San Diego State University - Vice President for Research and Innovation

CA, San Diego

San Diego State University (SDSU) seeks an experienced, innovative and entrepreneurial leader to serve as its next vice president for research and innovation (VPRI).

San Diego State University is the flagship research institution of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system and one of the top 68 public universities in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report and is designated as a Minority-Serving Institution (MSI), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). SDSU offers 23 doctoral programs, over 90 master’s degree programs and over 60 post-baccalaureate advanced certificate and credential programs. With SDSU researchers securing $141 million in grants and contracts last year, the university is currently designated as a doctoral university with high research activity (R2) by the Carnegie Foundation, on the cusp of becoming a “doctoral/very high research activity” (R1) institution in the near future. San Diego has long been a hub of innovation on many levels: biomedical sciences, military defense, public health, engineering, water science, climate change, social policy, social sciences, creative activity within the humanities and more. Guided by SDSU’s mission and new strategic plan that centers on weaving equity and inclusion into everything the university does, students pursue real-world challenges under the guidance of internationally recognized mentors in cutting-edge labs, entrepreneurship centers and business incubators.

Reporting to President Adela de la Torre and working in close collaboration with the provost/senior vice president, the VPRI provides a broad vision and executive leadership for campus-wide research initiatives. The VPRI is responsible for inspiring and supporting a diverse and comprehensive portfolio of research and scholarly activity, as well as entrepreneurial activities in coordination with regional, state, federal and industry partners. This is an especially important charge given the university’s expansion into two new Innovation Districts: SDSU Mission Valley and SDSU Imperial Valley. The VPRI also provides broad, strategic vision and collaborative leadership that supports academic deans, faculty, staff and students to elevate the quality and scope of SDSU’s research and scholarly activities, thus advancing the mission and reputation of San Diego State University nationally and internationally.

SDSU’s next VPRI will contribute to the further development of a dynamic, service-oriented and discovery-driven intellectual environment. The incumbent will be a highly accomplished individual with a track record of successful, transparent and collaborative leadership of a complex research organization and possess the interpersonal, managerial and communication skills necessary to build and operate an effective research and entrepreneurial enterprise. The next VPRI will work productively and in partnership with internal and external colleagues and stakeholders. The ideal candidate should have demonstrated success as a principal investigator of substantial competitive federal research grants (or equivalent) and in attracting significant support for research from private partnerships, government agencies, industry, foundations and other funding entities. The VPRI will have knowledge of and a deep commitment to research compliance and integrity, possess the ability and acumen to help translate research to improve society, and bolster the San Diego regional economy and the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to SDSU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Candidates should be qualified to hold an appointment at the rank of full professor with tenure. 

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile.

WittKieffer is assisting San Diego State University in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by May 18, 2022.

Application materials should be submitted through WittKieffer’s candidate portal by using the buttons below.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Jen Meyers Pickard, Ph.D. and Julia Bradley

San Diego State University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against persons based on race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression, marital status, disability, pregnancy, medical condition, or covered veteran status.

After a contingent offer of employment is made, a background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed. Any offer of employment is contingent upon successful completion of the background check.  Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application status of the applicant or continued employment of current CSU employees who apply for this position.

The person holding this position is considered a mandated reporter under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

SDSU COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

In accordance with the California State University systemwide policy, students, faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide a valid medical or religious exemption in order to access campus. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-shot vaccine or two weeks after the first dose of a single-shot vaccine.

The individual hired into this role will be required to submit their completed vaccination documentation to the university’s secure online health portal prior to beginning work. Individuals with an approved medical or religious exemption on file with the university will be required to participate in SDSU’s COVID-19 testing program.