U.S. Economic Development Administration
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Eric Paul Smith currently serves as the Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) at the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). He manages Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, OIE’s grant program that fosters sustainable and agile innovation-based economies by building regional capacity to translate research into jobs, including the evaluation of its applications and its resulting grant portfolio—currently nearly 100 grants with an aggregate budget of more than $85 million. He co-leads the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), which develops actionable Federal policies and programs to foster innovation, increase access to capital, and catalyze the creation of new, scalable businesses. Eric also represents EDA and OIE in a variety of interagency and external initiatives that support innovators and entrepreneurs throughout the country and provides intellectual property expertise. Prior to his tenure at OIE, Eric served as a patent examiner focused on telecommunications technologies at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). There, he led interactions with patent applicants and attorneys to resolve complex legal and technical questions and to efficiently identify patentable subject matter and helped lead his unit’s transition to a new, US-EU joint patent classification system. Prior to government service, he practiced in-house in the fintech sector, where he focused on software licensing, revenue management and recognition, and legal process management. Eric received his J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and his B.S. in computer science and mathematics, along with a technical translation certificate in German, from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He is licensed to practice in the State of New York.