Gerald Blazey named interim VP for research

Gerald C. Blazey. Credit: Fermilab
Gerald C. Blazey. Credit: Fermilab

An internationally prominent scientist with extensive experience in experimental particle physics who previously advised the White House from within the Office of Science and Technology Policy has a new role at NIU.

Gerald Blazey, a Distinguished Research Professor of physics at NIU, is the new interim vice president of the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships.

“Jerry has a very impressive record in research as well as administrative experience at the national level,” said NIU President Doug Baker. “My thanks to the search committee, chaired by Jim Ciesla, who managed the review process for three strong candidates.”

Blazey became the division’s acting associate vice president late last year, taking responsibility for the operations of the Office of Research and Compliance and Integrity.

Members of the search committee cited Blazey’s “impressive track record of scholarly work, including competitively awarded extramural research funding and large scale collaborative research projects.”

He also “exhibited a sophisticated understanding of the external funding processes, the priorities of research funding and grant making organizations, collaborative research endeavors that could involve NIU faculty from many disciplines.”

“Jerry Blazey is uniquely qualified to serve NIU as the interim vice president for Research and Innovation Partnerships. He brings to the position not only the perspective of a productive NIU faculty member, but also significant experience building national laboratory partnerships and developing federal research programs and policies,” Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman said.

The physicist has received federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) – for which he also served on review committees or panels – as well as from the Department of Defense and Department of Education.

During his assignment at the Office of Science and Technology in the Executive Office of the President from 2011 to 2014, he was closely involved with development of President Obama’s budget for NSF and DOE.

Photo of the word "research" in the dictionaryNIU’s vice president for research “has a crucial role advancing the mission of the university and must support the individual researcher while building teams and collaborations across units and with other institutions,” Blazey said. “Such activity is greatly rewarding. I believe I have the experience, skills, and aptitude to build on the division’s momentum.”

The Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships encourages research, scholarship, artistry and entrepreneurship across campus by:

  • promoting the professional development of faculty and graduate students;
  • facilitating the submission of grants and contracts; and
  • seeking connections to accelerate the creation, integration and application of new knowledge.

Blazey has enjoyed a stellar career at NIU.

He joined the faculty in 1996 after earning a reputation as a top scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia. At NIU, he helped establish and has served as co-director of the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development (NICADD).

In 2000, he was awarded NIU’s Presidential Research Professorship, the university’s highest honor for outstanding research. He later was named NIU presidential science adviser, a position charged with assisting university leadership in the development of scientific initiatives, coordinating the university’s work with federal laboratories and expanding research into the medical applications of accelerator physics.

Outside the university, Blazey has served two terms as co-spokesperson for Fermilab’s international DZero collaboration, among the world’s premier experiments in particle physics.

In 2007, he began a three-year Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, where he served as program manager of the International Linear Collider Program in the Office of High Energy Physics.

Blazey is a member of the Public Policy Committee of the American Physical Society and of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cockcroft Institute.

He holds a Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from the University of Minnesota.

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