Chancellor Zimpher to Recommend Dr. Timothy Killeen as Research Foundation President and SUNY Vice Chancellor for Research

May 30, 2012

Albany – SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today announced that she is recommending Timothy Killeen, Ph.D. for the dual position of President of the Research Foundation (RF) and SUNY Vice Chancellor for Research, following an extensive national search process. Chancellor Zimpher’s recommendation is subject to approval by the Board of Directors of the RF and the SUNY Board of Trustees, both of whom have already been involved in the search and interview process. Killeen’s appointment is scheduled to become effective July 9, 2012.

Killeen is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has been the National Science Foundation’s Assistant Director for Geosciences since 2008. As head of one of the scientific directorates of the NSF, he has been a strong advocate for scientific research funding and high technology economic development, managing a funding portfolio of roughly $880 million, up from $750 million when he started.

“Tim Killeen and the leadership role he will play for both SUNY and the RF will advance our collaborative success and the strategic alignment our organizations have achieved over the past year,” said SUNY Chancellor and RF Board Chair Nancy L. Zimpher. “Tim’s extraordinary background and research experience uniquely qualify him for this oversight role in designing, directing, and expanding the footprint of SUNY’s research. I am confident his leadership will allow us to maximize the power of SUNY research across New York State.”

“SUNY’s widespread success in ground-breaking research activity and developing technologies depends greatly on the work and support of the Research Foundation,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “The appointment of an RF president who will also be a member of SUNY’s executive team marks greater collaboration among these two institutions, which is so critical to job growth and economic development in New York State, and especially on our campuses and in our classrooms. We look forward to having Dr. Killeen on board.”

“Research taking place in the wide variety of disciplines throughout the SUNY system  has an astounding impact on health, the environment, technology, education, and the economy, extending beyond  the state of New York, across the US and globally,” said Killeen. “I am thrilled by the prospect of joining the SUNY team and look forward to working with the administration and RF staff as well as the faculty and students on campuses across New York who drive SUNY’s discovery, innovation, job creation, and economic development.” 

In this dual position, Killeen will be paid an annual SUNY salary of $300,000, which will initially be reimbursed by the RF and will later be shared between RF and SUNY.

Chancellor Zimpher thanked RF Executive Vice President Bonny Boice for her service as acting president of the RF since May 2011. Ms. Boice will retain her position as executive vice president and will continue to play a key role in the organization’s mission to serve SUNY.

As president of the RF and SUNY vice chancellor for research, Killeen will be at the center of SUNY’s strategy for the growth of basic, translational, and clinical research. His interaction with campus presidents, provosts, vice presidents for research and economic development, deans, faculty, students and SUNY leadership will drive the implementation of innovative programs, initiatives, resources, policies, infrastructure, investment, and business practices that support SUNY research. 

Examples of innovative SUNY and RF strategic initiatives serving New York State include SUNY REACH, a program designed to foster collaborations among the life-sciences campuses; SUNY Energy, a parallel program designed to leverage research strengths in energy and sustainability; and the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF), which was created to support the development and commercialization of promising technologies emerging from SUNY campuses.

As President of the RF, Killeen will be the chief executive officer responsible for supervision and operation of the largest, most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country. The RF supports SUNY faculty to conduct sponsored research and commercialize technology, and facilitates the transfer and sharing of intellectual property that results from SUNY research. 

Additionally, Killeen will lead the newly-formed SUNY Research Council, an advisory body to the SUNY Board of Trustees, RF Board of Directors, SUNY Provost, and campus presidents. In its advisory capacity, the Council sets strategies that encourage and nurture research as one of the primary missions of SUNY, defines principles that govern research throughout the system, and examines research strengths and opportunities throughout SUNY. 

Killeen will also chair the Patent and Inventions Policy Board, which is charged with developing and interpreting SUNY’s intellectual property, commercialization objectives, and policies to encourage interfaces with industry and the advanced use of SUNY research for the public benefit in furtherance of SUNY’s strategic goals.

As RF President, Killeen will also appoint, oversee, and support the performance of RF operations managers who are charged with the management and growth of research at each of the 29 state-operated campuses and collaboratively across the SUNY system.

Killeen will report jointly to the RF Board of Directors and to SUNY’s Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost. As recommended by the joint task force and approved by both boards, this reporting structure ensures maximum access envisioned for this role, reflects SUNY’s strategic approach to fostering research and economic development across New York, and recognizes the critical role of the RF in service to SUNY.

Working together, SUNY and the RF have built a new and revitalized support structure for growing the capacity and collaborative productivity of SUNY research. In addition to this new post, the structure includes an expanded and diverse membership on the RF Board of Directors, newly-created Research-Supported Economic Development Committee, the SUNY Patents and Inventions Policy Board, and the SUNY Research Council.

Filling this dual position also completes a primary governance recommendation that resulted from a joint task force review of the SUNY/RF relationship. The Summary Report of the joint task force, released in November 2011, is available online.

About Timothy Killeen
Timothy Killeen has been the National Science Foundation’s Assistant Director for Geosciences since 2008. As head of one of the scientific directorates of the NSF, he manages a funding portfolio of roughly $880 million, up from $750 million when he started. Killeen also is Lyall Research Professor at the University of Colorado and, in 2007, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. From 2000-2008, Killeen served as director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), one of the premier atmospheric and climate-change research centers in the world and one of most-cited research centers in its fields.

He spent more than 20 years on the faculty and in the administration at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, including a term as Associate Vice President for Research. He has been the principal investigator on numerous theoretical and experimental investigations relating to atmospheric and space science, computing and information technology, and educational innovation, and has authored more than 150 publications in referred journals and 300 other publications, papers and conference proceedings.  

Killeen has led major strategic planning processes, including the development of the 10-year strategic plan for the $2.6 billion annual, 13- agency US Global Change Research Program, and has established several significant new programs including the Science, Engineering & Education for Sustainability (SEES) initiative. He has been active in promoting NSF’s  international programs, co-founding the Belmont Forum, which gathers representatives of leading government funding agencies worldwide (including NSF), to collaborate on global climate environmental change research. He has served on various White House Committees and Task Forces, testified frequently to Congress and the Executive branch, and is chair of IGFA, the 25 member International Group of Funding Agencies for global change research.

Killeen, a US citizen, grew up in Wales and completed his undergraduate and graduate education at University College London, earning his Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular Physics at the age of 23.

Killeen’s wife, Dr. Roberta Johnson, the executive director of the National Earth Science Teachers’ Association, has accepted a faculty position at the University at Albany in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

About the Research Foundation for SUNY
The Research Foundation exists to serve SUNY and to capitalize on the scope, scale and diversity of SUNY as an engine of New York State’s innovation economy. The Research Foundation supports nearly $1 billion in SUNY research activity annually, providing sponsored programs administration and commercialization support services to SUNY faculty performing research in life sciences and medicine; engineering and nanotechnology; physical sciences and energy; social sciences, and computer and information sciences. For more information, visit or follow the Research Foundation on Facebook at

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications