Organizational Changes Planned for Research Office
Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research (EVPR), has announced an organizational restructure for the research enterprise. The restructure is effective immediately and is designed to provide improved service support for Georgia Tech’s entire research operation through increased collaboration and resource sharing, as well as a coordinated approach designed to strengthen the administrative ties between the research and academic divisions.
“Georgia Tech’s research enterprise has experienced tremendous growth, but support services have not been able to keep pace,” said Abdallah. “We must look at ways to strengthen current services and create a new support infrastructure in order to sustain that growth, exploit efficiencies where they may exist, and maximize the critical research impact of our faculty, staff, and students.”
The restructure follows an in-depth assessment exercise conducted by Abdallah that included a review of the Comprehensive Administrative Review report and preliminary working group recommendations; and discussions with college deans and associate deans for research (ADRs), the Interdisciplinary Research Institute (IRI) directors and staff, many research center directors and faculty members, EVPR direct reports and staff, members of external advisory groups and business leaders, as well as staff and management of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).
Discussions were also conducted with the vice presidents of research from peer and partner institutions as well as the boards of many of Georgia Tech’s affiliated organizations. The assessment included examination of various studies of the EVPR office, IRIs, the Office of Sponsored Programs, and entrepreneurial activities assessments provided by Georgia Tech and outside analysts. Abdallah also reviewed the structure and function of research offices at Georgia Tech’s peer institutions.
“These organizational changes reflect the invaluable insights I received and are based on positive feedback and areas for improvement that were identified during my assessment,” he said. “In conjunction with the objectives of the Comprehensive Administrative Review, and building on the many strengths that exist in our current personnel and processes, I believe we can establish a new structure with an eye toward better service.”
Prior to the restructure, Abdallah managed 26 direct reports. Under the new organizational structure, Abdallah will now have eight direct reports. Those eight positions will result in modified reporting structures at the EVPR and unit levels, creation of an industry partnerships portfolio, modification of current roles, and the addition of key administrative and faculty positions.
The position of senior vice president and director of GTRI, currently held by Regents Researcher Lora Weiss in an interim appointment, will remain unchanged. The current direct report structure to the SVP and director of GTRI will also remain unchanged.
The position of vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), currently held by Chris Downing, will remain unchanged. The current direct report structure to Downing will also remain unchanged.
The position of vice president for Research Operations (VPRO), a 50 percent faculty appointment, will replace the position titled associate vice president for Research, currently held by Chris Jones. The VPRO will have responsibility for research development, research faculty integration and the GTRI and academic and research unit relationships, research space, and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and the Office of Industry Engagement (OIE) in a dotted line reporting structure. Jones has announced his intention to step down, and an internal search for the VPRO will commence immediately.
The position of vice president for Research and director of Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) and Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation (GTARC), currently held by Jilda Garton, will remain unchanged. OSP Interim Executive Director Rebecca Caravati and OIE Executive Director Kevin Wozniak will both become dotted line reports to the VPRO.
The position of associate vice president for Research Computing will replace the currently titled assistant vice president for Research Cyberinfrastructure, held by Lew Lefton, assistant dean for Information Technology and academic professional in the College of Sciences. The previous role was a 30 percent faculty appointment. With the new scope, the role held by Lefton will become a 50 percent appointment.
The vice president for Interdisciplinary Research (VPIR), a 50 percent faculty appointment, will have oversight and responsibility for all interdisciplinary activities including the IRIs and Interdisciplinary Research Centers (IRCs), the Pediatric Technology Center (PTC), the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), the Grant Hatchery, and Smart Cities. An internal search for the VPIR will commence immediately.
Abdallah will provide oversight of the Industry Partnerships portfolio, a new structure that will combine all current activities related to Georgia Tech’s industry relationships, including the Office of Industry Collaboration (OIC) and the Office of Economic Development (OED). This will include close coordination with other related activities in the Office of Development and Industry Engagement in GTRC, among others.
Jennifer Herazy will assume the role of chief administrative officer for Academic and Research Administration, reporting jointly to the provost and EVPR. In the new role, Herazy will function as a shared chief of staff to oversee organizational and operational alignment around various services and administrative functions. Those operational areas include academic and research faculty hiring and retention planning and startup support, academic and research administrative policy and procedures, communications, research and academic business applications, human resources, and finance and budgeting. Under the Department of Academic and Research Administration, the organizational restructuring is designed to provide better coordination and service to faculty, researchers, and staff who serve at the intersection of the academic and research divisions.
“Academics and research at Georgia Tech are inextricably linked in service to the Institute’s overall mission to ensure the continued success of the world’s best and brightest educators, researchers, and students,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs and K. Harrison Brown Family Chair. “The Comprehensive Administrative Review has provided us a great roadmap to maximize our organizational effectiveness. These changes will strengthen our current administrative practices and build closely coordinated and streamlined services, reduce duplication of efforts, and increase overall operational efficiency.”