Virginia Tech announces leadership promotion and structural changes to further accelerate research growth
Virginia Tech has announced several organizational changes to further accelerate progress toward the university’s goal of being recognized as a top-100 global research university. These include promoting chief research and innovation officer Dan Sui to senior vice president and shifting responsibility for the Office of the Vice President for Strategic Alliances to the Office of Research and Innovation.
“By elevating Dr. Sui’s role and expanding the responsibility of his office, Virginia Tech is prepared to accelerate the growth of our research enterprise and engage with potential partners to find new and innovative ways to solve the challenges that are emerging in a rapidly changing world,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Since announcing this goal five years ago, and in spite of the global pandemic, we are well-positioned to advance in the world university rankings.”
Last year, Virginia Tech’s research expenditures totaled $556 million, including a significant 15 percent increase in sponsored awards. Virginia Tech was recently listed as 251-300 in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Ranking, which judges research excellence on a global scale. Among research-intensive, public land-grant universities, the university is currently ranked No. 16 with the goal to become No. 13 by 2024. Last month, Virginia Tech launched the National Security Institute, aspiring to become the nation's preeminent academic organization at the nexus of interdisciplinary research, technology, policy, and talent development to advance national security.
“We see this as a pivotal moment at Virginia Tech, when we can better coordinate the great work that’s being done across our university and give it even more of the focus, support, and direction needed to take our research enterprise to the next level,” said Virginia Tech Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “Through Dan’s leadership and vision for our research enterprise, these organizational changes will help us to better align our research institutes, faculty, and partnerships with the strategic goals of the university,”
The Office of Research and Innovation enriches, cultivates, and champions research, innovation, creative activities, and scholarship by supporting world-class talents, developing state-of-the art core facilities, and deepening sponsor relationships.
By serving as home to research institutes and with the ability to tap a wide range of research development resources, the organization invests in faculty in all nine colleges as they pursue and expand their portfolios. This includes support for high-risk, high-reward projects, and helping faculty form transdisciplinary teams to compete for external funding; which collectively work to bolster the profile of Virginia Tech’s research enterprise. Bringing the Office of Strategic Alliances under the Office of Research and Innovation umbrella will add further strength by leveraging its proximity to federal agencies in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area to build relationships that can shape conversations around research areas and structure partnerships.
“As chief research and innovation officer for this great university, I am inspired each and every day by the dedicated faculty, staff, and students at Virginia Tech,” said Sui. “We have positioned ourselves to move Virginia Tech’s research and innovation enterprise from national excellence to global eminence. I am proud to be part of the Office for Research and Innovation’s team that supports researchers to achieve the ambitious goals as articulated in the university’s strategic plan.”
Since joining Virginia Tech as vice president of research and innovation in November 2020, Sui has undertaken a number of initiatives to enhance Virginia Tech’s research enterprise. Working with university partners, his office has identified Research Frontiers that will guide future developments at the intersection of humanity and technology. The office also launched a Research Development microsite within research.vt.edu to provide research faculty direct access to resources, training, funding opportunities, partners, and events and programs.
Additionally, in January 2021 the office launched its Research Development Support series to help faculty in their journey to increase the scope and impact of their research, creativity, and innovation portfolio. Since then, Sui has hosted nine events focused on different facets of sponsored research, from sponsor-specific perspectives to best practices for working with partners.
The Office of Research and Innovation has also played an increasingly important role in LINK + LICENSE + LAUNCH, a business unit dually connected to Virginia Tech Advancement. Over the past fiscal year, LINK achieved a record-breaking $80 million in philanthropic giving, including $69 million from corporations and $11 million in private foundations. These totals account for 40 percent of university giving for the year. This extraordinary trend continued with the announcement in November of a $12.5 million gift from Northrop Grumman to support quantum research and education at the Innovation Campus.