May 4, 2004

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Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855

James Roberts named permanent vice provost for research

LAWRENCE - James A. Roberts, interim vice provost for research and president of the University of Kansas Center for Research, has been named vice provost on a permanent basis, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David E. Shulenburger announced today. His appointment is effective immediately.

Shulenburger praised Roberts for his instrumental role in creating research success at KU.

"During his time at KU, the university has led the nation in obtaining Fulbright grants for faculty, NEH Fellowships and a doubling of external research funding," Shulenburger said. "I'm delighted that Jim will be the next vice provost for research and serve as chief operating officer of KUCR.

He knows KU at every level and will continue the progress that he has been such an integral part in establishing."

Roberts will be leading research efforts at a time when KU has set a record for total research expenditures -- $258 million for fiscal year 2003 from sources both outside and within the university.

"This is a great time to be at KU," Roberts said. "We have a tremendous opportunity to build a research powerhouse that will drive economic growth for the state and the region. We can make KU a truly outstanding place for students now and in the future."

Roberts has a long and distinguished career with research related activities at KU. He came to the university in 1990 as professor and chairman of the KU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. During his tenure as chairman, the ranking of KU's funding for electrical engineering research among public universities improved from 61st to 21st in the nation. In 1993, he shepherded the successful merger with the computer science department, formerly part of KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to form the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department.

Beginning in 1998, he served as associate vice chancellor for research and public service and later as associate vice provost for research. In his former role, he administered the campus research centers and institutes and had responsibility for matching funds, research space, faculty startup and other strategic research investments that have had a positive impact on the ability of researchers to win major interdisciplinary awards.

Since 1997, Lawrence campus sponsored project expenditures have grown from $58 million to $101 million. Federal science and engineering research expenditures have grown even more rapidly, increasing at an annual rate of more than 13 percent, more than double the rate of the 10 years prior to 1997.

Meanwhile, federal research funding for all universities grew 34.1 percent between 1997 and 2001, while Lawrence campus federal research funding during that time grew 74 percent, more than double the national rate. KU's federal research ranking among national public research universities has risen from 55th to 45th overall and from 45th to 29th in the life sciences.

Roberts graduated with a bachelor's of science in electrical engineering at KU; a master's of science in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; and a PhD degree in electrical engineering from Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif.

Roberts succeeds Robert E. Barnhill, who left KU in September 2003 to begin an appointment as the National Science Foundation/Council of Graduate Schools dean-in-residence in Washington.


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