The day-to-day functions of the University of Missouri System’s Research and Economic Development office have not been impacted by the four-month vacancy in the vice president for research and economic development position, said Scott Uhlmann, director of intellectual property administration.
In 2005, former UM President Elson Floyd created the position, and appointed John Gardner. Floyd left for Washington State University in April and is creating a similar position at the school for Gardner.
UM Interim System President Gordon Lamb has interviewed candidates to replace Gardner, said his Chief of Staff David Russell. Lamb has not decided whether he will appoint an interim vice president or hire someone permanently.
“We want to find a permanent individual to keep the momentum of the position going,” Russell said. “It is a matter of timing and the availability of the candidates.”
Russell also said the office has not suffered because of the vacant position. He said progress on mid-Missouri’s first agriculture and industrial research park, Discovery Ridge, has been going as planned. He also said the intellectual property office is continuing to process cases as normal.
He said the main area Gardner’s position focuses on is “maintaining relationships with state and local development agencies.”
At the state level, Gregory Steinhoff, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said he has not noticed declines in UM system development but that it has “plateaued.”
“We are not sliding back but everything is just put on hold,” Steinhoff said.
He is pleased with Lamb’s “thorough and thoughtful” search process. He said it is better find the right candidate then to rush and hire the wrong person.
Steinhoff‘s ideal candidate has “experience in facilitating new discoveries in a university setting and converting them into a commercial arena.”
Russell said there is not time table for the search, and the president has not decided if he will continue to look at applications and conduct interviews.