Chuck Wilson Named GoMRI Chief Science Officer

02/24/2012 11:54 AM

BATON ROUGE – The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, or GoMRI, Research Board announced today the selection of Charles “Chuck” A. Wilson to serve as the GoMRI chief science officer.  Wilson is currently executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program and previously served as vice provost for academic affairs at LSU.


“This is an exciting opportunity,” Wilson said.  “My career has spanned the conduct of research, administration and the management of a research, outreach and education program.  I enjoy envisioning partnerships and motivating people toward common goals.  There are numerous opportunities for collaboration and interaction between the research consortia and other scientific teams funded by the GoMRI, and I look forward to helping facilitate this collaboration.”


The chief science officer is a new position created by the research board to provide scientific and research advice and leadership to the GoMRI. Wilson will coordinate the work of the GoMRI Research Board with the various administrative units implementing the research program and with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.  


“Chuck Wilson leaves a legacy at LSU of outstanding scholarship and administrative service,” said LSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jack Hamilton. “We look forward to keeping those ties alive.”


“Dr. Wilson has the background experience, knowledge and expertise not only in a broad and specific scientific area related to fisheries and oceanography, but also the administrative skill set, to excel at GOMRI,” said Interim Vice Chancellor of LSU’s Office of Research & Economic Development Thomas Klei. “The Louisiana Sea Grant College Program has been a major success due to his knowledge, oversight, vision and leadership, and he has played a key role in helping the university through extended budget crises. His contributions to LSU, while too numerous to list, will be sorely missed, but we look forward to opportunities to collaborate with him in his new position in the future.”


Additionally, Wilson will support the research board’s efforts to ensure the intellectual quality, research effectiveness, and scientific independence of the $500 million GoMRI research initiative.   


“I am pleased that Dr. Wilson has accepted this important position,” said Rita Colwell, chairman of the GoMRI Research Board.  “His professional experience and leadership skills make him the ideal person for this important position.”    


Wilson is a distinguished scientist and academic leader.  He has held faculty and administrative posts at LSU, where he joined the faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences.  Since then, he has risen through the academic ranks to full professor and department chair.  Most recently, he has served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, and prior to that as the vice provost for academic affairs.  During his tenure at LSU, he has received more than $15,000,000 in private, state and federal funding for research and education programs, and has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific publications.


Wilson’s leadership goes well beyond the academic setting.  He has distinguished himself through service in scientific organizations and on scientific advisory bodies, including the GoMRI Research Board.  


“Chuck has demonstrated an ability to get big things done and to bring people and organizations together to accomplish common goals,” Colwell said.  


His accomplishments include co-founding the Louisiana Artificial Reef Program, and helping to establish the Louisiana Artificial Reef Trust Fund and the Louisiana State University Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.  He has led research teams investigating fisheries management, life history studies of fish and the impact of oil and gas platforms on fish and fish communities.  


A search committee was established by the GoMRI Research Board to conduct a rigorous review of candidates for the Chief Science Officer position.  The committee carefully considered applications and interviewed candidates before it ultimately recommended Wilson for the post.   


“I am extremely grateful to LSU for an exciting and fulfilling academic career and for opportunities that the university has afforded me over the past 28 years,” Wilson said.



About GoMRI
The GoMRI Research Board is an independent body that administers BP’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to independent research into the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Through a series of competitive grant programs, the GoMRI is investigating the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and the affected coastal states in a broad context of improving fundamental understanding of the dynamics of such events and their environmental stresses and public health implications. The GoMRI also funds research that improves techniques for detecting oil and gas, spill mitigation and technologies to characterize and remediate spills.  Knowledge accrued will be applied to restoration and to improving the long-term environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico. The GoMRI is an independent scientific research program and is separate from the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process.

Ashley  Berthelot 
LSU Research Communications

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2012