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Chris Clemens
Chris Clemens

Dr. Chris Clemens is Senior Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the College of Arts & Sciences.

As senior associate dean, Clemens drives strategic planning and provides guidance across the College’s academic divisions and research programs, fostering new models of innovation, new initiatives and new collaborations.

One of his primary responsibilities is 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 in 2020.

Clemens also works closely with Vice Chancellor for Research Terry Magnuson. He provides 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.

Clemens’s responsibilities also include the following:

  • Assisting units, programs and initiatives in the College to respond to funding opportunities.
  • Fostering and facilitating proposal development and promoting interaction for multidisciplinary research opportunities.
  • Working with the faculty executive director of CHANL and other research entities to ensure appropriate research tools are acquired, maintained and supported.
  • Providing 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.
  • Promoting and supporting a culture of innovation, including the filing of reports of invention and follow-up development of College-developed technologies and innovations.
  • Promoting 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 chair 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.

A stellar astrophysicist with a B.S. in astrophysics from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin, Clemens came to UNC in 1998 after completing a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at Iowa State University and a Sherman Fairchild Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship at Caltech. Before becoming senior associate dean for natural sciences, Clemens served as chair of the department of physics and astronomy at UNC for four years.

  • Telephone: 919.962.1165
  • E-mail