Mridul Gautam has joined the University of Nevada, Reno as vice president for research and innovation. He comes to Nevada from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va., where he served as associate vice president for research and vice president of the West Virginia University Research Corporation.
“I see tremendous promise and amazing potential in the University’s faculty, in the research system and in the leadership,” Gautam said. “At the University of Nevada, Reno, I intend to build collaborations across funding agencies and to bring together faculty from across disciplines to solve bigger issues, to take on the bigger challenges facing humanity. The opportunity that lies ahead is exciting.”
“Dr. Gautam is enthusiastic about the opportunity to enhance the University’s research enterprise and performance in a way that stimulates wide-reaching, interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration,” said Kevin Carman, the University’s executive vice president and provost. “He has an impressive portfolio of experience working with federal funding agencies and with the private sector.”
Gautam joined WVU in 1988 as assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was named a full professor in 1999 and today holds the title of Robert C. Byrd Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He was named interim associate vice president for research and economic development in 2007 and, in 2011, was named associate vice president for research and vice president of the WVU Research Corporation.
During Gautam’s tenure in research administration, WVU achieved increases in research and sponsored project funding. He championed and led improvements to advance the university’s cyber connectivity, which positioned WVU to participate in significant high-tech research initiatives and helped spawn regional economic development. He managed four centers that reported to the WVU Office of Research: the National Research Center for Coal and Energy, the U.S. China Energy Research Center, the Regional Research Institute at WVU and the Advanced Energy Initiative. Gautam has also been actively involved in outreach to state, federal and private funding agencies.
Gautam takes over the role from Marsha Read, who has served in the dual roles of vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School since 2008. Read, who received the University’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award, continues as vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.
The addition of “innovation” to the previous title of vice president for research, Carman said, signals the commitment to support innovation and more strongly integrate research efforts with economic development.
Gautam’s degrees in mechanical engineering include a bachelor’s from G.B. Pant University in Pantnagar, India; a master’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, India; and doctorate degree from WVU. He has served on a number of statewide and national committees, including the Mobile Sources Technical Review Subcommittee of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and on the board of directors for the WV Jobs Investment Trust Board of Directors, TechConnect WV and I-79 Development Council.