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Vice Chancellor for Research

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Search for the Vice Chancellor for Research
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison)—among the nation's most renowned and expansive public research universities—seeks a visionary and collaborative leader with an entrepreneurial mindset to serve as the next Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR). This position will play a pivotal role in building a future-oriented research infrastructure that leverages a storied history of innovation in service to the "Wisconsin Idea" of influencing the lives of people beyond the boundaries of the institution, to the state, the region, and the world.

UW-Madison is currently ranked 8th in the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey with $1.52 billion in research expenditures. While few institutions match the incredible depth and quality of research these numbers represent, even fewer boast UW-Madison's remarkable breadth. The University's 23 schools, colleges, institutes, and divisions include an academic medical center; a college of engineering; schools of veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and nursing; a school of computer, data and information sciences; a land-grant agricultural research program and extension program; and an excellent array of physical and natural science, social science, humanities, and arts programs. Many UW–Madison programs are ranked in the top 20 in fields as diverse as business, nursing, economics, psychology, education, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, fine arts, history, pharmacy, political science, social work, sociology, and statistics, among others. With more than 750 PhD degrees awarded annually, UW-Madison is ranked 11th in the nation for doctorates granted and is among the top 5 institutions for producing tenure-track faculty appointments in higher education. Faculty and alumni have won 20 Nobel Prizes, along with 78 members of the National Academies, 112 Guggenheim Fellows, 11 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows, 5 MacArthur Fellows, and 68 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among many other accolades. UW-Madison generates $15 billion annually in economic impact and seeds numerous startups, spinoffs, clinical trials, and other entrepreneurial endeavors aimed at translating its discoveries to impact.

A key partner for the next VCR will be the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Founded in 1925 as the first organization of its kind, WARF is an independent, nonprofit corporation run by alumni trustees that manages the university's patented technologies and invests the revenue. WARF provides an annual base grant, which in fiscal year 2024 amounts to $67.6 million, that is distributed through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) to support research initiatives and fund strategic priorities of the VCR.

The next VCR will join an innovative new leadership team seeking to drive UW-Madison to even greater heights. Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin joined the University in 2022 and Provost Charles Isbell joined in 2023. The next VCR will be a strategic thought partner for the Chancellor and her Executive Committee, helping to achieve ambitious research goals, including advancement to a ranking of 6th or higher in the HERD Survey. In keeping with UW-Madison's strong tradition of shared governance, the next VCR will be consultative with the community in setting a strategic vision while leading bold initiatives to stimulate new or nascent fields where UW-Madison can define the cutting edge. As the Chief Research Officer for UW-Madison, the next VCR will establish themselves as a national figure, actively networking with federal agencies, industry partners, and nonprofit funders to establish UW-Madison as a go-to partner and staying abreast of emerging areas of national priorities, ultimately expanding the University's influence. They must bring both a strong record of research excellence in their own field and a deep and active curiosity for the breadth of research and scholarship across all disciplines at UW-Madison.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist with this important search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process with a priority application date of Tuesday, January 19. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be directed to the search firm at

John Muckle, Vijay Saraswat, Hayden Lizotte, Arianna Williams, and Sky Nockels
Isaacson, Miller
263 Summer Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02210

Important information regarding confidentiality: Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, UW-Madison is required by Wis. Stat. sec. 19.36(7) to release the names of all applicants to anyone who requests that information. If you would like to request confidentiality, please indicate that in an email to Sky Nockels ( and request acknowledgment to that effect. All candidates who advance to the finalist stage will be announced publicly prior to their campus visits.

The University of Wisconsin is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply. Please visit to complete voluntary self-identification information. PVL #280821

If you need to request an accommodation because of a disability, you can find information about how to make a request at the following website:

Employment will require a criminal background check. It will also require you and your references to answer questions regarding sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Report ( contains current campus safety and disciplinary policies, crime statistics for the previous 3 calendar years, and on-campus student housing fire safety policies and fire statistics for the previous 3 calendar years. UW–Madison will provide a paper copy upon request; please contact the University of Wisconsin Police Department.

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In achievement and prestige, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has long been recognized as one of America's great universities. A public, land-grant institution, UW–Madison offers a complete spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs and student activities, and many of its programs are hailed as world leaders in instruction, research and public service. Spanning 935 acres along the southern shore of Lake Mendota, the campus is located in the city of Madison.

The university traces its roots to a clause in the Wisconsin Constitution, which decreed that the state should have a prominent public university. In 1848, Nelson Dewey, Wisconsin’s first governor, signed the act that formally created the university, and its first class, with 17 students, met in a Madison school building on February 5, 1849.

From those humble beginnings, the university has grown into a large, diverse community, with about 40,000 students enrolled each year. These students represent every state in the nation, as well as countries from around the globe, making for a truly international population.

UW–Madison is the oldest and largest campus in the University of Wisconsin System, a statewide network of 13 comprehensive universities, 13 freshman-sophomore transfer colleges and an extension service. One of two doctorate-granting universities in the system, UW–Madison’s specific mission is to provide “a learning environment in which faculty, staff and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help insure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all.”

The university achieves these ends through innovative programs of research, teaching and public service. Throughout its history, UW–Madison has sought to bring the power of learning into the daily lives of its students through innovations such as residential learning communities and service-learning opportunities. Students also participate freely in research, which has led to life-improving inventions ranging from more fuel-efficient engines to cutting-edge genetic therapies.

The Wisconsin Idea

Students, faculty and staff are motivated by a tradition known as the “Wisconsin Idea,” first started by UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904, when he declared that he would “never be content until the beneficent influence of the university [is] available to every home in the state.” The Wisconsin Idea permeates the university’s work and helps forge close working relationships among university faculty and students, and the state’s industries and government.

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