The University of Tennessee — Assistant Vice President for Research

General Description:
The University of Tennessee is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Research University (very high research activity), placing it in the highest ranks of all colleges and universities in the country. Research activities magnify the university’s educational mission and enhance its state, national, and international public service role.

University of Tennessee research encompasses programs on the flagship campus in Knoxville as well as initiatives of the Institute of Agriculture, the Institute for Public Service, the Health Science Center in Memphis, and the Space Institute in Tullahoma. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Tennessee at Martin also are active in research and other sponsored programs that provide strong regional impact.

The university has collaborative relationships with public and private agencies including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Battelle Memorial Institute (forming UT-Battelle), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Memphis Biotech Foundation. The office of the Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development oversees the relationships with ORNL, several joint institutes, the UT Research Foundation, the Governor’s Chairs program, and the development of Cherokee Farm, a joint project of The University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The research and development business campus offers unprecedented access to the most powerful tools available in materials science and high-performance computing, coupled with access to internationally renowned researchers in a variety of specializations.

Reporting to the Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development, this position leads efforts to develop and strengthen capacity and productivity in research and economic development statewide. The Assistant VPR has management authority and budget responsibilities for groups reporting directly to this position. The Assistant VPR works extensively with research administration at all of UT’s campuses to promote trans-disciplinary programs, leverage resources, and identify ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness.  Additionally, the Assistant VPR is responsible for the continued integration of the electronic research administration software system-wide.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The Assistant VPR is expected to work to promote, enhance, and establish research partnerships with external parties including private industry, economic development groups, foundations, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the community as a whole. Additional responsibilities include assisting the VPR in maintaining the UT System’s research related compliance and reporting, including federal reporting requirements and internal dashboard metrics. This position will develop and communicates strategies, plans, and results to leadership including the UT Board of Trustees and state officials as requested. The Assistant VPR is expected to serve on appropriate boards and committees to represent the University of Tennessee.  Other duties are assigned as needed.

Required Qualifications:

  • An earned terminal degree is required


  • Five+ years of experience in positions of increasing responsibility is also required.
  • Progressive experience and responsibility in research administration and program oversight
  • Experience  as a Principal Investigator;
  • Experience in the oversight and evaluation of staff;
  • Proven success at developing proposals and implementation plans to attract, win, and manage large research and economic development program.


  • Knowledge and understanding of best practices within research administration, licensing and/or contracting
  • Ability to understand current capabilities, policies and practices, administrative structure, and culture of the University of Tennessee
  • Experience in external engagement
  • Ability to lead and collaborate with campuses to facilitate research initiatives system-wide
  • Ability to communicate complex issues to a variety to constituents and stakeholders; both written  and verbal
  • Success in developing partnerships both internally and externally

To make a referral, to express interest in the position or to obtain additional information, please contact:

Brooke M. Swart, Associate Executive Recruiter
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
105 Student Services Building
1331 Circle Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-5942

Confidential inquiries and questions concerning this search may also be directed to Ms. Swart. Please note that Tennessee prides itself on the transparency of its government, and all formal candidacies will be subject to public inquiry.

The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to, and will not be discriminated against on the basis of, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.