving and implementing a strategic plan?

When new initiatives are implemented, we obtain the support from various levels of stakeholders - from trustees to active alum community and faculty champions. We establish appropriate criteria to measure success. We build the guiding structure, identify the execution team, and create milestones.

How do terms of  the position (both responsibilities and time commitment) fit with your other responsibilities? Will you have any conflicts of commitment between your full-time position and your volunteer time on the AUTM Board?

Strategic planning and operation management are very important parts of my day-to-day responsibilities. To extend those to AUTM will be both natural and exciting to support the US and international tech transfer community. What I learn from the Board and the peer institutions will provide insight to my regular job as well. I can satisfy the required time commitment for a AUTM Board member. My supervisor, Vice President for Research and Innovation at Cornell, supports my application.

AUTM is committed to addressing issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion both on the Board and on behalf of our Members. Briefly describe how your experiences can contribute to the Association’s growth in this area.

 Last year we established the Women Innovator Initiative at Cornell to promote women’s engagement in innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship. I have been mentoring underrepresented minority professionals in their growth to become leaders in tech transfer.

Is there anything else you would like AUTM Members to know about you before they vote?

I strive to find joy and freedom in the process of “being and becoming”. I want to aid others to find the joy and happiness in their work.