UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May Names George Baxter to New Position of Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer

Photo of George Baxter
George Baxter (Courtesy)

University of California, Davis, Chancellor Gary S. May has selected George Baxter to serve in the new role of Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer, reporting directly to the chancellor and a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Council. Baxter is expected to begin on April 29, 2024.

Baxter currently serves as CEO of Edinburgh Innovations Ltd., or EI, the innovation management company of the University of Edinburgh, a position he’s held since 2016. Under his leadership, EI rose to be among the top four in several innovation rankings in the United Kingdom and was named the Global University Venturing Tech Transfer Office of the Year in 2021. Baxter also serves as an advisor to or board member of several Scottish, British and European organizations that foster university and business partnerships, as well as the TenU, a university group that includes Stanford, Columbia and MIT.

“I’m thrilled that George will join us in this key new position to further expand and strengthen our educational, research and service mission,” said May. “He has dedicated his career to entrepreneurial leadership and commercialization. He has deep connections with building networks across financial, business and academic sectors. I’m confident that he’ll help UC Davis improve our entrepreneurial efforts with renewed vigor and lasting outcomes for both the university and for our community.”

May created the chief innovation and economic development officer role to manage large and complex programs that impact broad constituencies. Baxter will establish and lead innovation and economic development for UC Davis and UC Davis Health across all internal and external partners, including engaging with industry and communities. He will be responsible for communicating across the university about innovation infrastructure and economic development. He will also lead the new Aggie Square Innovation District in Sacramento, which is under construction with phase one set to open early in 2025.

Prior to EI, Baxter was director of business engagement and innovations services and then director of research and enterprise at the University of Nottingham. Among many areas, he led IP and commercialization and corporate partnerships, directed the University Innovation Park and managed the university’s Asia Business Center, which operates across the U.K., China and Malaysia.

Baxter’s experience also includes serving as professor of research and enterprise for the University of Salford and eight years as director of science and innovation for the Northwest Regional Development Agency in England, an economic development unit of the U.K. government.

Other positions he’s held include as market manager in Europe and Japan for Astrazeneca Specialties, then the world’s leading supplier of colorants to the desktop inkjet printing market, and as commercial manager for two separate companies.

“I am excited to be joining UC Davis at this critical time,” Baxter said. “The quality and breadth of research here is world renowned and the Aggie Square development will help to transform innovation and enterprise activities. I’m looking forward to joining my new colleagues and moving to beautiful California.”

Baxter earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and his doctorate in synthetic organic chemistry, both from the University of Glasgow. Amongst his hobbies are long-distance hiking in the Scottish mountains and choral singing.

Media Resources

Media Contact:

  • James Nash, News and Media Relations, 530-219-0943, jnash@ucdavis.edu

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