Patricia Marquez Knighten has been named director of Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s Innovation Commercialization, and will work to expand and enhance the work of taking research from NMSU’s faculty, staff and students to a global market.
“Assembling a diverse team during the early stages of development yields the best opportunities to tailor innovations to serve both scholarly and commercial interest,” said Kathryn Hansen, Arrowhead Center director.
Part of Arrowhead Center’s mission is to provide graduate students with focused, directed learning experiences in technology commercialization. The programs also work to enable the wider NMSU community to use the resources available.
"We aim to have development and commercialization work hand-in-hand when we can identify promising inventions and innovations," Hansen said.
Having worked in small business, high-tech start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, federal research laboratories, and government agencies, Knighten brings diverse business and program development experience. Her experience in technology commercialization has involved developing and implementing advancement strategies for government and business. She has been the key business liaison for technical teams in the aerospace, environmental, nuclear and information technology industry sectors.
Knighten, enthusiastic in supporting New Mexico’s tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem, led the reinstatement of New Mexico’s Office of Science and Technology, where she conceptualized and published “Innovate NM – NM Science and Technology Plan,” and enabled the creation of the Catalyst Fund of Funds for New Mexico startup companies. Knighten designed and executed a Technology Accelerator Pilot Program, demonstrating the Lean Startup Methodology for hardware-based technology projects.
“Our efforts at Arrowhead Center align with the strategic plan for NMSU across the board,” Knighten said. “It’s incentivizing an entrepreneurial culture and creating more partnerships with industry of all kinds, small and large, to leverage the university research. We want to promote the conversion of research into products with commercial potential that can be used for the greater good.”
“With industry relationships in place, more robust activity can occur. In other words, it's easier to commercialize research if there is a pipeline to the market,” she said.
Knighten said in moving from research to product, obtaining investment funding can be the most challenging. With help from the Arrowhead Center team, researchers will have a better footing during the initial development phases.
“A long-standing rule of thumb is that for every dollar spent on research, $10 are spent on development and $100 to commercialize,” she said. “Commercialization risks and costs can be reduced with forward leaning market and product development approaches. Arrowhead already offers a strong suite of commercialization activities and is in a strong position for impactful expansion to support building the next economy.”
Knighten is focused on leveraging the New Mexico’s strengths and expanding NMSU’s entrepreneurial footprint.
“When you think about national and global security concerns, the food, water, and energy nexus is at the forefront,” Knighten said. “The agricultural efforts at NMSU are going to be a crucial part of our state’s future and it’s up to the collaboration between NMSU researchers, Arrowhead Center and business partners to align innovations that bringing solutions to that problem space. These should be exciting times.”
“We have tremendous resources, human and natural, in the state. I believe it’s time for an alignment of creativity and implementation of new sustainable economic models and NMSU is well positioned to be on the forefront of that,” Knighten said.