Jay Walsh

Jay Walsh

Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation
University of Illinois System

Jay Walsh became the University of Illinois’ vice president for economic development and innovation in May 2020 after spending more than 30 years as a faculty member and administrator at Northwestern University. He is a professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Dr. Walsh leads the Illinois Innovation Network, a collaboration among the state’s 12 public universities that drives inclusive and integrated research, innovation, and economic development across Illinois. He also guides an office that harnesses the U of I’s research, education, technology and innovation capacity to engage in strategic partnerships that drive economic impact locally and globally.

He was Northwestern University’s vice president for research from 2007 to 2019.  During his tenure, the university’s external sponsored awards grew 921% from $417 million in 2017 to $798 million in 2019, one of the largest increases of any university in the U.S. during that time period.  In his dozen years as the VP for research, Dr. Walsh grew the number of university-wide institutes and centers from fewer than 20 to more than 50 – each with significant external funding. Additionally, he championed global impact programs, such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship Young African Leadership Initiative and the program on Equity Development and Global Studies, as well as local programs that impact K-12 students in Evanston and Chicago, such as Science Club at the Girls and Boys Club of Chicago and programs at Lakeview and Mather High Schools in Chicago.

Dr. Walsh joined Northwestern in 1988. He was a professor of biomedical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he later served as associate dean for graduate studies and research and then senior associate dean. In 1997, he was recognized as the engineering school’s Teacher of the Year, and in 2005, he was selected as the Advisor of the Year.

Dr. Walsh currently serves on the Board of Directors at MxD, the Board of Governors at Argonne National Laboratory, the Board of Directors for Current, the Board of Visitors for Vanderbilt’s Engineering School, and he chairs the Board of the Chicago Council on Science and Technology.  Previously, Dr. Walsh was chair of the University Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP) Board and he served on the Board of Directors at Fermi National Laboratory, the Illinois Governor’s Innovation Council, the Naval Research Advisory Committee, and the U.S. Secretary of Navy Advisory Panel.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his Ph.D. in medical engineering from a joint Harvard Medical School – MIT program.