Dear Colleagues,

Yale is announcing today that Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer has accepted an offer to return to his alma mater as their inaugural vice provost for research.

I write to thank Peter for his leadership of our research enterprise for the past five years. He has transformed support for and coordination of the world-class research that is the bedrock of our university.

We wish him well, but we will miss his strategic and thoughtful approach to building systems, processes and structures that have cleared hurdles and allowed our faculty to focus on their paradigm-changing scholarship. Peter has been a consensus builder who has brought professionalism to the business, regulatory and compliance functions of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR). During his time at Illinois, research safety has improved, collaboration among research units across the university has increased, support for faculty proposal-writing outside of the STEM fields has been institutionalized and turnaround time for federally mandated research review processes has been reduced. He has prioritized much-needed investments and restructuring in HR, IT and business functions to better serve and support our research efforts, strongly emphasizing clear and consistent communications to build bridges and enhance collaboration across our decentralized university.                                                                                                                                     

Peter’s tenure as VCR has also coincided with the growth and strengthening of the university’s interdisciplinary research institute ecosystem, broadly recognized as one of the very best in the world.  Propelled by Peter’s execution of the campus strategic plan, these seven campus-wide institutes now include the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, as well as two new institutes: the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment and the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute. Just within the last month, these recent additions have led to the establishment of a Cancer Center on our campus and the announcement of the $104,000,000 Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy.

I know that the pull to return to his alma mater was great and that he and his wife, Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, who will join Yale’s chemistry faculty, are eager to be closer to their children.

I am confident that Peter will provide strong leadership to help Yale reach its goals in building its research enterprise, and I hope you will join me in thanking him for his transformational leadership here. We will schedule a reception sometime in the coming weeks.

I will share information soon about how I will fill Peter’s role before he begins his new position later this fall.

Best wishes,

Robert J. Jones

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