UC Office of Innovation leadership transition announced

Ryan Hays named chief innovation and strategy officer

University of Cincinnati President Neville G. Pinto announced to campus today that UC’s Chief Innovation Officer David Adams has accepted a new role as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development under Governor Eric Holcomb. Adams came to UC in 2017 as the University’s first Chief Innovation Officer. He also served as CEO of the University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI).

In 2018, Adams and his team launched the 1819 Innovation Hub, a dynamic space dedicated to fostering creative collaborations between industry and academia. In the first year of operation, 1819 welcomed more than 50,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors. Corporate partners include P&G, Kroger, Cincinnati Bell and others. Under his leadership, the Venture Lab housed in 1819 increased the number of start-up companies to 89. In 2020, Adams joined President Pinto in announcing the establishment of the Cincinnati Innovation District and a $100 million investment from JobsOhio. In 2021, Adams recruited Lightship Capital, a venture fund and accelerator dedicated to supporting under-represented founders, to the Cincinnati Innovation District. Adams also represented UC on several boards.

During his tenure, the intellectual property policies were revised, subsequently serving as the state’s model with the Ohio IP Promise. In a similar fashion, the Cincinnati Innovation District became the model for the state with the subsequent innovation districts announced in Cleveland and Columbus. During this time, UC earned national and international recognition, including Reuters’ 100 most-innovative institutions; 2019 designation by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) as a top 100 university;  and 2021 recognition of the university for exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development with the Innovation & Economic Talent Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

“David has built a tremendous foundation of excellence for the University’s fast-growing innovation ecosystem. The Cincinnati Innovation District is already making a real and lasting impact on our city, region and state. On behalf of the University, I want to thank David for being such a wonderful champion for all things UC,” said Pinto.

Ryan M. Hays, PhD
Executive Vice President
President-Executive Office

Ryan Hays, UC executive vice president

Starting next month, the Office of Innovation will report to Executive Vice President Ryan Hays. Hays will assume the additional title of Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer.

As chair of UCRI’s Board of Directors from 2014 to 2022, Hays played a pivotal role in recruiting the first CIO, launching 1819 and establishing the Cincinnati Innovation District. In 2018, Governor Kasich appointed him to the Third Frontier Advisory Board. He holds a PhD in psychoanalytic studies and postmodern theory from Emory University.

“Having served as Executive Vice President since 2012, no one knows the University better than Dr. Hays. He brings that perfect blend of insider knowledge and external experience to the table. He’s been deeply involved in creating and accelerating our innovation agenda since my arrival in 2017. I know with confidence that he can move our efforts to the next level,” noted Pinto.

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The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.

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