Northwestern University (NU)

Vice President for Research

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL, United States

Northwestern University ( invites nominations and applications for the position of Vice President for Research. The Vice President for Research (VP-R) will provide leadership in supporting and advancing a world-class research enterprise that has this year surpassed $800M in funding and expects soon to top $1B. In the context of this ongoing growth, the VP-R will develop, socialize, and implement a vision for support services and infrastructure across the University’s schools, colleges, centers, and institutes that encompasses systems, administrative resources, business processes, policy, compliance, and strategic investments. Going forward, the VP-R will expand the use of data, metrics, and other analytic and reporting tools to understand the University’s research enterprise in more detail, to guide decisions about investment and ongoing support, and to inform decisions about the development and utilization of facilities and other University resources for research. In this vein, the VP-R will contribute to the work of the Provost’s Research Space Advisory Council, an initiative conceived to enable more strategic use of existing space across the University and to guide discussions and planning around new capital investments. The VP-R reports to the Provost of the University and is a member of the President’s Senior Staff.  

The Office for Research (OR), led by Northwestern’s Vice President for Research, plays a key role in achieving the University’s objectives set forth in the strategic plan by working with faculty and University leadership to refine the strategy and implement the tactics necessary to meet the goals in the University strategic plan. OR is also tasked with providing the infrastructure that connects people, resources and opportunities for the creation and dissemination of knowledge. OR leaders and staff view the University’s researchers as entrepreneurs in their approach to designing, launching, and managing research and education. A primary mission for OR is to provide researchers with the resources and services that are necessary to pursue their goal with an emphasis on bridging disciplines. For more information about research at Northwestern, see


Qualified candidates will possess a PhD and scholarly credentials worthy of appointment as a full professor with tenure at Northwestern. The VP-R will be a distinguished scholar with a broad grasp of science and science policy, the gravitas to sustain peer relationships with an eminent faculty, and the ability to lead a large administrative service organization in support of a central mission area of an AAU institution. They will have had a successful career as a researcher and will want to turn (or will have already turned) to championing others’ research. They will be an action-oriented leader who nonetheless consults judiciously and who balances institutional and individual considerations. Previous work experience (at least five years) must have entailed managing sponsored research at a major research university, in the federal government, or at another entity engaged in sponsored research such as a national or large corporate lab. Preference may be given to candidates who, in addition to these attributes, competencies, and qualifications, bring a demonstrated track record of involvement in and/or responsibility for the policy, operational, and compliance dimensions of a large sponsored-research program. 

Northwestern University is a private research-intensive doctoral institution founded in 1851. It uniquely combines the assets of several kinds of academic institution – the power of a major research university, the creative energy of arts and music conservatories, the intimacy of a liberal arts college, the rich diversity of an international institution, exceptional professional schools, and the excitement of Big Ten athletics. The University is global in its scope, with 12 schools located on two campuses in Illinois (in Evanston and in Chicago) and one in Doha, Qatar. Ranked 9th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, Northwestern has over 3,400 full-time faculty and 7,500 full-time and part-time staff.


Northwestern University is an Affirmative Action / EEOC employer. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply.


Opus Partners is assisting Northwestern University in this search. Please contact Craig Smith, Partner, or Marisea Rivera, Senior Associate, to apply or to seek additional information: /


Apply with CV and Cover Letter

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Vice President for Research