A Lawrence native is KU's new vice chancellor for research and public service and head of its nonprofit research foundation.
The new vice chancellor for research and public service at Kansas University shouldn't have trouble finding his way around campus.
University officials confirmed Friday that Robert Barnhill, a Lawrence native who earned a bachelor's degree at KU, will fill the job of vice chancellor and president and chief operating officer of the Center for Research Inc., a nonprofit KU foundation known as CRINC.
He will coordinate all research activity on KU's Lawrence campus as of July 1.
"KU is already a great research institution," Barnhill said.
His objective is to "empower and give KU faculty the tools they need to learn about and then pursue new sources of research funding."
Barnhill replaces Howard Mossberg, who accepted the job on an interim basis when Chancellor Robert Hemenway reorganized his administration in 1996.
Provost David Shulenburger said he was confident Barnhill would expand KU's research in the sciences and humanities.
"Much of what he will be doing at KU is similar to what he has so successfully achieved at Arizona State," Shulenburger said.
Barnhill, 57, is vice provost for research at Arizona State University in Tempe. From fiscal years 1992 through 1996, under Barnhill's leadership, sponsored research at ASU increased an average of 18 percent annually to $84.5 million.
In the 1996 fiscal year, research funding on all KU campuses totaled $97.9 million.
The four other finalists for KU vice chancellor:
- Carl Locke, KU engineering dean and current director of CRINC.
- Robert Smith, Washington State University vice provost for research and graduate school dean.
- Michael Cataldo, vice president of Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.
- John Rouse, president of Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala.
Barnhill joined ASU's faculty in 1986 as chair of computer science. Before that, he was a math professor at the University of Utah-Salt Lake City.
He was the first National Merit Scholar from Lawrence High to attend KU, where he earned a degree in math in 1961. He completed master's and doctoral degrees in math at the University of Wisconsin.
Barnhill attracted more than $4.5 million in research funding for his work at Arizona State. He co-founded an academic discipline called computer-aided geometric design, used in the design of aircraft and automobiles.
He arrives at KU as CRINC undergoes reorganization. The center, which previously focused on engineering research, will administer all externally funded research on the Lawrence campus beginning July 1.
Under the centralized and expanded operation, CRINC will provide services for researchers, including assistance in proposal development, contract negotiations and financial management.
CRINC also will help with seed capital for research development and technology transfer.
Barnhill said an organization such as CRINC would be an important asset to KU faculty competing for limited government and private funding.
"The research dollars available today are for problem-oriented research, not department-oriented," he said. "You need an agile organization that responds quickly to grant opportunities and can pull together researchers from different disciplines for a particular project."