Utah State University President Noelle Cockett has named Lisa Berreau as vice president for research.
Berreau has been serving as interim vice president for research since July 2019, and she served as associate vice president for research since July 2018.
"I believe Lisa has been highly effective and successful in the VP role," said Cockett. "She is analytic, data-driven, sets goals, and has a strong research background that is respected by our faculty and students—all great attributes for a research vice president."
The vice president for research oversees 11 divisions, each working to support the university's mission and strategic goals. Those divisions include compliance support (like human and animal subjects research and environmental health and safety), strategic growth (like proposal development and technology transfer) and student research. The position is part of the president's executive committee.
"To help me make this decision, I reached out to USU administrators, as well as Office of Research staff, to ask their opinion about how to move forward with the position—to name her as VPR, continue her as interim, or conduct an internal or national search for the position," said Cockett.
Overwhelmingly, the feedback Cockett received recommended moving forward with naming Berreau as vice president for research.
"Lisa had incredibly strong support from her employees and colleagues alike," said Cockett. "Her administrative colleagues cited her leadership and collaborative abilities, and her employees highly praised the care and concern she had for them."
Berreau has been at USU since 1998 and has served in USU administrative positions since 2005, as associate dean and interim dean in the College of Science, and then in her positions within the Office of Research.
Even during her administrative service, Berreau has maintained an active and successful research program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Trained as an inorganic chemist, Berreau currently studies, among other things, the beneficial properties of carbon monoxide and its potential as a therapeutic.
In her work, Berreau has been active in student engagement, having mentored 18 graduate students and 52 undergraduate students. Her research laboratory is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the American Heart Association.
Berreau has been a leader in bringing new research instrumentation to the USU campus, recently spearheading efforts that resulted in NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grants for new nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray crystallography instruments.
Berreau is well regarded in the field, having been named a fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2019 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2016. She has 83 peer-reviewed publications, which have been cited nearly 2,400 times. She has received over $3.5 million in sponsored research funding and has one patent.
In her career, Berreau received the prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and has been recognized in the College of Science as the Faculty Researcher of the Year in 2019.
"Lisa's mind is truly remarkable in her ability to move from her active program of research, to mentoring students, faculty, and staff, to dealing with complex budgetary and regulatory matters," said Alexa Sand, associate vice president for research. "I have not learned so much in such a short period of time as I have learned working with Lisa in the past year since I was a graduate student just embarking on my academic career."
In her time in the Office of Research, Berreau has moved forward several high-priority initiatives.
Research Landscapes, a major USU outreach initiative, is continuing forward under Berreau's leadership, and additional changes are underway for other research communication programs.
Berreau has also done significant work to determine steps USU can take to increase USU's Carnegie-assigned research ranking from R2 to R1.
She has also coordinated USU's research response to COVID-19 and has served on the central committee to address next steps forward in the coming months.
"I feel that Lisa is doing an exceptional job, and she's leading a good team in the Office of Research," said Blake Tullis, interim associate vice president for research. "With her in the position on a permanent basis, we'll produce positive and effective outcomes for USU."
"I'm incredibly eager to continue our work in the Office of Research," said Berreau. "It's a privilege to work with such a strong team of great people."
Berreau says her leadership values include excellence, clear and open communication, a people-first perspective, feedback and collaboration, and data-driven decision making.
"I hope to continue to help move research forward for everyone," said Berreau. "By listening to the unique needs and situations of all our researchers—those who do human subjects research, lab work, field work, creative activity, or anything else—we'll be able to work together to create better systems and better ways of doing our research."
The mission of USU’s Office of Research is to facilitate a culture of excellence in research, scholarship and creative activity that spans the lifecycle of faculty and students through operational, training, funding and compliance support.