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Contact: Christine Payton JULY 12, 2010
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
Dr. Robert Twilley, associate vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development at LSU, has been named the vice president for Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He replaces Dr. Robert Stewart who retired last Fall. He is expected to start in August pending approval from the UL System Board of Supervisors.

Twilley will oversee the office of research and many of UL Lafayette’s research centers and economic development enterprises. An analysis of National Science Foundation research and development expenditures by public universities in Louisiana ranked UL Lafayette as having the second highest research expenditures in the state with $58.6 mllion.

The university has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Research University with High Research Activity.” That puts UL Lafayette in the same category as institutions such as the University of Oklahoma, Clemson University, Auburn University and Mississippi State. Earlier this year, a study by The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government named UL Lafayette one of the Top 100 public research universities in the nation.

“ Dr. Twilley is a respected scholar and scientist who also has extensive administrative experience. I’m confident that he will be a strong leader who will help UL Lafayette continue its development as a top research university in the nation,” said UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie.

Twilley is no stranger to campus. He founded the Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology at UL Lafayette in 1999 and served as its director until 2004. He also was a professor in the Biology Department from 1986 to 2004.

“ I look forward to learning fresh ideas on how to expand the research enterprise at UL Lafayette. Now more than ever, higher education and specifically research universities are challenged to provide use-inspired basic research across the arts, humanities, sciences, engineering and economic development to build a more sustainable landscape for both energy and the environment,” he said.

“ By focusing on the research initiatives described in its strategic planning process for years 2010 to 2015, UL Lafayette can lead in linking the challenges facing our region and our nation. Lafayette as a community and UL Lafayette as a university represent strong partners in promoting innovation and scholarship. I look forward to building the UL Lafayette Research Park complex and other centers of excellence as we solve problems that will sustain both economic and environmental resources for future generations.”

Most recently, Twilley was associate vice chancellor in the Office of Research and Economic Development at LSU. He also served as a professor in LSU’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences and was director of its Shell Coastal Environmental Modeling Lab and Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute.

In 2000, the UL Lafayette Foundation honored Twilley as a Distinguished Professor. LSU recognized him as the Distinguished Professor in Louisiana Environmental Studies in 2005.

He is a member of the Ecological Society of America and the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

His professional activities include serving as a panel member for the National Research Council’s committee on Independent Scientific Review of the Everglades Restoration Progress and chair of the Technology Review Panel for Morganza to Gulf Hurricane Protection for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities.

Since 2007, he has been a member of the technical advisory committee for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Coastal/Estuarine Research Program, which he presently chairs. Twilley also is on the rapid response team for the Ecological Society of America and the framework development team for the Louisiana Coastal Restoration Comprehensive Plan.

He’s served on several editorial boards for scientific journals and has briefed Senate and House congressional committees and staffers on several occasions.

Twilley has published more than 110 journal articles and book chapters. He co-edited The Biogeochemistry of Gulf of Mexico Estuaries in 1999 and in 2001 was the lead author of Confronting Climate Change in the Gulf Coast Region: Prospects for Sustaining Our Ecological Heritage. In 2002, he co-authored a report by the Pew Center for Global Climate Change entitled Coastal and Marine Ecosystems and Global Climate Change.

Twilley studied biology at East Carolina University, where he received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in plant ecology/system ecology and did post doctoral work at the University of Maryland.

Some areas of his research and expertise include wetland ecology, systems ecology, habitat loss, restoration and modeling.

Document last revised Monday, July 12, 2010 4:58 PM

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