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New vice chancellor of research named

Thursday, June 19, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CDT; updated 12:41 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Robert Duncan

COLUMBIA — Robert Duncan has been named the new vice chancellor of research for MU. He will succeed former Vice Chancellor Jim Coleman, who left last year to become the vice provost of research at Rice University in Houston. Duncan will receive an annual salary of $195,000.

Duncan, 49, is currently the chief operating officer of the New Mexico Consortium, a group of three New Mexico universities that work together on grant-funded research.

“It’s wonderful to be back,” said Duncan, who was born and raised in St. Joseph and left in 1978 to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT in 1982. He then received his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert in low temperature physics and has done research for NASA.

Duncan also enjoys teaching. “As a faculty member, the best thing is seeing your students themselves excel, and one thing that is critical is for students to experience the thrill of innovation and discovery in their research,” he said.

“This is a big loss for us,” said Bernd Bassalleck, chairman of the physics and astronomy department at the University of New Mexico. “He is a highly respected experimentalist, and he loves to teach introductory physics and he is very good at it,”

Duncan also said he looks forward to working with the faculty at MU. “I’m very enthusiastic about working with them; they are a great group of people — just an outstanding faculty.”

The vice chancellor of research provides leadership for MU’s research endeavours. Last year MU received the highest amount of outside funding for research in its history with $189 million, according to a news release.

Duncan said he hopes to continue this promising trend.

“Research is a key component of economic development for the university, the community and the state,” MU Provost Brian Foster said in a press release issued Thursday.

The Office of Research oversees the Division of Sponsored Programs, Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations, Office of Animal Research and nine other research centers on campus.

Rob Hall has been serving as the interim vice chancellor of research since September, in addition to his position as the director of compliance.


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