Penn State launches national search for vice president for research

January 28, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has launched a national search for a new vice president for research, the University announced today (Jan. 28).

Neil Sharkey, who currently holds the post, will retire on June 30.

The role of vice president for research includes serving as the principal administrative officer for the Office of the Vice President for Research, which advances, facilitates and manages the full breadth of Penn State’s research activities across the institution.

Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of the College of Engineering, will chair the search committee for Sharkey’s successor.

The next vice president for research should have experience leading an innovative, multi-disciplinary enterprise across a complex organization and be able to share a vision of the research enterprise with Penn State’s broad constituency and provide leadership in pursuing this vision. 

The successful candidate must demonstrate a record of strategic leadership success in a complex, quickly changing environment and the capacity to serve as an ambassador for the research enterprise at Penn State and beyond. Experience managing staff, programs and resources is critical, along with the ability to inspire faculty and students, recognizing all links in the research value chain, from basic discovery to translation to implementation, in a multicultural, global society.

The vice president serves as a catalyst for the expansion and support of a thriving innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that allows for university-developed technologies to make their way from the lab to the marketplace, providing benefits to researchers, students, the University, the Commonwealth and all of society. The Office of Research sustains this ecosystem through programmatic support for intellectual property creation, startup creation and technology transfer via startups and strategic industry partnerships, which include the utilization of Innovation Park as an asset for incubation and strategic industry partner co-location, as well as programmatic support of the University’s 21 campus community-based innovation hubs.

Candidates must have credentials appropriate for a tenured appointment at the rank of professor to apply.

Letters of application, which must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and names of four references; nominations; and inquiries may be sent to

More information about the Office of Research can be found at

Search committee members include:

  • Squire J. Booker, Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Dean Capone, head, Fluid Dynamics and Acoustics Office, Applied Research Laboratory
  • Douglas R. Cavener, Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science
  • James L. Delattre, assistant vice president for research and industrial partnerships
  • Joseph J. Donczecz, associate vice president for finance and corporate controller, Finance and Business
  • Kathryn D.R. Drager, associate dean for research and graduate education, College of Health and Human Development
  • Frank T. Guadagnino, vice president for administration
  • John R. Hellmann, senior associate dean of graduate education and research, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Ivor Knight, associate dean for research and graduate studies, Penn State Behrend
  • Bruce E. Logan, Evan Pugh Professor in Engineering and Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering
  • Susan McHale, distinguished professor of human development and family studies
  • Leslie J. Parent, vice dean for research and graduate education, College of Medicine
  • Clive A. Randall, director, Material Research Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Andrew F. Read, Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and Entomology
  • Ruth I. Weber, assistant vice president for research operations, Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Nicole Sheree Webster, associate professor of youth and international development
Last Updated January 28, 2019