Walter G. Copan

Senior Adviser (Non-resident) and Co-Founder, Renewing American Innovation Project

Dr. Walter Copan is cofounder of the Renewing American Innovation Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Currently, he serves as vice president for research and technology transfer at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He previously served as under secretary of commerce for standards and technology and 16th director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a position to which he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. He served as the U.S. principal presidential adviser on standards policy and technology matters and provided high-level oversight and strategic leadership for NIST, a world-leading science and technology institute. Under his widely acclaimed leadership, he spearheaded streamlining and modernization of foundational policies and practices for innovation and technology transfer arising from federally funded research to benefit the economy and society. Dr. Copan is a distinguished leader with wide-ranging experience spanning large company, entrepreneurial tech start-up, U.S. government, nonprofit, and other public sector settings. For the U.S. government, he also served with two of the Department of Energy national laboratories: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is a sought-after speaker and thought leader on matters of science and technology, strategy, entrepreneurship, technology commercialization, intellectual property, and innovation. Dr. Copan began his career in research and development and business leadership at the Lubrizol Corporation. He earned undergraduate degrees and his PhD in physical chemistry from Case Western Reserve University and holds a certificate in advanced business administration studies at Harvard Business School. He was named 2020 laboratory director of the year by the U.S. Federal Laboratory Consortium. The Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) recognized Dr. Copan with its 2021 Bayh-Dole Award for contributions to innovation and technology transfer.