David Conover to join UO as new VPRI, serve on RAIN board

A candidate with significant background on both sides of the grant award process will bring that expertise to the University of Oregon as the new vice president for research and innovation.

David Conover, vice president for research at Stony Brook University in New York, has accepted the position following a national search. He joined the university Aug. 15.

In a memo to the campus community, Scott Coltrane, provost and senior vice president, announced the selection, noting, “His background as a scholar and strong record of successfully attracting and managing funded research made him the clear choice for Oregon.”

During Conover’s term as research vice president, Stony Brook launched a new Office of Proposal Development, boosted proposal production by more than 20 percent, increased research expenditures more than 5 percent despite stagnant federal funding, landed numerous large federal grants and tripled its number of National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.

Prior to his leadership role at Stony Brook, Conover served as director of the Division of Ocean Sciences at the NSF, where he managed the foundation’s second-largest division and a budget exceeding $350 million.  He oversaw two major facility construction projects: the $386 million Ocean Observatory Initiative and the $200 million research vessel R/V Sikuliaq, which operates in the Arctic Ocean.

While serving as vice president for research at Stony Brook, Conover maintained the position of professor of marine science in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, where he also served as dean from 2003-10. With extensive expertise in the ecology of marine fisheries, he has authored more than 125 publications. He joined the faculty of Stony Brook as an assistant professor in 1981.

“Faculty at the University of Oregon are nationally recognized leaders in the research world,” Conover said. “Being invited to join this team at such a transformational time for the university is an honor. My background and experience in research and administration will benefit the great work that is taking place across campus and around the globe every day as we further strengthen and expand discovery and innovation at the UO.”

“David brings experience from all sides of the research world to the UO — as researcher and principal investigator, university leader and funding agency manager,” Coltrane wrote. “He knows what faculty need to be successful and what agencies are looking for in making their funding decisions.”

Conover recently co-authored a Huffington Post opinion piece with the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook providing insight into his voice in the national discussion around research funding.

In the memo, Coltrane also expressed appreciation to Brad Shelton, who has served interim vice president since May 2014.

“I am thrilled to share that Brad will remain with the provost’s office as senior vice provost for budget and strategic planning. Brad will continue his work to refine the academic budget model and build a robust resource allocation system. He will also work closely with Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration, on budget planning, including the strategic initiatives process and the Budget Advisory Group,” Coltrane wrote.

By Tobin J. Klinger, University Communications

(David Conover will also serve on the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network board of directors)