The University of Tennessee System (UT System) invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President for Research (VPR). This leader will succeed Dr. Stacey Patterson, who has served with distinction in this role since 2017, and has accepted an appointment as Vice President of Research at Florida State University.
The UT System has a presence in each of Tennessee's 95 counties. Through the combined force of education, research, innovation and outreach, it serves students, business and industry, schools, governments, organizations and residents statewide. The UT System enrolls about 54,000 undergraduate and graduate students statewide, and more than 13,000 students graduate from UT campuses each year with bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional degrees.
Research is a critical part of the UT System mission. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is a Carnegie-designated Research 1 Doctoral Institution, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is a Special Focus Four-Year Research Institution, and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga is a Carnegie-designated Doctoral/Professional University. Additionally, UT faculty and students system-wide are involved in research, adding to the body of knowledge in academic disciplines and providing solutions to everyday problems. In fiscal year 2021, the UT System had a record $437 million in research and sponsored program expenditures.
The UT System is among fewer than 10 higher education entities across the country with a prestigious management role with a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory. Through UT-Battelle, the UT System has managed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the DOE since 2000, while UT collaboration with Oak Ridge dates back more than 50 years. ORNL is the nation's largest open-science laboratory, with an annual budget of $2.2 billion, and UT is ORNL's largest research partner, with approximately 220 UT faculty who have joint appointments with the lab.
The Vice President for Research will serve as a member of the President's Executive Leadership Team and as a liaison to the UT Board of Trustees on research and innovation-related matters. This leader plays a key role in advancing and promoting the UT System's research and innovation mission. The VPR is responsible for facilitating and supporting strategic partnerships among UT System institutions, state and federal government, laboratories and agencies, business and industry, nonprofit organizations, and other public and private institutions of higher education.
The Vice President will encourage investment in research infrastructure; promote successful major grant and center opportunities, especially those that bring UT campuses and other partners together; serve as a champion for the UT System's research and innovation mission; and enhance its state, national and international research reputation. The VPR will have primary responsibility within the UT System for the UT-Battelle relationship and the operations contract for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The ideal candidate should have demonstrated success as a principal investigator of substantial competitive federal research grants (or equivalent) and in attracting support for research from private partnerships, government agencies (including DOE), industry, and other funding entities. The Vice President will have knowledge of and a deep commitment to research compliance and integrity and will possess the ability and acumen to help translate research for societal gain and enhancing workforce development for economic growth.
The successful candidate will be presented with the opportunity to achieve the following professional and personal accomplishments:
Serve as a senior leader of one of the most respected systems of higher education in the country, whose reputation and resources have made it a national role model for the delivery of research and innovation, and high quality affordable education.
Assume accountability for a diverse mix of strategic and operational areas, including the University of Tennessee's relationships with Battelle, ORNL, and the U.S. DOE.
Work directly with a diverse and outstanding mix of UT campuses, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors for Research, Deans, department chairs, centers, and institute directors who are each aligned towards the achievement of the UT System's and the state's collective goals.
Regularly engage with Tennessee's public officials as a key "point person" in publicly articulating the UT System's research strategies and initiatives.
Work with stakeholders, in Knoxville and across Tennessee, a region known for its economic vitality, quality of life, and diversity of regions and communities.
In collaboration with the UT Government Relations and Advocacy team, liaise and champion on behalf of UT for research support and growth opportunities at both the state and federal levels.
This Vice President for Research position has been recently reimagined to place even more emphasis on supporting the partnerships with Battelle and ORNL and to further heighten the importance of building greater research capacity among all of the UT campuses. The VPR will serve as UT's representative within UT-Battelle; will serve as a coordinator and a convener for the chief research officers at the campuses; and will work with the Office of Government Relations and Advocacy on state and federal opportunities that support research and innovation.
Each UT campus has unique strengths and draws upon the many assets within their local communities as well as prevailing opportunities to collaborate with investigators across the UT System. Accordingly, research and innovation is reparented by different, yet potentially synergistic, emphasis at each campus. To learn more about research and innovation at each of the UT campuses and institutes please follow the links below:
Building system-wide research capacity and productivity
The newly envisioned Vice President for Research is responsible for coordinating with campus research leaders across the UT System to help inspire and facilitate an enterprise-wide portfolio of research, scholarship, and creative activity that supports the region, state, and other external partners. The VPR will provide a broad, strategic vision and collaborative leadership that supports the campus-level chief research officers to elevate the quality and collective scope of UT's research and innovation mission. Externally, the VPR will engage with officials to build and maintain community, state, and federal relations - especially regarding research opportunities - and work to promote the growth of research opportunities between and among the UT campuses, and private and public sector partners, and promote economic development opportunities through research relationships.
The VPR will set policy and direct strategic investments from the UT System to support programs that strengthen and grow the University's priorities. The VPR will additionally work with campus research offices to facilitate the procurement and/or development of research administration tools that support campus efforts while allowing for system-wide reporting of research. The office will maintain an electronic research administration software system and will be responsible for the UT System's research-related reporting, including federal reporting requirements and internal dashboard metrics.
Accountability for the Battelle/ORNL/Department of Energy Partnership
UT-Battelle, LLC, was established in 2000 as a private not-for-profit company for the sole purpose of managing and operating the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. DOE Formed as a 50-50 limited liability partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, UT-Battelle is the legal entity responsible delivering the DOE's research mission at ORNL. As the lead executive in managing this partnership, the VPR will:
Serve as UT's primary liaison to the ORNL leadership team, the U.S. DOE, and Battelle Memorial Institute on matters that relate to the UT-Battelle management and operations contract for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Chair the Science and Technology Committee and serve as a member of the Executive, and Personnel & Compensation Committees of the UT-Battelle Board of Governors.
Work with ORNL leadership on S&T risk assessment, contractor assurance, and program attainment.
Work with the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII) to ensure alignment of system-wide research and development goals with UT-ORII technical focus areas, educational and workforce development programs;
Work with the campus-level chief research officers and the UT-ORII executive director to coordinate multi-university research initiatives, resources, and support in areas of strategic importance to the UT System, ORNL, and the State of Tennessee;
Ensure compliance and accountability for joint UT-ORNL programs managed by UT-ORII, including the Governor's Chairs, joint faculty, and joint research, education, and workforce development programs.