Lisa Dhar to lead Innovation and New Ventures Office as associate vice president for innovation


Photo courtesy of Kayla Stoner

Lisa Dhar, Northwestern’s newest associate vice president for innovation. Dhar succeeds now-retired Alicia Löffler.

Joanna Hou, Campus Editor

Lisa Dhar will be the associate vice president for innovation effective April 3, Northwestern announced Thursday. 

Dhar will lead the Innovation and New Ventures Office, where she has served as director of new business ventures for engineering since 2016. In her previous position, she led the New Ventures Team, which provides resources for startups. She was also the interim executive director for NU’s InQbation Lab, a space for research-based entrepreneurship.

The INVO supports University inventors and entrepreneurs through a host of initiatives, including The Garage, which is home to more than 1,000 student projects and startups.

“I am excited by the many opportunities to work closely with the broader Northwestern community to make a difference in our world — by cultivating entrepreneurs across the University, translating Northwestern’s intellectual property into new and established companies and facilitating our next generation of startups,” Dhar said in an NU news release. 

Under Milan Mrksich, vice president for research, Dhar plans to expand interdisciplinary research opportunities and increase partnerships with local communities. 

Dhar succeeds Alicia Löffler, who founded the INVO and spent 12 years as its executive director. She announced her planned departure in October and retired in December. A group of University senior leaders, including Provost Kathleen Hagerty and Executive Vice President Craig Johnson, guided the search process. 

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