About the Position

The University at Buffalo (UB), The State University of New York, is seeking an outstanding researcher, scholar and visionary leader to serve as the Inaugural Director of the newly launched UB RENEW, a comprehensive, multidisciplinary Institute dedicated to research and education on globally pressing problems in energy, environment, and water.  In addition to expanding his/her own research program, the Director will lead the hiring of UB RENEW faculty and integration with existing programs and departments across the School of Architecture and Planning; College of Arts and Sciences; School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Law School; School of Management; and School of Public Health and Health Professions. 

UB RENEW is a central component of the Realizing UB 2020 Initiative to build on UB’s reputation as a leader in research, scholarship and innovation in the global community of scholars.  Launching of this signature Initiative represents an institutional priority for UB, and is of significant importance to the Western New York region, whose unique geography includes proximity to two Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, an international border, a reinvigorated urban corridor, and six Native American tribal nations.  

The mission of UB RENEW is to pursue emerging frontier efforts in research and education related to energy, environment, and water by providing a platform that encourages and supports the essential interdisciplinary collaborations needed to address grand challenge problems.  UB RENEW will integrate both new and existing intellectual and infrastructure resources to develop signature projects and enhance the quality and distinctiveness of current UB programs. In order to lead the development of UB RENEW most effectively, the Director will be an outstanding researcher in an area related to energy, environment or water, and will also have a successful track record of developing and leading interdisciplinary teams.

UB RENEW will be established with a significant university investment.  The Director will work with administrators and faculty leaders to recruit and lead an interdisciplinary group of faculty at all levels who are innovative and entrepreneurial scientists/scholars.  Depending on their plans for cutting-edge research, teaching and community engagement, candidates are encouraged to propose additional hiring concurrent with the inaugural Director position.  Through a hiring plan implemented over the next five years (of individual hires or in clusters), the Director will recruit upwards of 20 new RENEW-affiliated faculty members and integrate them with the more than 100 current faculty members active in the thematic areas.

UB RENEW is organized as a partnership between the Deans of the six participating schools and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and will become the focal point at UB for faculty, students and staff to develop interdisciplinary research, education and outreach programs in energy, environment, and water.  Through its coordination function, UB RENEW will also increase the visibility and stature of UB by integrating its activity with that of community partners and parallel efforts across the 64-campus SUNY system, including participation in the SUNY Network of Excellence in Energy, Environment, Economics, and Education.

Position Description

The Director will serve as the executive officer responsible for the overall management of UB RENEW and will report to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.  The Director will be an internationally recognized scholar with broad research experience in the areas of energy, environment, and/or water, and will hold the highest level of academic appointment, potentially in multiple departments or schools. In addition to maintaining and expanding his/her own research program, the Director must be an individual with the vision and leadership skills to oversee the hiring of an interdisciplinary group. The Director will work with administrators and faculty leaders to recruit and lead an interdisciplinary group of Full, Associate and Assistant Professors who are innovative and entrepreneurial scientists/scholars, integrating them with the existing faculty, programs, departments, and schools. Through a hiring plan implemented over the next five years (of individual hires or in clusters), the Director will recruit at least 20 new UB RENEW-affiliated faculty members and integrate them with the more than 100 current faculty members active in the thematic area.   

UB RENEW will be established with an initial university investment of $15 million.  It is expected that the Director will work with university leadership to attract additional external investment from granting agencies, foundations, and private donors to best support the vision of the Initiative.  Successful applications will have a track record of productive and well-funded programs of basic or applied research and the demonstrated ability to work not only across decanal units within the academy, but also with state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and the business community. 


Candidates for the position should have a track record of productive and well-funded basic or applied research and the demonstrated ability to work not only across decanal units within the academy, but also with state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and the business community.  Through the efforts of its faculty researchers, and under the vision and leadership of the Director, it is expected that UB RENEW will make policy recommendations that will become part of the international discourse on balancing environmental, energy and natural resources with socio-economic, legal, cultural and other global realities. 

Duties of the Director include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Establish UB RENEW as a national and global community of excellence;
  • Develop and execute the UB RENEW strategic plan, including a balanced program of research, education, and outreach activities;
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration across disciplinary and decanal unit boundaries and with external partners;
  • Provide leadership to UB faculty in expanding and diversifying the research and funding portfolio necessary to support the UB RENEW mission;
  • Articulate and promote the UB RENEW mission and programs to external partners, including government, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and academia;
  • Participate with both internal and external advisory boards in developing strategies and governance policies;
  • Lead the strategic hiring of new RENEW-affiliated faculty members in coordination with all participating academic units;
  • Work with the involved deans to identify gaps, outline needs and prioritize the hiring of new faculty members in accordance with UB RENEW’s strategic plans;
  • Coordinate with university leadership in developing joint grant applications for funding of large-scale interdisciplinary projects for RENEW related activities.


