Diarmuid O’Brien will continue to act as CEO of Cambridge Enterprise for one day a week.

Diarmuid O’Brien, chief executive of the University of Cambridge’s commercialisation arm Cambridge Enterprise, is set to become pro-vice-chancellor for innovation at the institution in April. O’Brien will replace Andy Neely, whose term will conclude at the end of next month. O’Brien will continue to serve as chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise for one day a week “to provide continuity and connection”. The new appointment comes three years after Cambridge Enterprise selected O’Brien as chief executive. He previously spent five years as chief innovation and enterprise officer at Trinity College Dublin, an institution he had joined in 2005. Among O’Brien’s achievements over the past three years is the creation of Innovate Cambridge, an initiative to promote the greater Cambridge innovation ecosystem over the next decade which celebrated a milestone 100 signatories at the end of 2022. He has also supported the launch of Founders at the University of Cambridge, a mentorship programme aimed at boosting the university’s spinout ecosystem, as well as the Technology Investment Fund to drive intellectual property development. O’Brien has appeared on the Beyond the Breakthrough podcast multiple times, including in a one-on-one interview discussing his vision for the Cambridge ecosystem. That vision includes a fivefold increase in venture capital funding in Cambridge, he told us in a video interview last month. O’Brien commented on his new role: “The university and the broader Cambridge ecosystem are recognised as being globally leading for innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship. “I have seen this first-hand from my role as chief executive of Cambridge Enterprise and in helping to establish Innovate Cambridge. I look forward to my new role as pro-vice-chancellor for innovation and continuing to enhance the ambition for how the University of Cambridge can enable impact from our research and through our innovation partnerships.” Prof Neely added: “I’m honoured to have served in this role for seven years and delighted that Diarmuid has been appointed as my successor. The University of Cambridge’s impact on the world is significantly enhanced by our engagement with business and our world-leading innovation ecosystem and I have no doubt that this will go from strength to strength under Diarmuid’s leadership.”

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).