March 15, 2018

Dear UNT community,

Continuing to grow our research enterprise — and maintaining our status as a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification — is a top priority for UNT. Our Office of Research and Innovation plays a key role in this, and we are working hard to fill the critical positions in the office so we can continue to support overall efforts and our faculty innovators.

As you may know, Tom McCoy retired last week after leading the research efforts since July 2013. Dr. McCoy made significant strides in the areas of technology transfer and economic development by establishing the Office of Innovation and Commercialization. Under his leadership, UNT finally achieved recognition as a Tier One research university, improved its customer service for faculty looking to apply for bigger, more interdisciplinary grants and grew our research expenditures.

As we conduct a national search for the division's next leader, Narendra Dahotre will serve as UNT's interim vice president for research and innovation. Dr. Dahotre, a University Distinguished Research Professor in materials science and engineering, was appointed in June 2017 as interim associate vice president for research and innovation. He's familiar with the division and has done an excellent job overseeing federally funded research projects and UNT's shared instrumentation facilities. Dr. Dahotre holds 16 U.S. patents and, as an accomplished researcher, he personally understands how a high-functioning research office can impact whether faculty pursue and receive grant and research funding. I know he will continue Dr. McCoy's momentum and offer valuable insight.

The division also is working to hire a new leader for the Office of Grants and Contracts Administration following Britt Krhovjak's departure in February. This office is crucial for our researchers' success — helping to coordinate external funding proposal submissions, administering externally sponsored project awards and managing a broad spectrum of tasks related to sponsored projects. While we search for a new leader, the office will receive assistance from Aaron LeMay, UNT System associate vice chancellor and system controller, and Robert Watling, UNT vice provost for academic resources.

I know these individuals will help ensure that the Office of Research and Innovation continues to work in conjunction with faculty and other divisions across campus to expand our research enterprise while we navigate these transitions and bring in new leaders.

UNT is a hotbed of innovation, and I look forward to assembling a leadership team that will usher in a new era of research excellence.

UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk