Innovation Manager
Catholic University of Leuven

The lndustrial Research Fund (lOF) of KU Leuven forms a bridge between strategic basic research, technological innovations and industrial collaborations. Based on cooperations with KU Leuven research groups and different stakeholders from industry and society, we aim to broaden our valorization portfolio and to increase the transfer of knowledge. We have a team of more than 40 experienced innovation managers involved in the development of practical and innovative technological solutions based on the expertise and infrastructure of the research groups within KU Leuven. We are looking for an innovation manager to initiate, develop and support the valorization strategy around the innovative biorefinery production of bio-based building blocks and intermediates from renewable resources towards safe and sustainable materials and which is part of research groups from the Center for Sustainable Catalysis and Engineering; the Sustainable Materials Lab, and the Animal Physiology and Neurobiology Group.


You will act as a business developer. You will propose our biorefinery platform, its products, and sustainable materials to clients in industry and create a program in which both industry and the research groups are strengthened. You will manage the innovation/exploitation of the patent portfolio and novel developments in our biorefinery technology and its product portfolio of safe and renewable chemicals and materials.
Finally, you will be responsible for the scouting and acquisition of EU and regional projects with a high economic finality. 

Your responsibilities include:
  • Business development from research results towards industrial reality. This entails active involvement in identifying new industrial contacts and collaborations. As a gifted communicator and networker, you promote the different modalities of the consortium, strengthen existing relations and attract Industrial partners/users to the technologies developed in the consortium;
  • Managing the valorization of the biorefinery platform, its safe products and the IP portfolio of the consortium. This entails shaping patents and licenses, in consultation with KU Leuven Research and Development;
  • Participating in the development of and collaborating in (European/national) consortia and new grant application opportunities;
  • Promoting the research and valorization program at conferences, networking meetings and on-site company visits, while further developing the online presence (website, PR, social network) to create business activities;
  • Managing new and ongoing research projects with a clear valorization track (scientifically, financially, follow-up & reporting), such as H2020/HorizonEurope, Catalisti Moonshot eventually in collaboration with other knowledge partners;
  • Supporting the individual researchers and interdisciplinary teams to identify the most suitable valorization strategy for applied research results (patent, licensing, spin-offs).
    The Innovation Manager will coordinate the valorization program through regular meetings and inform the Management Board of achieved milestones.


  • PhD or equivalent research expertise in bioscience engineering, chemical engineering, biological or biomedical sciences, chemistry or biochemistry, and experience in strategic research management and/or business development. Additional education in general management, innovation management and/or entrepreneurship is an advantage;
  • Experience in chemical processes and chemical engineering concepts, chemical products (including safety) and raw materials, and/or materials chemistry;
  • Preferably experience with optimization and commercial valorization of renewable products;
  • Experience with technology transfer is strongly appreciated. The candidate should have a working knowledge on intellectual property;
  • Experience with managing (multi-partner) projects. Experience with ideation, development of business opportunity plans and venture creation is a plus;
  • Preferably work experience in a commercial setting, whether in an industry or as a division manager with a tech-transfer focus;
  • Collaborative spirit and be willing to work as part of different research teams;
  • Preferably familiar with European and national applied research funding schemes;
  • Preferably experience in (applying for), amongst others, European projects, regional projects with industry involvement, bilateral cooperation projects, etc.;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset;
  • Strong communication and negotiation skills;
  • Enthusiastic can-do mentality.
You work in Leuven and Kortrijk, but you should regularly perform company visits and participate to conferences/workshops and other events in Belgium and abroad.


An exciting and challenging job, focused on continuous innovation and development in a transdisciplinary and international context. We offer a permanent position as Innovation Manager of the Industrial Research Fund (IOF) at KU Leuven, a world famous university.


For more information please contact Mr. Sammy Brié, tel.: +32 16 37 37 24, mail: or Prof. dr. ir. Bert Sels, tel.: +32 16 32 15 93, mail:
Please note that the first round of interviews (including case study) will take place on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
You can apply for this job no later than August 07, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: August 7, 2020
  • Tags: Bio-ingenieurswetenschappen

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