Safye Kiaei, our associate dean for research for the past three years, has indicated that he would like to return to the faculty. Over the past three years he has been a key player in a number of major large-scale proposals as well as university-wide meta-planning exercises, and he would like to be able to contribute more on some of those as well as spend time on emerging research areas relevant to his expertise. As you may know, Sayfe came to this position with considerable center-level experience, having launched and directed Connection One, an NSF/Industry/University cooperative working on RF and wireless communication systems, networks, remote sensing and homeland security.
Under Sayfe’s watch, our research enterprise and graduate student recruitment efforts have grown significantly. From FY 2007 to FY 2010, research expenditures increased over 30 percent from $56M to $74M. The number of Dean’s Fellowship recipients has more than doubled and we have successfully recruited more highly qualified domestic graduate students to our programs.
What I will remember most from this three-year period is how we matured in terms of learning what it takes to compete with the best universities for the most coveted research grants. With support and leadership from Sayfe’s organization, we learned how to centrally support and produce competitive complex multi-investigator/multi-institution proposals. In the past year, Engineering made a strong case for an NSF Engineering Research Center at ASU with not one, but two, proposals resulting in NSF site visits (2 of the 11 finalists; led by Christiana Honsberg and Greg Raupp). To put this in perspective, I can’t remember us ever reaching the ERC site visit stage in the past.
At an appropriate time, we will have a social event to thank Sayfe for his contributions.
In the meantime, a search committee is being formed to find and evaluate candidates for the associate dean for research position. Sayfe has agreed to continue as associate dean until August to allow for a smooth transition.
I’d like to thank Sayfe for his hard work and dedication as associate dean for research—and for his continuing contributions as a senior faculty leader in many areas that are critical to us.