In a letter to the UConn community, President Radenka Maric recently announced the appointment of Dr. S. Pamir Alpay as Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship:
Pamir has very successfully served in this role on an interim basis since February 2022, overseeing the University’s $320 million research enterprise at Storrs, UConn Health, the School of Law, and our regional campuses.
He previously served as executive director of the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park beginning in 2017, where he was the university’s chief advocate for industry-informed research and primary liaison between the research community and government partners.
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to work closely with Pamir have been continually impressed by his visionary nature, tenacity, and exceptional effectiveness as a leader and researcher. Among his greatest strengths is his ability to successfully build highly productive relationships not only with colleagues but also numerous critical partners who are external to UConn.
Pamir arrived at UConn in 2001 as an assistant professor of materials science and engineering and physics and rose through the ranks, ultimately being named Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in 2020. He served as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2013-17 and as associate dean for research and industrial partnerships for the UConn School of Engineering from 2019 to 2022.
Pamir’s research is at the intersection of materials science, condensed matter physics, and surface chemistry. He has over 200 peer-reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings, five invited book chapters, and a book on the physics of functionally graded smart materials. On the strength of his scholarship and service, he was elected fellow of the American Physical Society, ASM International, and the American Ceramic Society. He is also an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering (CASE).
He has raised more than $30 million for research and development from federal and state agencies and industry. He is the PI of an $18 million interdisciplinary Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) contract dedicated to optimization of high value-added manufacturing technologies for aerospace components. Working with Yale University, he recently led a statewide coalition to secure an NSF Regional Innovations Engine Development Award, “Advancing Quantum Technologies (CT),” allowing Connecticut to participate in NSF’s new flagship program promoting equitable economic development through technology innovation.
As executive director of the UConn Tech Park, Pamir established partnerships with industry, state government, and federal agencies and built several interdisciplinary research teams that successfully competed for large-scale funding. Since 2017, industry partners have invested more than $285 million for applied research at the Tech Park, corresponding to over $50 million per year in research and development funding. Pamir also established partnerships with small to medium-sized regional businesses as part of core outreach efforts, critical to UConn’s mission of supporting economic growth in the state.
He earned his B.S. and M.S. from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.
I am grateful to the strong pool of internal candidates who applied for this position. I also want to thank the deans, members of the University Senate, and others who met with the candidates. I have tremendous confidence in the ability of our faculty to bring the university to the next level. Aiding that effort is the fact that after many years the state’s unpaid legacy costs have been removed from our budget, allowing our faculty to be even more competitive.
Pamir has a strong, proven record of fostering an atmosphere of creativity and discovery that advances knowledge and innovation. His support for campus-wide research operations, deep understanding of national research funding infrastructure and processes, collaboration with industry, and commitment to building UConn’s academic and research enterprise will serve the university very well as we strive to become a top 20 public research institution. In order to reach that goal, Pamir and his team will work closely with our deans and faculty to support the development of complex proposals and nurture critical research partnerships and alliances.
Finally, I would also like to thank the members of the search committee:
Sandra Chafouleas, Search Chair, BOT Distinguished Professor
Inge-Marie Eigsti, Professor, Psychological Sciences
David Embrick, Director and Associate Professor, Sociology and Africana Studies
Xiuchun (Cindy) Tian, Department Head and Professor, Animal Science
Annemarie Seifert, Director, Avery Point Campus
Ali Tamayol, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Justin Radolf, Director and Professor, Department of Medicine
Maryann Markowski, Executive Assistant to Chief of Staff, Office of President
Pamir is a vital leader at UConn and is playing an extremely important role in charting the future course of our university, not only in his senior administrative and research roles, but also as the co-chair of the university’s 2023 Strategic Planning Committee, which will guide the continued growth and success of this institution in the years ahead.