Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez announced that Abby Benson has taken a new role as assistant vice chancellor for Research & Innovation, Industry Collaboration and AeroSpace Ventures.
Benson, who has served as executive director of CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures (ASV) since 2016, will provide seasoned leadership for both ASV and the Office of Industry Collaboration (OIC) in their respective missions while seeking to identify and leverage shared resources and opportunities across the two teams.
“Since ASV joined the Research & Innovation Office (RIO) last year, we have found there are some real synergies between OIC and ASV,” Fiez said. “This change will effectively tie these efforts closer together and help us take full advantage of the relationships and resources of both groups. And with Abby serving in this new role, we are assured of her continued excellent leadership.”
CU Boulder's ASV initiative creates a collaborative environment in which aerospace engineering and earth and space science faculty, students and industry partners work together to solve complex problems that lead to new discoveries and innovations. The OIC, which was led by Caroline Himes until her retirement in April, promotes and supports mutually beneficial opportunities for engagement between CU Boulder and industry.
“Since aerospace is such an area of strength for the university and the state of Colorado, exploration of productive partnerships with industry frequently involves joint efforts of ASV and OIC, so the pairing of these two groups is a natural fit,” Benson said. “I look forward to helping streamline our communications, shared systems and resources to better position CU Boulder to maximize our external relationships.”
This transition will primarily affect operations within the ASV and OIC teams and largely does not directly impact current or future partners working with the teams.
Benson was previously the associate vice president of Government Relations for the University of Colorado system, and has served in several leadership roles in the higher education government relations community.
Prior to joining CU, she held the position of assistant director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Washington, D.C., office. Benson also served for more than nine years as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, with specialties in maritime safety, security and environmental protection. Earlier in her career, she worked as an earth scientist for Tetra Tech and Arthur D. Little.
Benson earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics from Yale University and a master of science in transportation and a master of engineering in logistics from MIT.