Ellen Fisher, vice president for Research and professor of Chemistry at The University of New Mexico, announced that Professor David Hanson from Biology and Associate Professor Melissa Emery Thompson from Anthropology have been named interim Assistant Vice Presidents of Research through June 2022.

Hanson’s primary focus will be working with both internal and external partners on building industry partnerships and economic development activities in conjunction with Rainforest Innovations. Emery Thompson’s will focus on assisting with the implementation of Streamlyne, a new electronic research administration system, as well as ways to increase faculty research and scholarship recognition.

Hanson explained that many UNM faculty have developed industry partnerships with businesses ranging from local start-ups to multinational conglomerates, as well as starting their own companies. However, it is still challenging to navigate these interactions. Faculty wishing to work with industry are generally on their own to discover how to make it work. Similarly, industry partners looking to collaborate with UNM faculty or use services find it challenging to find interested UNM faculty and students.

“My goal is to both develop a community that includes UNM faculty who have current industrial partnerships and those who are interested in developing more,” he said. “This community would then be a resource for best practices and advice for working with industry and a contact point for industry to find partners within our institution. UNM Rainforest Innovations, Anderson School of Management, and Boomerang New Mexico have been building these relationships and my hope is to be able to expand their networks and raise awareness of what UNM is currently doing. In addition, I hope to identify and reduce barriers to having industry fund research that can benefit UNM's mission and grow our economy.”

Hanson has worked with local, national, international, and multinational industrial partners for most of his 19 years at UNM.

“I have used these relationships to expand research opportunities for students, build research capacity, and pursue community engagement. I have also worked with UNM Rainforest Innovations to patent discoveries and to create a start-up company. Importantly, through my decade of service for the UNM Faculty Senate Research Policy Committee and the Research and Creative Works Council, I have developed a good understanding of the existing policies and the process needed to make improvements to them,” he added.

“I would like to bring UNM administration, Faculty Governance, and our faculty together to improve and increase our interactions with industry in support of our research and creative works, and also to assist with economic development. I am optimistic that such efforts will help demonstrate the value of UNM to our local and State government as well as to the people of New Mexico,” Hanson remarked.

Emery Thompson noted that in late 2022, UNM will replace Cayuse, the system used for proposal submission and grants and contract management, with a new system called Streamlyne.

“I am working with a diverse team of UNM administrators and IT professionals throughout the process of configuring and implementing this system,” she explained. “My major role is to represent the needs and concerns of researchers who will need to use the new system. I am also taking the lead on communicating with faculty as the launch date approaches and making sure they have access to the training and support that they require. We are also looking at new and creative ways to promote and recognize faculty success as a means to build a strong and supportive research community.”

Emery Thompson previously served as the Associate Chair of the Anthropology Department and the Chair of the Faculty Senate Research Policy Committee. 

“As a researcher, I direct the Comparative Human & Primate Physiology Center and co-direct the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, a long-term international research project. I come to this position primarily as an experienced researcher, rather than as an administrator, because the OVPR is invested in better understanding and addressing the challenges faced by faculty and student researchers,” she observed.

“I've been at UNM since 2008, and in that time, I have seen dramatic improvements in the research environment which have made it more rewarding for me to work at UNM. However, it is still an overwhelming challenge for faculty to negotiate all the different steps to get their research programs going and to identify how to get the help they need. My broad goals for this role are to help foster the kind of research environment that can attract and retain high-quality researchers, where faculty and students feel supported and rewarded, Emery Thompson said. 

“I am excited to take on this role at this time because our upper administration is well aligned to recognize and support the core role of research in UNM's mission. We have had a lot of turnover, but now it feels like we have stabilized and can work on the unified vision that President Stokes has established,” Hanson said.

“I am confident the insights and fresh perspectives these new team members bring to OVPR will generate creative approaches to growing and celebrating scholarship across campus. Additional staff and student positions in the OVPR will be filled in the coming weeks. We’re excited to get our new team onboarded and ready to serve the UNM research community,” Fisher concluded.

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