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NCSA Director named U of I vice president for economic development and innovation

NCSA Director Edward Seidel has been named vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System, pending Board of Trustees approval, President Tim Killeen announced Monday. Seidel has served since August as interim vice president for research, a position that has been restructured and retitled to reflect the U of I System’s focus on fostering innovation to help drive the state’s economy through research and discovery.

Killeen said Seidel’s leadership over the last eight months has helped advance several new initiatives, such as working with executives of leading Illinois companies to develop collaborative research projects that will serve their businesses and lift the state’s economy. A longtime administrator and award-winning researcher, Seidel will lead an office that works with the System’s three universities to help harness their nearly $1 billion per year sponsored-research portfolio for technology commercialization and economic development activities.

“Ed’s personal experience with leading-edge research and with federal and international agencies—combined with his deep understanding of the U of I System’s capabilities and aspirations—has given him a rock-solid foundation for success,” Killeen said. “He’s off to a flying start.”

Seidel served since 2013 as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Seidel retained the title of NCSA director while serving as interim vice president, while Dr. William “Bill” Gropp took on the role of acting director. Gropp, the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science and director of the Parallel Computing Institute in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, will continue to serve as interim director until a permanent NCSA director is named.

“NCSA congratulates Vice President Seidel on this well-earned appointment,” Gropp said. “It has been an honor co-leading and planning a vibrant and innovative future for NCSA. As interim director, I am looking forward to continuing to work with Ed, in his new role, as we advance new opportunities for the University of Illinois and NCSA.”

Seidel’s appointment as director three years ago marked a return to NCSA, where he once led the center’s numerical relativity group from 1991-96. He also was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign. He also is a Founder Professor in the Department of Physics and a professor in the Department of Astronomy at Illinois.

“It has been an honor leading NCSA during this exciting period,” said Seidel. “I am proud of what the center’s team has done to keep NCSA in a prominent national leadership position with projects like Blue Waters, XSEDE, LSST, the Midwest Big Data Hub, the National Data Service, and many others. I am also pleased to have helped NCSA move in directions that better leverage the great strengths of the university, in creating the world’s most advanced integrated cyberinfrastructure environment, in making it a home for transdisciplinary research and education programs at Illinois, and in enhancing NCSA’s industry program. As I take on new challenges with the U of I system, I look forward to continuing as a member of NCSA’s faculty, and to working with Bill as he and the team take NCSA to new heights in the future.”

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