Details | Search for the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Position Description

Umstadter research facility

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s research expenditures totaled $295 million in FY2016. Federal research funding is comprehensive, with funding from a broad portfolio of agencies. The National Science Foundation accounted for 29 percent of federal research expenditures, followed by 23 percent from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 17 percent from the Department of Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health), 8 percent from the Department of Defense and 5 percent each from the Departments of Energy and Transportation. Nebraska’s goal is to exceed $300 million in research expenditures by 2018. NUtech Ventures’ license income exceeded $3.5 million in 2016, when nearly 90 disclosures were made and 27 new licenses and options granted.

Distinctive Research Strengths

  • Biomedical Research
  • Computer Science and Engineering
  • Food For Health
  • Digital Humanities
  • Food and Water Security
  • Early Childhood Education
  • High Energy Physics/Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • Materials/Nanoscience and Engineering
  • Plant Sciences
  • Transportation

Emerging Research Areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Brain, Biology, and Behavior
  • Drug Discovery and Development
  • Emerging Media Arts
  • Integrated Beef Systems
  • Obesity and Related Diseases
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

Learn more about research at Nebraska

Nebraska Innovation Campus

Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC) is creating spaces and culture that inspire. NIC is a research campus designed to facilitate new and in-depth partnerships between the University of Nebraska and private sector businesses. NIC is adjacent to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and strategically provides access to research faculty, facilities and students. At full build-out, NIC will be a 2.2 million square-foot campus with uniquely designed buildings and amenities that inspire creativity and engagement, transforming ideas into global innovation. NIC currently has 380,000 square-feet of office, conference center, lab, pilot plant and greenhouse space and is home to 30 private and public partners.

NIC also features a makerspace, a newly opened restaurant, and the Biotech Connector (10,000 square feet of wet lab research space). Construction on an 80,000 square foot multi-tenant building is under way at NIC and will be completed in the summer of 2018. This three-story structure will feature a planned business incubator and will contain common spaces to spur collaboration. A $750,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration supports the project, a partnership between NIC, the University, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Invest Nebraska and Bio Nebraska.

Nebraska Innovation Campus

National Strategic Research Institute

Nebraska has expanded its innovative defense-related research through the National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) ), one of only 14 U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) in the nation.

Founded in 2012, the NSRI is the only UARC in the country dedicated to delivering solutions for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction to U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and across other federal agencies. NSRI provides research and development for the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies in mission-critical competency areas – including development of medical countermeasures to WMD; nuclear detection and forensics; consequence management; chemical and biological weapons detection; and space, cyber and telecom law.

NUtech Ventures

NUtech Ventures is the University’s intellectual property and commercialization unit. NUtech’s mission is to facilitate the commercialization and practical use of innovations generated through the research activities at the university by identifying, evaluating, protecting, marketing and licensing intellectual property to promote economic development and improve the quality of life. NUtech also connects innovators with the people, coaching and resources they need to start companies, develop products and create jobs. Other services include connecting faculty with potential industry partners, entrepreneurs and investors. NUtech adds value to research by enabling a fully collaborative process for joint creation, development and commercialization so technologies can change the world.

University of Nebraska Press

The University of Nebraska Press extends the University’s mission of teaching, research, and service by promoting, publishing, and disseminating works of intellectual and cultural significance and enduring value. The Press celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016 and the is the largest academic press in the Big Ten Conference. During those 75 years the Press has grown to be the largest university press located between Chicago and California. It publishes both books (with more than 6,000 titles still in print and an additional 150 new titles each year) and journals (with nearly 30 different journals published each year).

University of Nebraska State Museum

The Museum is a comprehensive natural history museum with research collections of more than 5 million specimens in paleontology, parasitology, entomology, geology, zoology, botany, and anthropology. It is among the 25 largest natural history museums in the U.S. and is world renowned for its collections in vertebrate paleontology, parasitology and entomology.  The Museum has strong, federally funded research, education and outreach programs and close collaborations with university programs, school districts and the public. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is currently undergoing a major exhibit redevelopment, following a successful capital campaign.

Institutional Background
and Culture

UNL Visitor Center and Love Libaray

About the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, chartered by the Nebraska Legislature in 1869, is the campus of the University of Nebraska system that serves as both the land-grant and comprehensive public research university of the state of Nebraska. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln works cooperatively with the three other campuses and central administration to provide for its student body and all Nebraskans the widest array of disciplines, areas of expertise, and specialized facilities of any institution within the state.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is listed in the Carnegie Classification system as a research university with very high research activity, is one of the nation's leading public teaching institutions, and a research leader with a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities. The university is a member of the Big Ten conference and the Big Ten Academic Alliance. Nebraska is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and completed a successful reaccreditation visit in 2017.

