Vice President for Research Position description


The University of Michigan, one of the nation’s premier research universities with annual research volume exceeding $1B and with campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint, is seeking a Vice President for Research, who serves as an executive officer and the chief research official of the University. In facilitating and energizing the University’s research agenda, the Vice President works closely with the President, Provost, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, other executive officers, and Deans and Directors of schools, colleges, and institutes.

The Vice President plays a leadership role in national and international activities regarding research policy and guides the University in defining and meeting the emerging research opportunities of the future. Important goals of the research agenda include promotion of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research; integration of research and education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels; promotion and facilitation of technology transfer, business engagement and economic development; affirmation of the integrity of research processes and policies; stewardship of the special physical and computational infrastructure necessary for research leadership; establishment of national and international collaborative research partnerships at the University; participation in federal and state research-related policy making; coordination of activities that promote participation of a broad range of individuals in research, scholarly, or creative activity that strengthen the University’s research enterprise; and oversight of research faculty policy and implementation.

The Vice President for Research reports to the President and leads and oversees the University of Michigan Office of Research. With respect to research on the Ann Arbor campus, the Vice President for Research also works closely with the Provost in order to fully align research with the overall academic mission of the University. Reporting to the Vice President are eight research units and six service units that support research and research-related activities on campus. The Vice President is supported by several assistant and associate vice presidents for research.

Selection Criteria

Leadership ability

  • Ability to share a vision of the scholarly enterprise with a broad University constituency and provide leadership in pursuing this vision. Specifically, ability to work closely with the President, Provost, the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, other executive officers, deans, and directors of major research units.
  • Ability to build teams for interdisciplinary research.
  • Demonstrated history of effecting change.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion in multiple dimensions.

Administrative ability

  • Ability to administer a large research-support enterprise, including exercising fiscally sound oversight of the budget.
  • Ability to delegate, to manage people effectively, fostering the professional development of subordinate staff, and to make sound decisions regarding personnel.
  • Understanding of the importance of compliance and regulatory matters to the research enterprise, and ability to develop an effective and efficient organization for dealing with them.
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience with research funding.
  • Deep knowledge of and experience with research faculty affairs.

Scientific or scholarly achievement

  • Tenured full professor with international recognition as a scholar.
  • Service on or with national organizations relevant to providing input into research policy at the national level.

Vision for research; ability to promote and energize the research enterprise

  • Vision for global research issues and how to enhance Michigan’s leadership in research, scholarship and creative work, maximizing the intellectual power of the University.
  • Capacious scholarly interest, and understanding of and commitment to promoting the full spectrum of research, interdisciplinary research, and engagement.
  • Awareness of the revolutionary potential of technology on the nature of the research University, and ability to provide leadership in new forms of “knowledge work.”
  • Ability to promote integration of the research and educational missions of the University.
  • Ability to promote effective technology transfer and University contributions to economic development.

Ability to share the vision; ability to represent University of Michigan research

  • Commitment to and ability to exercise leadership locally, at the state level, nationally, and internationally on scholarly and policy issues related to research.
  • Ability to represent the University’s research mission to a variety of constituencies, external and internal.
  • Ability to promote University faculty in national service and policy engagement, and for national/international recognition.

Desirable personal and professional characteristics

  • A high degree of intellectual curiosity, extending to disciplines beyond one’s own.
  • Absolute integrity.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Energy.
  • Altruism — taking joy in bringing value to others’ work
  • High respect of and for colleagues.
  • Charisma, ability to sell ideas.
  • Incisive and decisive.
  • Communicative member of an integrated academic leadership team.