Nelson joins UT’s Office of Research and Engagement from her position as director of business development for the URS Corporation. She replaces Greg Reed, who has served as associate vice chancellor for research since 2007.
“I am extremely excited about the terrific opportunities that await me at UT, and I am looking forward to working closely with the Office of Research and Engagement team,” said Nelson. “It is clear that the faculty and staff here care deeply about developing and challenging the minds of our future generation of leaders, and it is a great honor to serve the university and community in building the research and scholarship programs.”
Reed announced his retirement earlier this year, but will first serve as interim head of the College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering while the college conducts a national search to lead the department.
The Office of Research and Engagement assists faculty with everything from research initiatives and grants to issues surrounding patents and intellectual property concerns.
As associate vice chancellor, Nelson will initially oversee three groups—the research development team, the faculty development team, and the research informatics group.
“We are delighted that we have added Janet to our team,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy. “She comes to us via a rigorous national search and brings great talent and relevant experience to the important job at hand. I look forward to her vision, energy, enthusiasm, and multidisciplinary collaborative approach in our research and scholarship development space.”
Nelson, who earned her doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1991, has broad research-related experience across academia, government, not-for-profit organizations, and industrial communities.
While at URS, she worked closely with faculty from the five core university partners of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in research development and strategic planning.
In addition to development and research roles at URS, she spent time as a fellow at the National Academy of Sciences, a deputy chief at the National Institutes of Health, and a fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, among other locations.
Nelson is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Society for Biological Engineering.
She has won numerous awards, including the 2013 URS President’s Award, the 2007 Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship, and the Dow Chemical Fellowship, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.
She and her husband, Bob Strang, have two daughters: Hannah, who works in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Cora, who will be starting third grade in Knoxville this fall.
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