Press Releases

University of North Dakota’s official press release archive.

VP for Research & Economic Development search begins

Applications sought by Aug. 22; Eric Link, UND provost and VP for Academic Affairs, will chair search committee

UND archival photo

UND is launching a national search for its next vice president for research and economic development and is seeking exceptional applicants to fill this vital role.

“This is an amazing time in our research enterprise,” said UND President Andy Armacost. “We have seen dramatic, sustained growth in our funded research programs, and our faculty and research staff continue to create national and international impact across so many fields.

“And with that great news, we have the opportunity to attract an extraordinary person,” Armacost continued.

“We’re looking for someone who focuses on both the funded research part of what we do, as well as on the important process of discovery that happens across the campus. Moreover, the successful candidate will be able to nurture not only that funded research, but also the sense of creativity and excitement that has made UND such a vital institution for our state, nation and world.”

The successful candidate likely will begin on or after Jan. 1, 2024, and will succeed John Mihelich, interim vice president for research and economic development, who has served in that capacity since 2018.

Applications received by Tuesday, August 22, will be assured consideration. UND is being assisted in the process by Academic Search, a Washington-based company that offers executive-search services to higher education institutions and organizations.

The candidate pool will be built over the summer, said Eric Link, UND provost and the Search Committee chair. Semi-finalist interviews will be conducted early in the fall semester, and finalists will be invited to campus shortly thereafter.

‘A dynamic and team-oriented leader’

In its recruiting brochure, UND describes the search for the new administrator.

UND seeks “a dynamic and team-oriented leader” who will help “position the University of North Dakota among the top research institutions in the nation, while honoring a tradition of personalized education,” the brochure declares.

“From its six research Grand Challenges to other grant-funded research programs, to individual scholarship, the spirit of discovery and innovation on campus is central to the institution’s mission and a critical element of the new UND LEADS strategic plan. The vice president for research and economic development will catalyze opportunities for funding, support all academic fields across the campus, connect researchers and across disciplines, and create opportunities for the faculty, staff, and students to grow intellectually.”

The vice president will work alongside the president’s Executive Council and campus leadership to help coordinate and manage resources that support scholarship across campus. The VPRED will build research capacity through the recruitment and retention of research-active faculty and students; support philanthropic efforts to create endowed positions, scholarships, and research; and enhance undergraduate research programs as a vital part of the student experience while growing the graduate student research enterprise.

As mentioned above, UND looks to springboard off its growth in externally funded research to enhance the national reputation of the university and contribute to the economic development of North Dakota. The vice president will direct the operations of sponsored programs and identify opportunities to build relationships aimed at securing external funding from federal, state, and industry sponsors and partners, plus lead efforts to transition research and intellectual property toward commercial viability.

Additionally, the vice president will oversee the operations of the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems, the Human Nutrition Research Center, and the Center for Biomedical Research.

The VPRED will serve as the point person for UND’s Grand Challenges in energy and environmental sustainability, rural health and communities, human health, autonomous systems, computational data science, and national security and space, and will broaden participation in Grand Challenges from across the wide array of disciplines represented on campus.

Develop and sustain University partnerships

Collaboration is crucial to the success of this position. The vice president will develop and sustain University partnerships across the nation and within the state, including but not limited to the North Dakota University System schools and North Dakota Tribal College System; the U.S. Space Force, U.S. Space Command and Grand Forks Air Force Base; Mountain and Plains University Innovation Alliance, a five-state technology and innovation partnership; and National Science Foundation initiatives such as the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Institutional Development Awards (IDeA).

The VPRED will also serve on the executive board for the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, participate on the North Dakota EPSCoR State Steering Committee, and work with a variety of other organizations and research collaborations as needed.

The VPRED will oversee compliance with human subjects and animal research, intellectual property and commercialization, export control and research security; foster diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the University’s research enterprise; and manage staff, budgets, and spending.

The vice president’s ability to coordinate effective internal and external communications on UND’s success in research and economic development is vital. The VPRED will represent the University’s research programs to the State Board of Higher Education and work collaboratively with the research administration offices at the other NDUS institutions. They will also serve as liaison to the federal congressional delegation, local staffers, and legislative liaisons, and participate in the development and delivery of the UND legislative agenda.

A record of success

Minimum requirements for applicants include a terminal degree in a relevant field or equivalent degree, and a minimum of five years of demonstrated leadership and administrative experience, including budgetary and development experience, in a university or in a relevant professional field, industry, or government.

The applicant should also have a record of success in working with federal funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense and NASA. They also should have a successful record of securing external funding, as well as of academic achievement meriting appointment as a tenured professor.

Search Committee members

Members of the Search Committee are:

  • Eric Link —  Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Search Committee Chair
  • Ryan Adams — Department Chair and Director, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Alexis Archambault — PhD Student, Geological Engineering
  • Charlie Gorecki — CEO, Energy & Environmental Research Center
  • Naomi Hansen — Director of Communication & Corporate Partnerships, Research & Economic Development
  • Bob Kraus — Dean, John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
  • Keith Lund — President/CEO, Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp.
  • Chris Nelson — Dean, School of Graduate Studies
  • Daphne Pedersen — Department Chair, Sociology
  • Nancy Pederson — Vice President of Finance, UND Alumni Association & Foundation
  • Michael Sadler — Director, Research & Sponsored Program Development, Research & Economic Development
  • Chih Ming Tan — Associate Dean for Research, Nistler College of Business and Public Administration
  • Randi Tanglen — Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
  • Amy Whitney — Director, Center for Innovation
  • Josh Wynne — Vice President and Dean, School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Julia Zhao — Professor, Chemistry
  • Jen Rogers — Special Projects Assistant to the Vice President for Finance & Operations/COO, and Search Committee Administrative Officer