New Associate Dean for Research and Innovation Announced

Efi Foufoula-Georgiou July 5, 2017 - UC Irvine Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Efi Foufoula-Georgiou will serve as the inaugural associate dean for research and innovation at the Samueli School of Engineering, effective Oct. 1, 2017.

The associate dean will be responsible for all aspects of the engineering school’s research enterprise, including oversight of school research centers and other auxiliary research operations. This new position enhances the research mission of the Samueli School by facilitating opportunities for extramural funding, fostering new research initiatives, improving the functionality and synergism of existing resources and elevating the school’s stature. Foufoula-Georgiou also will serve as a liaison and ambassador among the school, the UCI Office for Research and external stakeholders in industry and government.

“Having been part of the UCI family for a year now, and impressed with the dynamism, scholarly excellence and potential for unprecedented growth, I was honored to be asked to serve in this leadership position,” says Foufoula-Georgiou. She hopes that her presence on the school’s leadership team will have a lasting contribution as the school grows and hires new faculty and attracts more resources for cutting-edge research. She also plans to spearhead the growth of the school’s innovation ecosystem “not just in numbers of patents and spinoffs, but the whole pipeline, including public-private partnerships, student internships and externships.”

In her role, Foufoula-Georgiou plans to build a shared vision with faculty as the school continues its research and innovation pathway to excellence. She also will solicit input from faculty and staff on ways to improve research administration services, increase faculty research and development opportunities, and foster a culture of efficiency and pride in staff and faculty. ­

“The UCI School of Engineering has impressive pockets of excellence and many bright stars,” says Foufoula-Georgiou. “My sense however, is that there is significant room for bringing these pieces together for a much bigger whole. This cannot be accomplished with a top-down approach. It needs a bottom-up commitment by the faculty, a shared vision, and inspiration and leadership from the administration. Hiring the best, investing in young faculty, and inspiring senior faculty to be ambassadors, mentors and promoters of UCI’s excellence will be my top priority.”

Foufoula-Georgiou is one of the world’s foremost hydrologists and a leader in interdisciplinary research in hydrologic sciences and engineering. Her research contributions have spanned the areas of space-time precipitation variability, precipitation estimation from space, landform evolution and river network patterns and, more recently, coupled human-natural systems.

Foufoula-Georgiou, who joined the school’s faculty in 2016, has extensive experience in leading interdisciplinary research. She directed a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center, the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics – funded by $40 million over 10 years – which focused on understanding how landscapes and ecosystems co-evolve and how this knowledge could benefit watershed management and restoration.

– Lori Brandt