Former White House Official Jerry Miller Gives Presentation for ORED Vice Chancellor Position
BATON ROUGE – Jerry Miller, former assistant director for Ocean Service at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, gave a presentation on Monday, March 18, as part of the interview process for the position of vice chancellor in the Office of Research and Economic Development, or ORED. He is the second of five candidates to interview for this position.
In his presentation, Miller focused on the interconnection between research and economic development, how LSU needs to engage the private sector and political leadership on the national, state and local levels, and telling the stories about the research that is taking place at LSU.
“I think we should be looking toward a university enterprise that ensures the growth of intellectual capital, not only within Louisiana, but across the gulf region, within the U.S. and, in fact, engaging the international community as well,” said Miller.
Miller discussed what he termed, “The Sustainability Challenge,” which is the cycle of going from the demand required to meet human needs, including food and shelter and medical care, to the technology and practices that provide those needs, and the impact that has on the environment and the people with the needs. That impact, whether good or bad, has to be constantly evaluated and can lead to research opportunities to better the practices or develop new practices entirely. In the end, it adds up to collaboration between the research community and the business community.
“Research enterprise needs to support our private sector through economic development activities and the private sector needs to support research as well by not only providing funding, but letting us know what they need for further economic development,” said Miller. “There is a synergy to be found. I think it’s superb that LSU is taking the approach of marrying research and economic development into a single office. This vision will allow us to shape our future as we go ahead. We have a great opportunity here to use the talent, skills and expertise here at LSU to shape our common future.”
Miller also pulled from an infographic created by Garvin Grullón that was recently published with David Malakoff’s article in Science magazine, “The Many Ways of Making Academic Research Pay Off,” and adapted from “Managing Intellectual Property in the Public Interest.” Using Grullón’s infographic, Miller explained the eight different ways in which academic research can pay off for society at large, including educating students who carry those skills into the workforce, working with industry on focused research, arranging consulting ventures, starting up companies and licensing intellectual property.
“I have a firm belief that every major university should be playing in all eight of these arenas. Not every individual, not every faculty member, not every researcher will be doing all of these, but as an enterprise, you need to be hitting on all eight of these cylinders,” said Miller. “If you do that, I think you will have good response from the business community and that will translate into better response from the political leadership at the local, state and national levels because they will hear from their constituents what a university can do for them.”
Lastly, Miller discussed the realities of the federal budget and the limited amount of resources that are devoted to research and development. With a target of 3 percent of the gross domestic product spent on research and development, the United States still lags far behind other nation, including China, where 7 percent of its GDP is spent on research.
“As a nation, we need to be thinking about what we are getting out of our R&D investment and whether or not that is enough,” said Miller. “The concept of how much the country can afford depends on what the citizens of the country really want to get out of their investment.
“The business models for our research community and our academic community must evolve. Academic institutions tend to be slow to evolve,” said Miller. “I don't quite know where LSU is yet on that spectrum but most universities are somewhat behind the curve. So, if I were to come here as your vice chancellor for research and economic development, I would want to delve into the history over the last 20 years or so of LSU’s evolution and make sure that we’re on a positive and productive and innovative track going forward.”
From February 2009 until February 2013, Miller served as the assistant director for Ocean Sciences in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prior to serving in the White House, he was the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Program Specialist at the U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program Office in Washington, D.C., from May 2008 through February 2009. From September 2006 through February 2008, Miller was the technical director and director of research for the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education in Washington, D.C. He also served as the associate director for Ocean, Atmosphere and Space Sciences at the Office of Naval Research in London from May 2002 through October 2005, was a research oceanographer for the Naval Research Laboratory at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi from March 1996 through May 2002 and October 2005 through September 2006. Miller also served as a research assistant professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., from March 1992 through March 1996.
Miller earned his bachelor’s degree in marine science from the University of South Carolina, his master’s degree in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island and his Ph.D. in meteorology and physical oceanography from the University of Miami. He is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va.
LSU officials are in the process of conducting a search for the position of vice chancellor for research and economic development. Candidates will participate in a series of interviews with university staff and students, and will also participate in a campus-wide forum to present their thoughts on the future of research and economic development at LSU. The presentations will be followed by open question-and-answer sessions led by the candidates.
K.T. Valasaraj, LSU’s associate vice chancellor for Research & Economic Development, presented at an open forum on Thursday, March 14. For more information about his presentation, please visit http://www.lsu.edu/ur/ocur/lsunews/MediaCenter/News/2013/03/item59127.html.
The remaining candidates include Kevin Smith, distinguished professor of chemistry at LSU; David Conover, director for the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation; and Chitra Rajan, associate vice president for research at Iowa State University.
The Vice Chancellor for Research & Economic Development serves as the chief research officer for the university, reporting to the executive vice chancellor & provost. This individual will take a leadership role in national and international activities regarding research policy and will guide LSU in defining, prioritizing, and energizing emerging research opportunities. The target start date for this position is July 1, 2013.
All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the candidate presentations.
For more information regarding the search, including position description, search committee members and candidates’ vitae, please visit http://www.lsu.edu/faculty_staff/vcsearch/.
For more information about the candidates, please visit http://www.lsu.edu/faculty_staff/vcsearch/candidates.shtml.