Darren Cooke has been selected as interim chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer at UC Berkeley, taking over from Rich Lyons.

Darren Cooke

Darren Cooke, executive director of the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, will become interim chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer effective July 1.

Cooke will assume the role on the same day that Rich Lyons, who has been chief innovation and entrepreneurship officer since January 2020, becomes chancellor of UC Berkeley. Lyons’ promotion was announced in April this year.

In addition to his work with the Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center, Cooke is a faculty member at the Haas School of Business, having held both positions since 2021. He has been chair of the Bio Track at the incubator programme Berkeley SkyDeck since 2018.

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Cooke has also lent his expertise to federal agency National Science Foundation’s I-Corps programme, which helps researchers find commercial applications for their inventions, since 2017. He has been an investor with Life Science Angels since 2015.

He also has more than 25 years of experience as an IP attorney.

Katherine Yelick, vice-chancellor for research at UC Berkeley, noted in an announcement sent to UC Berkeley staff that Cooke’s “extensive experience in innovation and entrepreneurship, coupled with his strategic leadership, has significantly contributed to the success of many initiatives on campus”.

She added: “His commitment to fostering an innovative environment ensures that we will continue to excel in our mission to drive long-term societal benefits.”

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).