Fiona Murray is the William Porter (1967) Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, the Associate Dean for Innovation, Co-Director of the Innovation Initiative, Faculty Director of the Legatum Center, and recently appointed as a Member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology (CST).
She is an international expert on the transformation of investments in scientific and technical innovation into innovation-based entrepreneurship that drives jobs, wealth creation, and regional prosperity. Murray has a special interest in how policies, programs, and relationships between academia and industry can be designed to accelerate the productive role of universities in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. These include intellectual property issues as well as broader programs that enable technology transfer and commercialization.
A former scientist trained at Harvard University and the University of Oxford, Murray has taught and published extensively on fostering cultures that bridge scientific innovation and entrepreneurship, building effective entrepreneurial strategies for science-based businesses (in biotech and biomedical companies and recently, clean energy), and evaluating the commercial potential of novel scientific ideas. Closely tied to real world problems, Fiona works with science-based startups on their commercialization strategy as well as a range of firms designing global organizations that are both commercially successful and at the forefront of science. These firms seek to leverage the ideas of a wide range of internal scientists, external innovators accessed through traditional research contracts, as well as “Open Innovation” mechanisms including innovation prizes. Her recent engagements have focused on relationships that span the public and private sectors. She is particularly interested in new emerging organizational arrangements for the effective commercialization of science, including public-private partnerships, not-for-profits, venture philanthropy, and university-initiated seed funding and innovation-focused competitions and prizes.
The courses Murray teaches at the MIT Sloan School of Management – Innovation Teams (15.371), and New Enterprises (15.390) – encourage cross-campus collaborations that move scientific discoveries closer towards marketable products. She also has a particular interest in the entrepreneurial education of scientists and engineers, and in the role of women in entrepreneurship and commercialization of science.
In the same spirit of science and business collaboration, in 2001 Murray was one of the cofounders of the Biomedical Enterprise Program (MBS-MS), a joint program between the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and the MIT Sloan School of Management. She served on the Curriculum Development Committee for the program, has been on its Faculty Committee since 2002, and is now an Affiliated Professor in HST. She also works closely with the School of Engineering’s Deshpande Center which provides Proof of Concept funding and advice for early-stage research with commercial potential.
Fiona has spoken at events worldwide about building entrepreneurial capacity based upon the engine of scientific research. She also speaks in academic and policy settings on innovation and intellectual property in the scientific community. She has been published in a wide range of journals, including Science, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Research Policy, Organization Science, and the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Murray has served on the faculty at MIT Sloan since 1999. In 2006 she was promoted to Associate Professor in the Technological Innovation & Entrepreneurship Strategic Management Group. Previously, Murray held positions at Harvard University, the University of Oxford, the Asian Development Bank, and United Nations Environment Program in Kenya.
Murray received her BA ’89 and MA ‘90 from the University of Oxford in Chemistry. She subsequently moved to the United States and earned an AM ’92 and PhD ’96 from Harvard University in Applied Sciences.