Always a place of high ambition, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the first institution west of the Mississippi River to award doctoral degrees–the first was granted in physics in 1896. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln established the world's first undergraduate psychology laboratory. The discipline of ecology also was born here and the campus's botanical gardens and arboreta reflect that tradition. An early institutional interest in literature and the arts provided the foundations for today's Prairie Schooner literary magazine, the University of Nebraska Press, and the Sheldon Museum of Art, which houses one of the world's most significant collections of twentieth-century American art in a building designed by Philip Johnson.

Love Library

Rooted in these ideals, the University boosts a robust culture of research collaborations and activity, encourages multidisciplinary research, and works to enhance its regional, national and international collaborations. Nebraska’s citizens benefit from the knowledge and research generated by the faculty and students. This research-based service to the state is a feature that distinguishes Nebraska as a premier land-grant university.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's nine colleges - Architecture, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering, Hixson-Lied Fine and Performing Arts, Journalism and Mass Communications, and Law, is on an upward trajectory, with record student enrollment, student diversity and sponsored research funding. The University Libraries, a comprehensive research library, provides a wide range of scholarly and research resources in all formats. With more than 1,500 faculty and 26,000 students, including 5,000 graduate and professional students, Nebraska is a university poised to make major contributions to the state, region and beyond.

Key Attractions

The new Vice Chancellor will join the University at a pivotal moment in the institution’s history. There are a number of key opportunities to take advantage of, including:

  • The University has approximately doubled its research expenditures over the past decade and has been recognized nationally as one of the fastest growing public research universities.

  • The Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank, recently released “The Best Universities for Technology Transfer.” The report ranks the University of Nebraska system’s tech transfer efforts 35th among a field of 225 – putting NU in the top 16 percent nationally.

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s overall economic impact across the State of Nebraska was $2 billion (2016 TrippUmbach Economic Contribution Report), including directly or indirectly supporting 17,000 jobs across Nebraska.

  • Approximately $1.3 billion has been invested over the last 10 years in significant academic and research facilities, including new construction and renovations. Some of these projects include, the new College of Business building, enhanced student learning space in Love Library, the new nanoscience building adjacent to Jorgensen Hall, the new home of physics; the new East Stadium expansion that houses the nationally prominent research initiative known as the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior. Plans for renovation to Nebraska Hall/Scott Engineering Complex, Mabel Lee/Henzlik Hall, and the Food Industry Complex are underway.

  • University of Nebraska Foundation completed a $1.2 billion capital campaign where over $1.8 billion was raised. Priorities for these funds include scholarship support for undergraduates, study abroad scholarships, and graduate fellowships; support for endowed professorships, research professorships and chairs; support for targeted and identified academic and research programs; and support for campus facilities and infrastructure.

  • The Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences Program (UCARE) connects faculty with more than 400 students annually who work collaboratively on research and creative projects that advance new knowledge. The UCARE program is regularly included in U.S. News and World Report among the best university programs in undergraduate research.

  • Excellent faculty hires at both the junior and senior levels have transformed most academic units. The university had a record eight faculty named AAAS fellows in 2015, tied for the second-most fellows behind Stanford’s nine.

  • The University Honors Program provides an intense intellectual experience for top students in a major research university setting. One of the few honors programs in the nation where all students are required to engage in research and prepare a thesis for graduation, the Honors Program's successes are noted by strong graduation rates and a large percentage of alumni who graduate with distinction and compete successfully for admission to graduate and professional programs. The Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management develops leaders in information technology and business globalization while fostering professional skills in leadership, communications and collaboration.

  • Nebraska boasts 22 Rhodes Scholars and three Nobel laureates among its alumni. Nebraska is regularly named a top research institution whose students are awarded Fulbright scholarships and consistently succeed in prestigious national scholarship competitions.

  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s enrollment is growing and becoming more diverse. Fall 2017 enrollment topped 26,000 – the highest and most diverse enrollment in the history of the university.

  • In fall 2017, for the thirteenth straight year, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln made U.S. News and World Report's annual evaluation of America's Best Colleges' list of Public National Universities, placing it among the top one-fourth of all public universities. Nebraska is ranked near the top third of all national universities both public and private.

  • The University celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019. The rich history and collaborative culture represented today present a significant opportunity to shape and guide the university's future. The University enjoys strong public support from the citizens of the state. Nebraskans have high regard for the state’s only land-grant institution. Nebraskans value higher education and recognize that education is the key to a strong workforce and a vibrant economy.

The Position

As the chief research and economic development officer for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Vice Chancellor will provide intellectual, strategic and visionary leadership for the University’s research and economic development enterprise. The Vice Chancellor collaboratively leads and develops new programs and research directions to enhance the University’s intellectual contributions to discoveries, innovative partnerships to advance research and economic development and the national standing of the University. The Vice Chancellor strengthens links with the external community, in national and international arenas, articulating and implementing the overall vision for partnerships to promote research and economic development.

The Vice Chancellor reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Chief Academic Officer, and to the Chancellor on matters of economic development, and will work closely with the Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the college deans, industry partners and the University of Nebraska System’s President and Provost offices to achieve success in research, scholarly and creative programs, economic development and innovation initiatives. S/he will serve on the Chancellor’s Cabinet.

