Dr. Walter G. Copan is Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at Colorado School of Mines, a leading U.S. research university. He also serves as Senior Advisor and co-founder of the Renewing American Innovation Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He previously served as Under Secretary of Commerce and 16th Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), having been unanimously confirmed by the Senate. At NIST he was the U.S. principal presidential advisor on standards policy and technology. Dr. Copan is a distinguished leader with wide-ranging experience spanning large company, venture capital, entrepreneurial tech startup, government, academia, and non-profit organizations. He completed his undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Music, and his PhD in Physical Chemistry at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Copan is a patent holder and has authored numerous professional publications and presentations and served on the boards of many organizations. He has contributed to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Council on Competitiveness, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the United Nations on innovation, technology transfer, energy, and economic development matters. Case Western Reserve University recognized Dr. Copan as the University’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2008. In 2018 he was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (FNAI). He was named 2020 Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, and AUTM recognized Dr. Copan with its 2021 Bayh-Dole Award for leadership and contributions to technology transfer and innovation. In 2022, he received the Baldrige Foundation Award for Leadership Excellence in Government.