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August 31, 2001

Robert C. Miller Jr. appointed as new vice chancellor for research

By Tim Stephens

Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood announced today the appointment of Robert C. Miller Jr. to the position of vice chancellor for research. Miller, who currently serves as vice provost for intellectual property and technology transfer at the University of Washington, will assume his position at UCSC on September 15.

"We are absolutely delighted to have someone of Dr. Miller's experience and background join this campus to help us expand and build our research activities," Greenwood said.

As vice chancellor for research, Miller will be responsible for coordination and executive leadership of research administration and planning; development of research funding opportunities and growth strategies across all academic divisions; development of research policies; management of technology transfer activities; oversight of contracts, grants, and research compliance matters; and advocacy with local, state, and federal agencies. He will take over from Professor Emeritus Burney Le Boeuf, who has been serving as interim vice chancellor for research.

Campus Provost John Simpson noted that Miller has a proven track record of increasing research activity and funding on two campuses that are major research powerhouses: the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington (UW).

"He brings to this campus tremendous expertise in intellectual property issues and technology transfer, which have become extremely important areas for any research university, and are particularly valuable to us at this stage in the development of the campus," Simpson said.

Miller has helped UW become a national leader in transferring ideas from its research labs to businesses and industry. As a result, the university receives considerable income from licensing, royalties, and equity stakes in start-up companies.

Miller is also a distinguished scientist with an international reputation for research, teaching, and administration. He is a professor of microbiology at UW, and at the University of British Columbia he served as head of the Department of Microbiology, dean of the Faculty of Science, and vice president of research.

His research interests include molecular genetics and nucleic acids. Much of his research has focused on cellulases--enzymes that degrade cellulose--and their genes in the bacterium Cellulomonas fimi. Because cellulase enzymes break down wood fibers, they have applications in the pulp and paper industry. Miller holds five U.S. patents based on his research.

Miller received his B.S. in physics from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., his M.S. in biophysics from Pennsylvania State University, and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, corecipient of the Gold Medal for Natural Sciences from the Science Council of British Columbia, and recipient of numerous other honors for research, teaching, and service. He serves as vice president of the Association of University Technology Managers and serves on the Intellectual Property Management Committee of the Council on Governmental Relations.

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