RICHARDSON, Texas (Oct. 11, 2005) – In a move that University of Texas at Dallas President Dr. David E. Daniel said was designed to reach out to potential business partners and help establish UTD as a “legitimate tier one” national research institution, Daniel today appointed a senior administrator, Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, to a new position responsible for expanding the university’s burgeoning research program, increasing collaborative work with government agencies, corporations and other universities and speeding the transfer of ideas from UTD laboratories to the marketplace.
Feng was named the university’s first vice president for research and economic development and will report directly to Daniel. Feng has served as vice president for research and graduate education at UTD, reporting to the executive vice president and provost, for the past five years.
“This is much more than simply a change in title. Dr. Feng now is empowered to focus all of his time and energy on bringing vastly larger research dollars to UTD and, equally important, transforming the university into an economic engine for the North Texas region by taking the fruits of that research to the community,” Daniel said. “I can’t think of a better talent to perform this new strategic role at UTD than Da Hsuan Feng, with his exceedingly high energy level, his wealth of ideas and his high-level contacts in government, business and higher education, both in the United States and internationally.”
Since assuming the UTD presidency on June 1, Daniel on numerous occasions has pointed out that the Dallas-Fort Worth area is the only one of the top 20 major urban areas in the U.S. not to have an AAU research university – an institution that is one of the 62 elite members of the American Association of Universities, the nation’s “club” of the most powerful research universities. He has argued that the Metroplex will need several such universities to remain competitive in the global economy of the 21st century.
“Feng has already moved the needle in a big way at UTD, helping to put the university on the national and international map as a serious research institution in a growing number of academic disciplines, and I am confident that given the latitude of his new position he will initiate even more innovative advances,” Daniel said, explaining that Feng was now the university’s “go-to person on research from an external standpoint.”
“I very much appreciate Dr. Daniel’s confidence in my ability to expand the research program and related activities at UTD,” said Feng. “I do not underestimate the difficulty of elevating UTD to the status of a nationally recognized, comprehensive research university. However, the right mix of strengths – an outstanding leadership team, faculty, staff, students and facilities – is in place to accomplish that task over time. Focused action, not talk, will get the job done – and I plan to engage in plenty of that in the coming months.”
Daniel praised Feng’s contributions to the university over the past five years, which have included recruiting two Nobel laureates to the UTD faculty, helping to build an internationally respected nanotechnology research program from scratch and forming successful research alliances with other universities in Texas, throughout the U.S. and in a number of other countries. One example, the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology, a consortium of six Texas universities including UTD, has generated funding of nearly $30 million since its founding in 2002.
During Feng’s tenure at UTD, the amount of research awards has risen significantly, from $21.2 million four years ago to $37.3 million in the most recent academic year. However, the university has aspirations to join the ranks of the AAU “tier one” institutions of higher education, which often are defined as those that bring in $100 million or more in grants annually.
By the end of 2006, UTD’s research capacity will increase significantly with the completion of an $85-million Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory on the north end of campus.
While Feng devoted some of his time in the past to graduate education, in his new position he will focus entirely on the UTD research enterprise. Among his new duties will be helping recruit outstanding senior-level faculty, promote cross-disciplinary research in areas when many exciting discoveries are being made and marketing UTD’s research capabilities.
“The purpose of research is to make an impact by contributing not just economically, but to overall societal advancement,” said Daniel. “Going forward, UTD intends to be even more impactful in its research efforts.”
Daniel said that by reporting to the president, Feng would compliment Daniel’s own work to foster a deeper relationship with the community, including business.
Feng is a prominent theoretical physicist with notable achievements in the areas of international affairs, government service, business entrepreneurship and public education. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Drew University and master's and Ph.D. degrees in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Minnesota.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.