The Director must have training, experience, and/or accomplishments that reflect the interdisciplinary character of the Initiative and its multi-faceted mission, including, but not limited to:

  • Doctoral or equivalent degree in a discipline or with a specialty related to preferably more than one of the Initiative’s three areas: energy, environment, and/or water; 
  • Well-funded and productive record of basic or applied research across the areas of interest;
  • Leadership, management, planning, and financial skills;
  • Experience developing and/or coordinating educational programs;
  • Ability to work with colleagues across disciplines and university leadership;
  • Ability to work with state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and the regional business community 

Application Instructions

The Director position can be part of an initial cluster hire for RENEW, and if candidates have this vision, they should propose this in their application materials.  We ask that candidates feel free to propose their own plans for innovative research, teaching and community engagement in their materials.  To apply, please submit a letter of application, curriculum vita, and statements of teaching philosophy and research goals to:

Bruce D. McCombe, SUNY Distinguished Professor, and Chair, UB RENEW Director Search
516 Capen Hall
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY  14260

Review of applications will begin March 1, 2014 and will continue until the position is filled. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply including women, minorities, persons with disabilities and disabled veterans. University at Buffalo is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

You may also apply for the UB RENEW Director position through UB Jobs by clicking here.

University at Buffalo: An Overview

UB is a flagship university center in the State University of New York (SUNY) system and has been a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1990. Impactful research, scholarly distinction, transformative student experiences and far-reaching service to local, state, national and international communities define UB’s mission as a premier research-intensive public university. UB was founded in 1846 as a private medical college located in downtown Buffalo. UB joined SUNY in 1962 and is today the largest, most comprehensive research university within the 64-campus SUNY system and its primary center for professional education and training. UB enrolls close to 30,000 students (approximately 2/3 undergraduate and 1/3 graduate and professional students), and offers nearly 400 degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, professional and doctoral levels across its 12 decanal units. UB is a global community of scholars, consistently ranking among the nation’s top 10-20 universities for the enrollment of international students. For the last two years, The Times Higher Education World University Rankings has listed UB in the top 200 universities worldwide, affirming UB’s stature as one of the world’s preeminent universities.

UB boasts a distinguished faculty of approximately 1,300 full-time members and over 800 part-time members.   Approximately 100 scholars conduct research related to the RENEW themes, with interdisciplinary teams already working in water science/engineering/policy, environmental restoration, climate change science and adaptation, environmental health, extreme events, food security, sustainable building and transportation infrastructure, environmental genomics, and energy production/distribution systems.  Current undergraduate degree offerings include Environmental Geosciences, Environmental Engineering, and Environmental Studies, and an MPH in Environmental Health, with a collective enrollment exceeding 250 students.  Graduate degree tracks with an environmental and/or energy focus are offered in most of the relevant Departments across the six Schools, and it is expected that RENEW will catalyze new graduate programs focused on environment, energy, and sustainability.        

With more than 150 research centers and institutes, UB’s current annual research expenditures, including affiliated institutions, are approximately $360 million. The libraries hold four million volumes in seven major units and an exceptionally wide array of digital information resources. UB is a leader and an active partner with the more than 20 public and private colleges and universities in the Buffalo Niagara region.  The university’s total workforce of more than 6,600 full-time equivalent employees makes it one of the region’s largest employers. With annual revenues of almost $1.2 billion from all sources, UB and its affiliated entities generate an estimated economic impact of $1.7 billion annually in the state and region.

UB also distinguishes itself within the region by the rich array of cultural, recreational, and athletic offerings it makes available each year to members of the campus and surrounding community. The Center for the Arts and other campus performance venues host hundreds of live performances and programs each year, across the full spectrum of theater, dance, music, comedy, visual arts, and distinguished speakers. UB fields the only full Division I-A athletics program in the SUNY system. The UB Bulls compete in the Mid-American Conference, and have won conference or national championships in recent years in football, men’s basketball, women’s rowing, and men’s and women’s tennis. UB’s student athletes consistently earn conference-wide and national recognition for their academic achievements, including Academic All-MAC honors and NCAA recognition.

