Categorized | Education

Syrmos named UH vice president for research, innovation


The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Vassilis Syrmos has been appointed to serve as the first Vice President for Research and Innovation (VPRI) of the University of Hawaii System.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved Symos’ appointment at its meeting last week at Windward Community College.

UH Board of Regents Chairman John Holzman said, “The University of Hawaii has an important role to play in the development of Hawaii’s research and innovation sector. We are pleased to have an experienced researcher and administrator in Dr. Syrmos to work with UH’s gifted faculty and the community to create jobs and build Hawaii’s research industry.”

At the meeting, the Board of Regents also added the word “Innovation” to the vice president’s title.

One of the new VPRI’s priorities will be to support significant growth in research through the University of Hawaii Innovation Initiative (HI2). This initiative seeks to double the state’s research enterprise to $1 billion annually over the next decade.

The VPRI is also charged with critical leadership and coordination of system-wide research and innovation efforts, including management and direction of UH’s research support, technology transfer, and many compliance functions.

University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood said, “We would like to thank outgoing Vice President for Research James ‘Jim’ Gaines, who is retiring at the end of this month, for 26 years of distinguished service to UH, the last 10 as Vice President. The University of Hawaii has brought in more than $4 billion in extramural funding during Dr. Gaines’ tenure as Vice President for Research. Under his watch, annual extramural funding hit an all time high of almost $500 million. I am delighted to be able to recommend Dr. Syrmos to build on that progress and advance UH research and innovation through the University of Hawaii Innovation Initiative.”

“I am very honored to have been selected for the position of Vice President for Research and Innovation,” Syrmos said. “Dr. Gaines has done a tremendous job in developing and facilitating system-wide research initiatives, establishing policies and procedures, and managing research administration support services; and it will definitely be a large role to fill. I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities of the VPRI position, and am excited to be given this opportunity to empower our researchers and scholars throughout the University of Hawaii System.”

Syrmos’ appointment is effective Sept. 1, 2013 and is for two years.

Interim President – Designee David Lassner said, “Over the years, Dr. Syrmos and I have worked well together on a number of projects. I look forward to collaborating more deeply with him, our faculty and the community to build a thriving and nimble UH research enterprise that diversifies and strengthens our economy, creates great jobs for our graduates so they can stay home, and addresses the challenges faced by our island communities throughout the state.”

Also, the Board of Regents approved the appointment of Steven Smith as Interim Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the UH System.

Smith will serve in place of David Lassner, who will be assuming the Interim UH Presidency effective Sept. 1, 2013. Smith’s appointment will continue concurrently with Lassner’s interim assignment.

Lassner said, “We are incredibly fortunate to have someone with Steve’s knowledge and experience who is so able and willing to step right in. He has been involved in all our major projects and can continue to advance our agenda to support and improve education, research and administration through the innovative use of information and communication technologies.”

Smith joined UH as Associate VP and Deputy CIO in June 2011. Prior to that, he served as Chief Information Technology Officer for the 16-campus University of Alaska System.

He has more than 25 years of progressively responsible professional and managerial experience in information technology, including various roles in the University of Alaska Fairbanks library.

Smith said, “As a proud UH graduate, I was delighted to be able to return to Hawaii from Alaska two years ago. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to serve UH and the entire State of Hawaii.”

Smith obtained his bachelor’s degree in Broadcasting/Film from the University of Iowa and his Master’s degree in Communications, with emphasis in telecommunications, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and College, the University of Hawaii System includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the state.

As the sole public system of higher education in Hawaii, UH offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs.

UH enrolls more than 60,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.

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