Emmanuel Giannelis, the Walter R. Read Professor of Engineering and associate dean for research, graduate and professional programs in the College of Engineering, has been named vice provost for research and vice president for technology transfer, intellectual property and research policy, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced July 20.
The Executive Committee of the Cornell University Board of Trustees approved Giannelis’ five-year appointment, which will begin July 24.
“Emmanuel has proven over many years his abilities, not only as an outstanding researcher and educator, but as an effective administrator who motivates those around him, and I congratulate him on this well-deserved appointment,” Kotlikoff said. “We’re at a critical juncture from a research perspective at Cornell in terms of funding and supporting innovation, and I am confident he has the experience and knowledge to lead us into the future.”
Giannelis succeeds Robert Buhrman, Ph.D. ’73, who held the vice provost position for 10 years. Buhrman, the John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics, added vice president for technology transfer, intellectual property and research policy to his title when the position was created in 2011.
Kotlikoff thanked Buhrman for his steady leadership over the past decade. “Bob has worked tirelessly on several fronts during a transformative time at the university, all the while maintaining his research and teaching responsibilities,” Kotlikoff said.
“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to represent and be the advocate for all researchers at Cornell,” said Giannelis, who served as director of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) from 2004 to 2012. “I look forward to working with the staff of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the university leadership and stakeholders across all campuses to build on the successes of my predecessors and advance Cornell research to even higher levels.”
The mission of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research is to advance and support Cornell research. It advocates for the division within the university and with external agencies, sponsors and governmental representatives; facilitates and provides specialized research facilities and services; provides campuswide research administration support services; furthers major interdisciplinary research initiatives; and promotes entrepreneurship and technology commercialization.
A key focus for Giannelis will be identifying and promoting innovative research, including that which fosters collaboration across Cornell’s Ithaca and New York City campuses.
As vice president for technology transfer, intellectual property and research policy, Giannelis will report to President Martha E. Pollack.
A member of the faculty since 1987, Giannelis leads a research group that is one of the world leaders in nanohybrids and nanocomposites. He is author or co-author of more than 270 papers, has been granted 19 patents, and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society and a member of the European Academy of Sciences.
As associate dean for research, graduate and professional programs, Giannelis has championed several initiatives that foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. He is looking forward to extending that effort across the university.
“Part of my role as associate dean has been to develop new ways to use research as a vehicle to offer a new educational paradigm for our Ph.D. students and postdocs,” he said. “I see this new role as an opportunity to take some of those opportunities and make them universitywide rather than engineering-centric.”
In more than eight years as director of MSE, Giannelis recruited and hired seven new faculty members, including three women. He nearly doubled the department’s research expenditures, from $5.6 million in fiscal year 2005 to $10.5 million in FY 2012.
He also co-founded, with chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Lynden Archer, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology-Cornell University Center for Energy and Sustainability, which operated from 2008 to 2015.
Giannelis is a 1980 graduate of the University of Athens, Greece, with a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Michigan State University (1985).
While his 30 years at Cornell have given him a good sense of the university and ideas to advance its mission, Giannelis said he will spend much of the next few months listening to stakeholders from all corners of Cornell.