Continuing to elevate the university in excellence, impact, and stature is the guiding objective of the UB 2020 vision, and the university is actively realizing this vision by building excellence across its research, education, and engagement activities and in the physical environment that supports this broader academic enterprise.

The Realizing UB 2020 was launched in 2012 by the president and provost, and designed through a campus-wide conversation.  This initiative is the next evolution of the UB 2020 vision, building on the progress and momentum the university has achieved and using it as the springboard for taking the institution to the next level of excellence. Through Realizing UB 2020, the university will build upon its strength of collaborative, interdisciplinary research, education, and community partnerships.

Recognizing the key role that a vibrant 21st-century physical campus environment plays in enhancing education, research and learning, as part of the UB 2020 vision UB is implementing a long-range plan for enhancing its North, South and Downtown campus spaces and connecting them more effectively to their surrounding communities. UB’s North Campus, located in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, is the university’s main undergraduate campus, and home to the university’s primary athletics and cultural facilities. Three miles to the south, on the northern edge of the City of Buffalo, is the university’s historical South Campus, which serves as the primary health sciences campus. UB also has a rapidly developing third campus center in downtown Buffalo. The focal point of UB’s downtown presence is the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, on which UB’s new medical school facility will be constructed in proximity to the university’s health and life science partners.

The University at Buffalo website is www.buffalo.edu

UB leadership

President Satish K. Tripathi

Internationally recognized as an accomplished researcher and transformative higher education leader, Dr. Satish K. Tripathi was appointed the 15th president of the University at Buffalo on April 18, 2011. His vision for UB’s future focuses on moving the university into the highest ranks of the nation’s leading research universities through expanding its reach and impact locally, as well as globally.

Dr. Tripathi, who served as UB’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs from 2004-2011, was one of the principal creators of the UB 2020 strategic plan to achieve academic research excellence, and has led the university to achieve significant growth in research and scholarly activity, enhanced student quality and diversity, and an expanded international presence.  A fellow of the IEEE and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is an internationally distinguished scholar in the field of computer science.

Provost Charles F. Zukoski

An internationally renowned scholar in chemical engineering and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Charles F. Zukoski was named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on June 1, 2012. Dr. Zukoski joined UB from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he had previously served as professor and head of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department and as vice chancellor of research. From 2008-2011, he held the position of Chair of the Science and Engineering Research Council in Singapore. Dr. Zukoski was named one of the Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Vice President for Research and Economic Development – Alexander N. Cartwright

Alexander N. Cartwright is the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Professor of Electrical Engineering at UB. As Vice President he is responsible for the overall management of UB's research enterprise, including research administration, research advancement, research communications, research support, research compliance, university/ industry relations, and economic development activities for UB.  Dr. Cartwright has earned national recognition as an engineering researcher and professor.  As an active cross-disciplinary research collaborator, he is a co-inventor on six issued patents and six pending patent applications.

The Community

The Buffalo-Niagara region, home to 1.5 million residents, is the state’s second largest major metropolitan area, exceeded only by New York City. The region includes a diverse blend of communities, each with its own distinct personality, yet commonly characterized by a distinctly neighborly way of life, an unpretentious nature and spirited loyalty among residents. Buffalo’s own strong sense of community, easy lifestyle and affordability regularly place it in top ten lists from a variety of national publications for its overall quality of life.

Buffalo offers an impressive array of cultural and recreational opportunities uncommon for a region of its size. Buffalo’s rich cultural resources reflect its distinguished history and a commitment to sustaining the arts, including the Grammy-Award winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; the world-class collection of modern painting and sculpture at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery; an extensive array of historic architectural treasures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson, Louis Sullivan, and Eero and Eliel Saarinen; and an expansive park system, considered to be the very best work of designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s career. The city is home to the state’s largest concentration of theaters outside of New York City.

The Buffalo area is rich in natural resources and beauty, Buffalo Niagara is a four-season region that offers the best for seasonal sports enthusiasts. University at Buffalo fans enjoy a full complement of NCAA division I sports with the UB Bulls, as well as the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Triple-A baseball’s Buffalo Bisons, and the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits.

Less than a two-hour drive from Buffalo across the United States-Canada border is Toronto, the cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada. Buffalo is also ideally located for easy access to many of America’s greatest cities. The Buffalo-Niagara International Airport offers direct flights to more than 20 cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C., all only an hour’s flight time away.

The University at Buffalo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic university community committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. Potential applicants who share this goal are encouraged to apply.