Wout Salenbien

Wout Salenbien

Innovation Analyst


PhD, Earth Science, Duke University
MSc, Geology, Ghent University
BSc, Geology, Ghent University


Wout Salenbien is an Innovation Analyst for RTI Innovation Advisors, a business unit of RTI International. He provides insights and commercialization support to commercial and federal clients. Dr. Salenbien is an expert in the areas of technology commercialization, innovation strategy and frameworks, life science innovation, consumer goods recycling, circular economy, and climate change mitigation, adaption, and resilience. With knowledge of federal grants and contracts, he has extensive experience developing research proposals for clients’ medical development, banking, software and technology, and agriculture frameworks.

Currently, Dr. Salenbien serves as the Deputy Program Manager for the NIH SEED TABA Needs Assessment Program. The Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) under NIH’s Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) office, supports biomedical innovation and commercialization. In this role, he helps small businesses augment the value of their innovation, enabling new technologies to get to market by providing guidance and support to overcome commercialization hurdles. Additionally, Dr, Salenbien is an innovation coach for the NIMHD application support program, where he supports small businesses applying for NIMHD SBIR/STTR grants. He improves his clients’ value proposition/competitive landscape, defines commercialization or go-to-market strategies, defines customer segments, and supports business model and market research.

Dr. Salenbien also has experience supporting climate projects. He worked on a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project to develop an easy-to-use approach to screen, assess, and manage climate and environmental impacts. He identified positive and negative climate and environmental consequences of new investments and enhances positive contributions of the investments towards climate change adaptation, resilience, and sustainability. In collaboration with the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence, Dr. Salenbien identified implementation strategies and barriers for drug checking services at harm reduction sites to guide future programs.

Before joining RTI in 2022, Dr. Salenbien worked with Eva Garland Consulting, where he created R&D roadmaps for non-dilutive funding across life sciences, manufacturing, green technology, and other industries. He also wrote, managed, and submitted proposals to private foundations and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, , Economic Development Administration, Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, and Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy.

In 2017, National Geographic Learning (with Cengage) highlighted in their Panorama Science reading materials Dr. Salenbien’s research on reconstructing Amazonian environments throughout time. Dr. Salenbien also volunteers as a reviewer for the National Geographic Society’s Early Career Grants program.

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