New VPs Waters, Horner to Helm BU’s Research Efforts
Will work to expand research portfolio, partnerships
Gloria Waters, dean of Sargent College, has been appointed vice president and associate provost for research, one of two leadership positions that reflect a restructuring of BU’s research enterprise. Andy Horner, associate vice president for financial affairs, will become vice president for research finance and operations, a newly created position.
As a university with $350 million in outside research funding, BU is increasingly recognized both nationally and globally as a major center of research comprising a broad spectrum of disciplines from the sciences to the humanities. The new vice presidents will streamline research functions, expand BU’s research portfolio, and oversee the increasingly complex and challenging sweep of research administration.
The restructuring, part of the University’s strategic plan, was announced by President Robert A. Brown in a letter to BU faculty and staff yesterday. It comes at a time of federal budget constraints and growing competition for grants. The appointments, which are effective July 1, follow an assessment of the research enterprise at BU and consultations with faculty, administrators, and staff, the letter said, and will enable the University to compete effectively.
“To better support our faculty we need to continue to improve our policies and processes for overseeing and conducting research and finding new resources,” Brown says.
Waters says she will “expand the breadth and depth” of research on campus by seeking innovative funding sources and forging corporate and institutional collaborations. Horner (GSM’13) will work closely with Waters.
“We’re thrilled about the appointment of Gloria because she has such a tremendous breadth of experience as an National Institutes of Health–funded researcher herself, plus she’s an extraordinary leader,” says Jean Morrison, University provost. “And we’re also delighted that Andy Horner, a very experienced administrator, is taking on this new role, which will help establish processes to make research administration easier for BU faculty.”
A SAR professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences and a leading researcher in language and memory processes, Waters has the highest praise for her colleagues at Sargent; the University will begin the search for her replacement as dean this summer. In her new University-wide job, she will be responsible for developing policies and procedures that facilitate research and oversight of research compliance, including regulations governing safety, health, and environmental impact, at the Charles River and Medical Campuses.
“It’s a challenging time for research, and it’s becoming harder and harder for faculty to get their research funded,” says Waters, who in addition to serving on many search committees and task forces, cochaired the BU Council on Faculty Diversity & Inclusion. “It’s really important to support faculty and look for new and innovative ways to find funding. We have a wonderful faculty, and admission into the Association of American Universities made it evident that we are well respected among our peers,” she says. “We need to find ways of funding other than the standard ones, like the federal government.” Waters will also chair the University’s Research Council, comprising academic and administrative research leaders from BU’s schools and colleges. “We’ll look more to foundations and industries,” she says.
With federal funding likely to stay the same or decrease, BU needs to be “more aggressive at securing funding from industry and develop more industry-academic partnerships where we find common interests,” Morrison says. “That’s what Gloria will be working on, as well as seeking more foundation support for scholarship and research.”
Horner joined BU’s finance team in 2010 and “has become a valued and collaborative partner in the University’s research community,” Brown said in his letter. In his new post as vice president for research finance and operations, Horner will direct the Office of Sponsored Programs and Post-Award Financial Operations, as well as Sourcing and Procurement. With responsibility for the full cycle of sponsored programs, Horner describes his position as “cradle-to-grave research administration.”
A former director with the Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group, where he advised leading research universities, Horner says his goal is to work in a close partnership with Waters to “provide seamless service to the faculty and entire research community to support and foster research at the University.” The restructuring “represents our growth as a university. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to work with Gloria and continue to build on the progress we’ve made.”
Waters and Horner will be working to nurture collaborations both within BU, where interdepartmental research projects are thriving, and outside of the University, with other universities as well as with corporations. “A lot of the federal funding that’s available requires multi-institution collaborations,” with sharing of costly technology, Morrison says. “Boston has a lot of possibilities for interaction,” and collaboration among its major institutions is already fairly common, but the new structure “will make it easy for faculty to get engaged in multi-institutional proposals and help propel collaborations. We’ve got a great faculty who have ties and relationships with faculty at other institutions.”
“Boston University has made great progress as a research institution—progress that is increasingly recognized,” says Brown. “I am very pleased to have Gloria Waters and Andy Horner taking on these important leadership roles. I look forward to working with Gloria and Andy toward these goals.”1 Comments