The Vice Chancellor oversees the Office of Research and Economic Development consisting of approximately 100 staff and the following units:

  • Office of Proposal Development
  • Office of Sponsored Programs
  • Research Compliance Services
  • Institutional Animal Care Program
  • Nebraska Innovation Campus
  • NUtech Ventures
  • Industry Relations
  • University of Nebraska State Museum
  • University of Nebraska Press
  • Vice Chancellor's Office

The Vice Chancellor also oversees or co-directs a large number of interdisciplinary research centers and programs:

  • Center for Biotechnology
  • Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior
  • Center for Digital Research in the Humanities
  • Extreme Light Laser Core Facility
  • Holland Computing Center
  • Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research
  • Nebraska Center for Integrated Biomolecular Communication
  • Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience
  • Nebraska Center for Prevention of Obesity Diseases
  • Nebraska Center for Virology
  • Nebraska Transportation Center
  • Nebraska Water Center
  • Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative
  • Redox Biology Center
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium

The Vice Chancellor will represent the university in broad ways. S/he will be a primary university ambassador for research and economic development among local, state, national and international stakeholders and represents the university in these roles:

  • Big Ten Academic Alliance Senior Research Officers
  • National Strategic Research Institute Board of Directors
  • Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences External Advisory Committee
  • Nebraska EPSCoR State Committee
  • Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation Board of Directors
  • Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board
  • NUtech Ventures Board of Directors
  • Universities Research Association Member
  • University of Nebraska Federal Relations Team
  • Water for Food Daugherty Global Institute Leadership Working Group

Leadership Agenda

The Vice Chancellor will lead, direct and promote Nebraska’s planned research and economic development growth. S/he will add to an innovative and intellectual culture that attracts excellent faculty and students.

Specifically, the Vice Chancellor will:

  • Plan and execute short- and long-term goals for Nebraska’s research and economic development enterprise
  • Ensure alignment and integration of research and economic development-related plans (at department, college and campus levels) with the University’s overall strategic plan
  • Provide leadership to meet goals for sponsored research to strengthen the University’s research portfolio and increase in national rankings
  • Build and grow partnerships with private and public sector sponsors
  • Identify gaps in key research areas and leverage research strengths into large-scale, multi-disciplinary projects that will allow Nebraska to win transformational research funding
  • Ensure growth in technology commercialization licensing and industry research funding in alignment with the University’s strategic plan
  • Develop strategies to ensure a necessary research infrastructure to align with existing research strengths and prepare for emerging opportunities
  • Oversee compliance with policies and required regulations in areas including research administration, research safety, intellectual property and research compliance and ensure effective communication of those policies with the university community
  • Work collaboratively to recruit and retain stellar faculty researchers
  • Interact with the University of Nebraska Central Administration Office, Board of Regents and other Nebraska constituent groups on research and economic development matters
  • Expand and foster collaborations with other institutions, especially fellow Big Ten Universities and the University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Support the expansion of international research relationships and activities

Candidate Profile Professional Experience and Qualifications

The University seeks a bold and inspiring leader with intellectual breadth, strong interpersonal skills, demonstrated expertise in research-driven programs and policies, experience developing and leveraging partnerships and success leading diverse, complex teams and/or organizations. The successful candidate must have significant leadership experience in developing and executing a strategic vision and must be a persuasive and sophisticated communicator who can extend upon the University’s reputation as a premier research institution. Candidates must understand the complexities of research agendas in higher education, be sensitive to the perspectives and values of faculty and students, have a commitment to shared governance and possess the ability to collaborate effectively with a broad range of constituencies both across the university and with external clientele.

Candidates should have an outstanding academic record; an abiding commitment to diversity, excellence and integrity; and possess a proven ability to inspire and motivate. Direct work with federal and other funding agencies and direct experience with technology commercialization and negotiating contracts with industry sponsors is required.

It is preferred that the candidate have demonstrated success in obtaining extramural funding to support research. National exposure to, or experience in, and/or a successful record of commercializing research and intellectual property into the private sector is desirable.


Candidates must hold a terminal degree, with scholarly or research accomplishments commensurate with the rank of full professor in his or her home tenure department.


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers an attractive compensation and benefits package commensurate with the successful candidate's background and experience. This position is a full-time 12-month administrative appointment.

How to Apply

The Search Committee will begin reviewing candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Priority consideration will be given to those materials received by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Applications should consist of 1) a letter summarizing motivation, relevant leadership experience and qualifications, 2) a detailed curriculum vitae and 3) the names and contact information for at least three professional references. References will only be contacted with permission from the candidate.

To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and all applications (PDF files preferred) should be submitted, in confidence, to:

Paul Chou
Senior Client Partner & Co-Managing Director, Education Practice
Korn Ferry International
UNL Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Search

The University of Nebraska is committed to a pluralistic campus community through affirmative action, equal opportunity, work-life balance and dual careers. See: