Daniel A. Reed, University of Iowa Vice President for Research and Economic Development since 2012, stepped down Oct. 1. John Keller, dean of the UI Graduate College, has been named interim vice president.
“Not long after hitting a notable birthday milestone this year, I was unexpectedly gifted with major surgery,” Reed said. “I’m fine now, but the time away gave me a chance to think about the future and the really big issues – the renegotiation of the higher education social compact, the challenges facing academic research and scholarship, the evolving nature of national competitiveness, and the acceleration of disruptive technical and social change.
“I decided it was time to attack these issues in some new ways. That meant writing on a book, accelerating work on several societally and technically important research projects, focusing more time and energy on the national science and technology committees I chair, and sharing these ideas with students,” he added.
Reed currently chairs the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) and the steering committee for the National Science Foundation’s Midwest Big Data Hub, and he serves on the National Academies Technical Advisory Board for the Army Research Laboratory. He previously served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the Federal Communications Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee, and the National Archives Electronic Records Advisory Committee. He has also chaired the board of directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA).
UI President Bruce Harreld praised Reed’s service and contributions to the university. Harreld said he will consult with the UI’s academic leadership team and members of shared governance soon to select an interim vice president for research and economic development. Reed has agreed to stay on until then.
“Dan brought a wealth of knowledge, skill, and passion to the position, making it his mission to highlight and expand the tremendous work of our research community,” Harreld said. “I’ve appreciated his keen intellect and curiosity, as well as his wise counsel. On behalf of the university, I thank him for his dedicated service, and I look forward to his future contributions.”
Under Reed’s leadership, the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED) launched a number of significant initiatives to spur interdisciplinary collaboration, bolster the UI’s economic development activities, and demonstrate to the public the value of research and scholarship.
Soon after starting at the university in 2012, he launched UI Ventures, which provides mentors, guidance and gap funding for faculty poised to take their research to market. This year, under his leadership, the university launched parallel dry- and wet-lab biomedical and electronics hubs where campus entrepreneurs can easily and inexpensively create prototypes, 3D models, and otherwise flesh out concepts more fully before seeking startup funding: protostudios and the Translational Research Incubator.
Over the past few years he’s also held a number of ideation summits on campus to encourage faculty to think outside their disciplines and entice them to join forces on large-scale, game-changing research projects. To cultivate large-scale, interdisciplinary research proposals, he established a Research Development Office and launched a new Strategic Research Leadership Program that provides mentoring, intensive engagement with funding agencies, internal/external proposal review and assessment, budget development, and other support.
He’s also hosted a series of salon-style dinners that bring together faculty experts and their colleagues in the sciences, engineering, medicine, arts and the humanities—many of whom have never interacted before—to discuss important matters of the day and ignite fresh conversations and collaboration. And he sponsored an ongoing Creative Matters lecture series featuring artists, thinkers, builders, and doers who challenge conventional thinking about creativity, science, and artistic expression, and who borrow from a range of influences and disciplines in their work.
A firm believer in the power of storytelling, he’s also made it a priority to help faculty tell the stories of their research and scholarship in ways that are accessible, clear, and compelling to the general public. He’s sponsored campus visits by experts like TED favorite Melissa Marshall to lead workshops showing faculty how to “translate” their technical expertise for non-expert audiences; created a Communicating Ideas summer workshop that culminates in faculty producing a one-minute video of them discussing their work; launched a community-wide banner campaign that builds on OVPR&ED’s Dare to Discover tagline to put a spotlight on the important work being undertaken by faculty across the disciplines; and commissioned the building of a 38-foot Mobile Museum to take hands-on exhibits about UI research and Iowa history across the state.
“My role here has provided me with rare insight into the breadth and depth of scholarship and research at a public research university, and it has been an honor and a true pleasure to serve the University of Iowa—and the state of Iowa—in this capacity,” he said.
Reed is a former corporate vice president and technology policy leader at Microsoft, founding director of the North Carolina Renaissance Computing Institute, and department head and director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. He was named the UI’s vice president for research and economic development in 2012.
Reed said that OVPR&ED is in excellent hands as he hands over the reins, and he expressed gratitude for the chance to lead the University of Iowa’s research enterprise.
“I am extremely proud of the many initiatives we have launched to advance research, scholarship, engagement, and economic development,” he said. “I am absolutely confident that the future of the organization is bright, thanks to the team and family that is the OVPR&ED. I have been humbled to work with such amazing people.”