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Vikram Jandhyala. (UW Photo)

After five years of leading the University of Washington’s innovation center, Vikram Jandhyala is stepping down.

Jandhyala, executive director of CoMotion, told GeekWire that he plans to depart this June. He’ll stay connected to the university and spend more time at the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), the new U.S.-China joint technology innovation institute run by the UW and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Jandhyala became the university’s vice provost of innovation in June 2014, taking over for Linden Rhodes after a 3-year stint leading the UW’s electrical engineering department. His title evolved into vice president of innovation strategy as Jandhyala led CoMotion, which helps startups through education and access to experts and funding sources.

Originally started as the Center for Commercialization (C4C) at the UW’s main Seattle campus, CoMotion evolved a few years ago from a department that mainly helped commercialize ideas born at the university to what it now describes as a “collaborative innovation hub dedicated to expanding the economic and societal impact of the UW community.”

Under the leadership of Jandhyala, the UW has ranked among the top 10 on Reuters’ list of the world’s most innovative universities for the past several years and cracked the top 10 of the Milken Institute national tech transfer rankings. CoMotion also helped open a makerspace on campus; created an Amazon Catalyst program; and launched the Mobility Innovation Center with Challenge Seattle.

“These last five years have been amazing and I am really proud of the momentum and accomplishments made by the team at CoMotion,” said Jandhyala, who first joined the UW as an assistant professor in 2000 and founded his own startup in 2007. “They have produced a standout service for the community of UW innovators and built strong connections to the local and global innovation ecosystems.”

Jandhyala is already the co-executive director at GIX, which recently celebrated its first graduating class, and will dedicate more time to the program after he leaves CoMotion in June. He’ll work closely with UW leadership to create a transition and succession plan for CoMotion.

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