Carnegie Mellon University

August 14, 2018

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we continue to strengthen and support outstanding research, creativity and entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon, I am pleased to announce the elevation and expansion of our Office of Research and the appointment of Dr. Michael McQuade as vice president for research, effective January 2019. 

The decision to re-create this executive-level leadership position was made in consultation with the Board of Trustees, the Provost, the deans and senior leaders. Reporting directly to the president, the vice president for research will bring a more strategic focus to our research enterprise, promoting closer collaboration across campus and encouraging greater connection to industry partners, government agencies, and other stakeholders. 

Michael’s depth of experience across industry, government and academia, as well as his familiarity with CMU as a trustee and alumnus, position him well to take on this critical role and build upon our extraordinary momentum as a top-tier research institution. 

Michael joins CMU’s executive management team from the United Technologies Corporation (UTC), where he served as senior vice president for science and technology for twelve years. His responsibilities at UTC included providing strategic oversight and guidance for research, engineering and development activities throughout the business units of the corporation and at the United Technologies Research Center. Michael previously held senior positions in technology development and business leadership at 3M, Imation and Eastman Kodak, with broad experience managing basic technology development and the conversion of early stage research into business growth. 

For the past six years, Michael has served as a CMU trustee, providing strategic guidance to the university as a member of the Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Subcommittee, and will resign his duties as trustee to take on this new responsibility. He is also a triple alumnus of our Mellon College of Science, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree as well as a doctorate degree in physics for research conducted at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab.

Michael is a thought leader in Washington, D.C. and currently serves as a founding member of the Defense Innovation Board, an independent federal advisory committee formed in 2016 that advises the Secretary of Defense on how best to advance technological innovation. Previously, he served on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology from 2013 through 2017 and on the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board from 2009 through 2017.

Under Michael’s leadership, the research office will advocate for university researchthrough global thought leadership; provide central research administration; support a culture of ethical research and compliance; promote economic development through technology transfer and entrepreneurship; build new and diverse research partnershipswith industry, government and non-profit enterprises; and work with colleagues from across campus to support university-wide research initiatives and programs. Michael will provide leadership to the Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation, the Office of Sponsored Programs, the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance, and the Office of Research Systems and Operations. 

I wish to express my profound gratitude to Gary Fedder, who has served as Vice Provost for Research since July 2015. Gary plans to return full-time to his highly productive research career as professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering and professor of robotics in the Robotics Institute. He also will continue in his role as co-director of the Manufacturing Futures Initiative at CMU. I am grateful to Gary for his many contributions to CMU’s research mission over the past three years, including expanding CMU’s capacity for pursuing and securing larger and more diverse research funding opportunities.He co-led the proposal that established the $250 million Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing institute, where he serves on their Board of Directors. Under his leadership, we have also seen a marked growth in external research funding across CMU, including an 18 percent increase in FY18 for corporate-sponsored research expenditures compared to FY15. Transformative, “center-scale” awards, including many cross-college efforts, also grew significantly – from $77 million in FY15 to $104 million in FY17. 

As a world-class research institution, a robust research enterprise is core to our mission and touches nearly every corner of this university. I look forward to working with Michael and Gary in the coming months to promote a successful transition and our ongoing success. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Gary and welcoming Michael and his wife, Sharon, to the Carnegie Mellon community.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair