The University of Southern California (USC) invites nominations and applications for the position of Vice President of Research. USC is a research institution of extraordinary capacity. We seek an exceptional individual to work with senior leadership to build on and expand the incredible base of research and scholarship at USC. The next Vice President of Research will have the unique opportunity to imagine and build the research institution of the future. Our university is launching new initiatives at the forefront of human knowledge, seeking convergent research in sustainability, health care, AI, and the economy while continuing to support the diverse and vibrant research programs that underpin USC’s impact as a global leader in comprehensive, cross-disciplinary research. The Office of Research promotes the vision for research, creates innovative, multidisciplinary research opportunities, and continues the expansion of the university’s robust research portfolio.

The Position

Reporting to the Provost, the Vice President of Research is responsible for driving forward and harnessing public and private interest in convergent research in accordance with the University’s mission, goals, and strategic plan. The Vice President’s general responsibilities are to:

  • Create and implement the vision for research working with senior leadership and faculty
  • Ensure that USC’s research operates in compliance with changing regulations
  • Work with faculty to understand the changing landscape of research opportunities including the need for cross-disciplinary approaches to problem solving
  • Build on and expand the campuses’ capabilities in health related fields
  • Develop strategies around intellectual property, technology transfer, incubation facilities and public/private partnerships
  • Oversee USC’s Washington, D.C. office and work closely with research institutes and centers to promote and seed research
  • Pursue and promote federal and state support for strategic research initiatives
  • Work with faculty and the Office of Research leadership to promote inter- and multi-disciplinary research and to support a full spectrum of research inquiry across the arts, sciences, and humanities

The Office of Research

The University has achieved great advances in academic rigor and reputation, faculty prominence, the size and influence of its research portfolio, and the strength of its undergraduate and graduate education.

USC brings together world-class research and interdisciplinary educational offerings informed by a global perspective. It was a co-founding institution of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium of 50 leading research universities linking the Americas, Asia, and Australasia. It impressively combines an international commitment with the dynamism offered by the second largest metropolitan region in the United States, one with an economy that exceeds $1 trillion. Today, USC has nearly $900 million in annual research expenditures and is ranked second in the nation among all universities in the size of its federally funded computer science research program.

The Office of Research is committed to implementing USC’s strategic plan by building interdisciplinary research collaborations that address societal needs and by increasing the impact and prominence of our research. While current funding comes from the NIH, DOD, and other diverse sources, there is a strong desire to expand the portfolio through public-private partnerships and commercialization opportunities for USC scientists. The office invests in research initiatives, promotes our research among sponsors, and provides services that ensure USC achieves the highest ethical standards in its research.

Home to the Center for Excellence in Research (CER), the Office of Research strives to promote faculty and postdoc mentoring through workshops, trainings, and a proposal review service. Led by the Office of Research leadership, former federal agency officials, and other experts, these services help increase the impact and prominence of scholarly research throughout the university.

The Office of Research is not only making a meaningful difference in the health and welfare of society, it is at the forefront of creative research. Just this year, Reuters ranked USC 8th in the world for innovation, specifically citing the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and highlighting the startup called LightStage LLC that was patented and licensed from the ICT’s Vision and Graphics Lab. The Stevens Center for Innovation oversees technology transfer and intellectual property protection, and ensures USC remains an excellent environment in which to develop new ideas and technology. Through institutes and centers such as these, USC has become one of the most influential and productive research universities in the world.

Qualifications of the Next Vice President of Research

The Vice President of Research must hold a terminal degree, with scholarly and research accomplishments commensurate with the rank of full professor in their home department.

A competitive applicant for the Vice President of Research role will also possess:

  • The ability to articulate a strong vision for the University’s research mission
  • A commitment to academic excellence, collaboration, and high academic and ethical standards
  • A history of innovative leadership in research program development
  • A comprehensive understanding of the intersection of research and scholarship across disciplines, with attention to emerging modes of research in the arts and humanities
  • The ability to collaborate with multiple and diverse constituencies, including faculty, staff, and students, as well as local, state and national constituents in the public and private sectors
  • Familiarity with national research policy issues and a track record of promoting external research funding from federal, state, and private sources
  • Experience with the development and management of large research centers and core research facilities
  • A commitment to uphold and further diversity, equity and inclusion in research
  • Strong strategic management, finance, and budget skills.

USC’s research must continue to be undertaken safely and in an environmentally sound manner. Our research must be at the cutting edge and competitive at the highest levels for the critical funding that enables us to maximize our impact. We will continue to work with government and the private sector to build the economy of Southern California and the nation. We will have the capacity to lead conversations that establish critical priorities, to build processes that define the key discoveries of the future, and to help guide faculty towards areas where their research and scholarship maximize its impact.

The University and the Next Vice President of Research

The University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities, revered for its entrepreneurial spirit. In a comprehensive ranking, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 18th in the United States among nearly 1,000 public and private universities. The next Vice President of Research will understand that being at the vanguard of scholarship is essential to advancing the university’s mission to educate the next generation of professionals and leaders. The university seeks an individual who will champion USC’s drive to innovate, create, and in the process change the world.

The challenges our world faces will not be solved by a single individual or discipline. As a result, USC seeks a Vice President of Research who understands how to build teams of individuals who will address our most important challenges. USC also values the discovery that comes from a focus sharpened by deep domain expertise and seeks a Vice President of Research who will develop programs and support our scholars, cultivating them for long career trajectories. 

USC has developed exceptional research capabilities that are comprehensive in nature and innovative to their core. As the forces brought on by the digital revolution and manifested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution disrupt the world, USC seeks to build on an outstanding foundation to be recognized as the institution to which the world turns for ideas, policies, discoveries and technologies that capture the positive opportunities and mitigate the downsides we face.

Located in one of the capital cities of the 21st century, USC is the oldest private research university in the western United States. The University developed in stride with the dynamic city of Los Angeles, a global center for art, technology, culture, industry, and trade, and a vividly international city with one of the most diverse populations on the planet. USC stands among the most selective private universities in the nation. Offering a broad range of majors and more than 170 minors, USC enrolls 48,500 students, 28,000 of whom are pursuing graduate degrees or online executive education.

At the heart of the University are its students. The campus prides itself on its student diversity, enrolling more underrepresented minority students than any other private institution in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the most underrepresented minority graduate students nationwide. The University provides $600 million annually in total financial aid, and more than $46 million annually in Ph.D. fellowships. The USC faculty includes more than 1,500 tenured and tenure-track faculty among another 5,900 scholars, researchers, teachers, clinical educators, and mentors.

Application Process

The University of Southern California values diversity, equity and inclusion. We are committed to the creation of a diverse workforce. Women and applicants from traditionally underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply.

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (letter of interest, comprehensive curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting USC. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications are submitted prior to March 2, 2020.

Laurie Wilder, President || Porsha Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30328
(770) 804-1996 x 109 ||

USC is an equal-opportunity educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding persons of every race, gender, creed and background. The university particularly encourages members of underrepresented groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities to apply. USC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship. Further information is available by contacting

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