Chris Clemens
Chris Clemens

Chris Clemens has been named the College of Arts & Sciences’ new senior associate dean for research and innovation.

The new position was created to drive strategic planning and provide guidance across the College’s academic divisions and research programs, fostering new models of innovation, new initiatives and new collaborations.

Some of the oversight areas that Clemens will have in his new position arose from his responsibilities as senior associate dean for natural sciences — a post he has held since 2016 — in which he co-led the Science Complex Working Group and its feasibility study for the Institute for Convergent Science building. One of his primary responsibilities will be to help the College and the campus build an Innovation Framework that will help guide teams of researchers through the process of translating basic research into innovations with commercial or social impact. The Innovation Framework is being developed in close collaboration with Innovate Carolina and UNC Research and will be launched next year.

Clemens will also work closely with Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson. He will provide executive management advice to the interdisciplinary research and scholarship enterprises within the College, in coordination with Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Enterprise and Economic Development Judith Cone, Innovate Carolina and the Office of Technology Commercialization to more seamlessly integrate research and innovation enterprises.

In his new position, Clemens will also:

  • Assist units, programs and initiatives in the College to respond to funding opportunities.
  • Foster and facilitate proposal development and promote interaction for multidisciplinary research opportunities.
  • Work with the faculty executive director of CHANL and other research entities to ensure appropriate research tools are acquired, maintained and supported.
  • Provide College-level executive guidance for unresolved issues regarding grants, conflicts of interest, external activities for pay, export controls, research misconduct, safety violations, compliance to human research protection, animal welfare and responsible research practices.
  • Promote and support a culture of innovation, including the filing of reports of invention and follow-up development of College-developed technologies and innovations.
  • Promote an environment of rapid dissemination of research knowledge consistent with applicable laws, regulations and policies.

As senior associate dean for natural sciences, Clemens’ accomplishments included drafting a plan and funding proposal for the pilot of the Institute for Convergent Science; working with Jaye Cable to launch the new Environment, Ecology and Energy program (E3P); collaborating with chairs to build the research enterprise and developing the curriculum in the College’s newest departments — applied physical sciences and biomedical engineering; assisting in the search for a new director of the Institute for the Environment; and leading the College’s distinguished professor selection committee.

Clemens also continued his physics and astronomy research, participating in the first optical spectroscopy follow-up of gravitational wave-detected kilonovae explosion resulting from the merger of two neutron stars. He also co-taught a new interdisciplinary first-year seminar, “Time and the Medieval Cosmos” last semester with history professor Brett Whalen and a new Burch Honors Field Seminar in London last summer.

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