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Lena Leonchuck | RTI

Lena Leonchuk

Senior Innovation Policy Analyst


PhD, Psychology, North Carolina State University
MS, Psychology, North Carolina State University
BS, Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University


Lena Leonchuk is a thought leader in innovation management with over 12 years of experience. Her work has been focused on guiding investments in science and technology and developing programs and strategies that build stronger innovation capacity and facilitate equitable development. 

Dr. Leonchuk has wide-ranging experience in addressing structural and cultural issues that can impede or accelerate innovation process at its different stages, from pre-competitive research and development (R&D) to commercialization and ultimately adoption. Her work spans across the innovation ecosystem where she led and contributed to projects for more than 20 science agencies, philanthropic organizations, and industry that see innovation as part of their mission. Universities often play a central role in this ecosystem as they are the main source of talent and fresh ideas and serve as a playground for testing those ideas in their corresponding regions and ecosystems.

At RTI, she effectively collaborates with various experts, such as in intellectual property, technology transfer, venture capital, and domain-specific subject matter experts, to develop approaches and strategies that reduce obstacles to responsible innovation. She believes that with proliferation of emerging technologies and geopolitical instabilities only boundary-spanning and creative thinking can help keep progress equitable. To enable better support for the innovator community, Dr. Leonchuk also leads and contributes to digital transformation initiatives with strong emphasis on data integration to facilitate collaboration and improve efficiency of innovation management. 

Before joining RTI in 2019, she was a Research Scholar at North Carolina State University where she studied the innovation ecosystems and models of industry-university-government partnerships and conducted mixed method evaluations of the innovation programs for three Federal science agencies.