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MU Vice Chancellor for Research Takes Position at Texas Tech

October 11th, 2013

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— University of Missouri Provost Brian Foster announced today that Rob Duncan, vice chancellor for research at MU, will leave his position to become the vice president for research at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Duncan will begin his position at Texas Tech on Jan. 1, 2014.

“I leave with a very heavy heart since I love MU and Missouri; wherever I go, I will always be a Missourian.” Duncan said. “MU is an excellent ‘Tier 1’ research university with outstanding faculty and staff; many of its research and academic programs are among the very best in the world. MU’s relationship with the city of Columbia is very strong, and this affords it opportunities to contribute to society in ways that many other universities envy.  I profoundly thank Provost Foster and Chancellor Deaton for the outstanding opportunity to serve on their leadership team and to contribute in a positive way to this wonderful place. We need more excellent universities like MU across the United States, and I am exhilarated to have the opportunity to help build Texas Tech into one of Texas’ major public research universities under the leadership of their stellar president,  Duane Nellis.”

As vice chancellor for research, Duncan is responsible for the research enterprise at Missouri’s flagship university. Since his appointment in 2008, MU researchers have filed 365 patents and signed more than 225 options and licenses for new technologies developed at the university. Last year, MU researchers’ expenditures for work on federally funded grants and contracts exceeded $250 million.

Duncan is also responsible for the management of MU’s major research facilities, including the MU Research Reactor (the largest university research reactor in the nation), multiple interdisciplinary research centers, and MU’s economic development and technology incubation efforts.

“It is hard to enumerate Rob’s many contributions to MU, the broader Columbia community, his home state of Missouri, and in fact, the nation during his tenure here,” Foster said. “We wish him well as he begins a new and exciting life at Texas Tech University.

During his tenure at MU, Duncan created and attracted funding for the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance, a consortium of MU scientists studying low energy nuclear reactions (LENR); helped attract funding from the Coulter Foundation to initiate a research partnership that helps scientists move their discoveries from the lab to the marketplace faster; founded CLIMB, an organization that pairs student inventors with entrepreneurs to encourage the start-up and growth of businesses; and was instrumental in organizing an MU Research and Development Advisory Board.

“Rob has brought strong national leadership to this position and has found innovative ways to enable science to fuel economic enterprise in ways that further job creation in the local and state economy,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. “We wish him and Annie the very best as they move to Texas.”

Duncan attracted the International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science to the Mizzou campus for the first time and facilitated research agreements with educational institutions around the world, promoting research collaboration in many fields, including nanomedicine and nanotechnology. In 2009, Duncan served as an expert for CBS’ 60 Minutes for a story on low energy nuclear reactions.

Having published extensively in low temperature physics, Duncan has conducted research that has provided critical information for future NASA missions. He has worked to fund major conferences and summer schools in quantitative biology, information science, and technology, energy and environment, and astrophysics and cosmology. To date, he has received more than $8 million in funding for research efforts he has led as principal investigator.

Duncan received his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT in 1982 and his doctorate of physics from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1988. Before coming to MU, He served as a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, then as a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of New Mexico (UNM) where he earned tenure, as a joint associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNM, and as the associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNM. He was the founding director of the New Mexico Consortium’s Institute within Los Alamos National Laboratory immediately prior to joining MU in 2008.

Duncan is a fellow and life member of the American Physical Society (APS).

Rob Hall, associate vice chancellor for research/director of compliance, will serve as interim vice chancellor for research, beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Hall has been at MU since 1977 and in MU’s Office of Research since 2000.