The Penn Center for Innovation announces two key appointments to expand and enhance institution-wide innovation and technology commercialization activities

John Swartley, PhD, appointed as Penn’s first Chief Innovation Officer; Benjamin Dibling, PhD, promoted to Managing Director, PCI

Philadelphia—The Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) has announced two key appointments to support the next phase of its comprehensive innovation and commercialization plan. Building on his notable success leading the creation and remarkable growth of PCI over the last decade, John Swartley, PhD, has been promoted to Penn’s Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), a new position created by the University to further expand and implement a University-wide innovation agenda in close partnership with PCI and other critical stakeholders at Penn. Benjamin Dibling, PhD, most recently PCI’s Deputy Managing Director, has been promoted to Associate Vice Provost for Research and Managing Director of PCI. 

“John and Ben are the ideal team to accelerate and expand on Penn’s already significant innovation and commercialization activities. Penn’s strategic framework, In Principle and Practice, highlights the ‘Inventive University’ as one of its four strategic pillars, and I’m delighted we can leverage John and Ben’s significant leadership and talents to continue to build on the University’s success in this domain,” commented Dawn Bonnell, Senior Vice Provost for Research at Penn.

In his new role as Penn’s inaugural Chief Innovation Officer, Swartley will work with Penn’s leadership and Deans, researchers and innovation stakeholders across the entire University and its twelve schools, as well as key external partners, to help ensure that Penn continues to maintain its world-class status as a leader in the field of technology development, translation, and commercialization.

“I’m honored and delighted to be able to continue to support Penn’s key strategic goals in my new role as CIO. I’m looking forward to working with stakeholders across the University to further expand and capitalize on our already robust innovation portfolio. It has been a true privilege and honor working with the amazing team at PCI, and am extraordinarily pleased to know that Ben Dibling has been chosen to take over as Managing Director. Ben is the ideal leader for PCI, and I am highly confident that the organization is in great hands as we build beyond our last decade of success at Penn,” added Swartley.

John joined the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 as Senior Director and Head of New Ventures for the Center for Technology Transfer (CTT). He was instrumental in transforming CTT into PCI and has led PCI’s evolution and growth as Associate Vice Provost for Research and Managing Director since 2014. At PCI, John has assembled a robust team of industry experts and specialists with a focus on facilitating new license agreements, corporate partnerships and alliances, and new venture creation based on research and technologies created at Penn.

His extraordinary leadership is evident throughout the unprecedented success of PCI and its impact on the Penn research enterprise; well-exemplified by the university’s achievement of the highest amount of gross licensing revenue among its institutional peers for the last two reporting years running, and the fact that Penn affiliated startups received a record $1B in new investment capital over the course of the most recent fiscal year. John holds a B.S. in Biology from Bates College, an MBA and a PhD in Microbial & Molecular Genetics from Emory University.

PCI’s new Managing Director, Ben Dibling, PhD, joined the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 and most recently served as the Deputy Managing Director of PCI.  He previously led PCI’s licensing, corporate contracts and corporate outreach teams, who are responsible for working closely with faculty and other researchers to evaluate, protect and commercialize Penn inventions and discoveries, and facilitating engagement with industry partners and startup company formation. In his new role, Ben’s responsibilities expand to include leading the entire PCI enterprise.

“PCI has played a pivotal role in supporting the advancement of Penn innovations and discoveries towards new products and services for the benefit of society. Over the last few years, PCI has achieved record-breaking outputs in numerous key metrics, and it is considered to be one of the leading offices fostering innovation and commercialization across all academic institutions and research centers. It’s been a privilege working with Penn’s world-class faculty and research community, and I’m looking forward to continuing to build on PCI’s success and lead the exceptional team at PCI in the next phase of commercialization activities at Penn,” commented Dibling.

Prior to joining PCI in 2016, Ben was Senior Associate Director of Licensing in the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research at UCLA. Ben started his career in technology transfer in 2004 as a marketing intern at UChicagoTech, the office of technology and intellectual property at the University of Chicago, and was the Program Manager in Oncology at the time he moved to UCLA in 2011. Ben holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine from the University of Leeds and a BMedSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Birmingham, and is licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Contact: Laurie Actman

Chief Marketing, Communications & Program Officer



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