As Vice President for Research at UVA, Thomas C. Skalak is responsible for the integration and enhancement of research activities across UVA’s eleven schools and multiple research centers, in partnership with external corporate, governmental, and private partners.
The university’s goal is to integrate the unique resources of a comprehensive research and learning organization to explore, discover, and invent, bringing diverse talents to bear on major societal problems and producing innovation that drives the creative economy.
Tom leads university-wide strategic growth activities, including multidisciplinary groups in innovation, big data, sustainability, energy systems, arts, and biosciences, and is a frequent speaker on collaborative innovation at Fortune 500 and government partners in the U.S., E.U., and Asia, including The White House, State Department, and National Science Foundation.
He led the launch of the OpenGrounds collaborative initiative, bringing faculty, students, and external partners together for cross-boundary collaborations; the UVA Venture Summit, which annually brings over $10B in active venture capital to UVA to discuss windows on the future of emerging fields; the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, a university-wide student concept competition featuring new business or social ventures; and the UVA Bay Game, a participatory computer simulation game that predicts behaviors of the nation’s largest estuary in relation to the human communities that surround it.
Tom is Professor of Biomedical Engineering with appointments in both Medicine and Engineering, and is a Faculty Affiliate of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Darden School of Business. An international authority on bioengineering, he served as Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UVA from 2001-2008, as past president of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) representing 60,000 professionals, and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).
He was the founding PI of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and other proof-of-concept funds including multiple corporate and private partners such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and the Ivy Foundation. UVA has produced a 42-1 ROI for the top 10% of portfolio projects, and 7-1 overall ROI. This successful UVA model for proof-of-concept research has been recognized by the U.S. Senate and Congress. A key goal is new venture creation, which creates U.S. high-value jobs that cannot easily be off -shored.
Tom is Program Director of the world’s largest bioengineering network, BMEplanet, with support of the NSF Partnerships for Innovation program, connecting bioengineers in 52 countries spanning 6 continents, and currently leads a U.S. Department of Commerce i6 program, the Virginia Innovation Partnership, a first-in-class innovation network spanning an entire state.
He serves as reviewer for NIH, NSF, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Science Foundation Ireland, and more than 30 scientific journals, and consults on innovation strategies with Fortune 500 companies and small ventures.