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Faculty and Staff

Leah Burton Named Board President of International Research Park Association

Fitts-Woolard Hall looks out from the side onto Hunt Library on Centennial Campus.

Leah Burton, director of NC State’s Office of Partnerships, a unit within the Office of External Affairs, Partnerships and Economic Development, has been named president of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Board of Directors. 

AURP is a nonprofit organization representing more than 250 research parks and innovation districts globally, as well as the companies supporting initiatives such as planning, building and operations of these research communities. Members include NC State’s Centennial Campus, Purdue Research Park, Research Park at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Research Triangle Park, Sandia Science and Technology Park, Stanford Research Park, University of Arizona Science and Technology Parks, University of Maryland Discovery District and Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, among others. 

NC State’s Centennial Campus has been a member of AURP since 1994, with Burton serving on the board since 2016, previously as secretary and vice president before her appointment as president this year. Nominated by her peers, Burton’s two-year term as president will officially start January 1, 2021 and run until December 31, 2022. 

“Leah brings an immensely valuable perspective to the AURP Board from her years of experience cultivating university-industry partnerships on NC State’s Centennial Campus,” said Kevin Howell, NC State’s vice chancellor for external affairs, partnerships and economic development. “We are proud of her appointment and look forward to the organization’s continued success during her tenure.”

Leah Burton, director of NC State’s Office of Partnerships

Brian Darmody, CEO of AURP, said: “Research parks and innovation districts are central to fostering groundbreaking discoveries built on unique public-private partnerships. NC State’s Centennial Campus has been a leader for many years, including recognition as AURP’s Award of Excellence Outstanding Research Park, and we are honored to have Leah’s insight as our members work to create high-impact communities of innovation that drive economic growth.”

Burton will be responsible for helping set strategy and direction for the Association, focused around membership retention and engagement, financial sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion programming.

“I’m honored to be selected as the incoming president of the AURP Board and to represent NC State’s Centennial Campus,” said Burton. “University research parks are important drivers of innovation, not just for their local communities but globally. AURP brings together diverse teams to identify best practices, bridge ideas and work toward collaborations that will solve big challenges. I look forward to working alongside our peers to help advance this mission.”