Alan O'Connor

Senior Economist


Alan C. O'Connor is a senior economist and the director of innovation economics at RTI International. His portfolio consists of program evaluations, economic analyses, and advisory services for S&T funding and performing organizations. Alan focuses on supporting decision-makers in evaluating the returns on their investments, assessing investment opportunities, and identifying lessons learned and how to incorporate best practices. Currently, he is the evaluation director for multiple accelerator and start-up support programs, advising on basic science evaluations, and supporting the launch of innovation districts. An economic analysis that quantified that socioeconomic benefits of GPS is set to be published in June 2019.


In the United States, his clients and sponsors include NIH, NIST, EPA, DOE, CDC, BARDA, and several foundations, universities, and management consulting companies. Globally, he supports such groups as the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Alberta Innovates, CSIRO, the Knowledge Sector Initiative (Indonesia), and Thailand’s Ministry of Science and Technology. He authored or co-authored evaluation guides and updates for several agencies, including DOE and CSIRO.


A unifying theme of his work is the role of public funding and public-private partnership in catalyzing and accelerating innovation to overcome technical and market barriers to socially optimal outcomes. His diverse research interests include renewable energy, medical imaging, technical infrastructure and standardization, immunization technology, start-up company support, and advanced manufacturing. Alan holds undergraduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.