New Responsibilities for Zuber, Canizares, Schmidt

November 27, 2012

To the members of the MIT Community:
I am writing to inform you of three administrative changes in areas central to MIT's present and future strength:

  • As of January 16, 2013, Maria Zuber, E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and former department head of EAPS, will become MIT's vice president for research. A leader in studying the structure and dynamics of the Earth and other solid planets, in 2010 she became the principal investigator of NASA's $496 million GRAIL project to map the moon's interior – one of the largest and most complex research programs MIT has ever been involved with. A member of the MIT faculty since 1995, in 2009 she testified before Congress about the profound value of sustained federal funding for fundamental research; a year later, she served as a Member of PCAST's Study on the Future of the U.S. Science and Technology Enterprise. Well versed in the ways of Washington, with a deep awareness of the needs of world-class research teams, a broad understanding of the research enterprise at MIT and a proven ability to orchestrate complex processes and build effective teams, she is extraordinarily well prepared to lead MIT in federal research policy and administration. As uncertainty prevails around federal research funding, she will be a compelling advocate for farsighted national investment in university research.
  • Current Vice President of Research and Associate Provost Claude Canizares, the Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics, will take responsibility for leading MIT's global partnerships and for overseeing the work of Lincoln Laboratory, assuming the title of vice president. Please join me in expressing our deep thanks to Claude for his six years of dedicated leadership as the central coordinator and chief advocate for MIT's extraordinary research enterprise. Despite a challenging funding environment, he led MIT to remarkable success in securing research support while also helping to launch bold new initiatives, from Singapore to Skolkovo. He will take on this interim role beginning January 16, 2013, and hold it until June 30, 2014.
  • Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Provost Martin Schmidt will expand his duties to include oversight of "all things industry," from MIT's industry partnerships and manufacturing initiatives to emerging efforts to increase MIT's strength as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. A manufacturing entrepreneur in his own right, he will also take on responsibility for the Industrial Liaison Program and the Technology Licensing Office.

I am delighted and grateful that these distinguished faculty members have agreed to serve MIT in these vital roles. I know they will help us prepare MIT extremely well for an exciting future.
L. Rafael Reif