AUSTIN, Texas—President Larry R. Faulkner of The University of Texas at Austin today (March 23) announced the appointment of Dr. Juan M. Sanchez as vice president for research.
Sanchez, 49, is a veteran researcher and author whose selection followed a nationwide search to fill a vacancy created last summer when Vice President for Research Marye Anne Fox left UT Austin to become chancellor of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Sanchez has been serving as interim vice president for research since Aug. 1.
Faulkner said he is delighted that Sanchez has agreed to accept the appointment on a permanent basis effective April 1. He said that during the past several years Sanchez has demonstrated skill, imagination and excellent judgment both as a principal officer and in a staff role in the Office of the Vice President for Research.
“He commands widespread respect for his effectiveness. I have high confidence in his ability to bring a new level of leadership on matters that affect the ability of this campus to carry out its research mission,” said Faulkner.
Faulkner said Sanchez will be responsible for fostering effective research and for maintaining healthy relationships with constituents that have strong connections to the University. He said further that “Sanchez is a productive and active participant in research. That places him in position to provide leadership from first-hand knowledge of the meaning and importance of research.”
UT Austin Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson said, “The selection of Dr. Juan Sanchez as vice president for research is outstanding. He brings rich personal experience to the tasks at hand. He has the necessary clear vision for University priorities. He knows well how to achieve these goals and is a pleasure to work with. As I say, outstanding.”
Dr. Mary Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, said Sanchez is a positive person with an ability to bring people together in a very good way.
“One thing Juan will bring to this job that is very exciting is that he has a real vision of what our Technology Licensing Office ought to be,” Rankin said. She said his involvement in working with the Texas Materials Institute also is a real plus for the University.
Sanchez, a native of Argentina, received his bachelor of science degree with a major in physics from the University of Cordoba, Argentina, in 1971. He received his M.S. in materials science from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1974. He holds the Temple Foundation Endowed Professorship #4 in the mechanical engineering department at UT Austin and has been chairman of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Materials Science and Engineering from 1993 to the present.
Prior to joining UT Austin in 1989, Sanchez was assistant professor (1981-85), associate professor (1985-87) and professor (1987-89) of materials science at Columbia University. He also was research associate (1977-79) at UCLA, visiting professor (1979) at the University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos, Brazil, and a research associate and lecturer (1980-81) at the University of California at Berkeley.
“I am truly honored by the opportunity extended by Dr. Larry Faulkner to serve The University as Vice President for Research,” Sanchez said. “The position is a major responsibility to my colleagues and the institution, but it is one that I accept enthusiastically.
“Research is a vital component of any great university and it must be properly nurtured. As chief advocate for research on campus I intend to work closely with faculty and deans to sustain research excellent and to ensure that we maintain an environment conducive to the highest quality of academic inquiry.
“We must also look to the future and position The University so that it can achieve its full potential during the next century. During this past year, Dr. Faulkner has laid out a comprehensive agenda for the institution as a whole and, in particular, for research. An important element of that agenda is to redefine and enhance the role of UT Austin in the development of the new Texas economy. I bring a strong sense of commitment towards achieving these goals and the confidence that by working closely and strategically with industry and other members of our community we can do more and we can do it better.
Sanchez is the author or co-author of 140 technical publications on a wide range of topics in materials science and engineering. His current research interests are in the electronic, thermodynamic and structural properties of materials, especially intermetallic compounds, magnetic and non-magnetic alloys, thin films and magnetic multilayers. His other interests include order-disorder theory, statistical thermodynamics, and modeling of phase diagrams using ab-initio electronic structure methods. He is interested in the development and application of first principles computational methods used in the construction of complex engineering materials phase diagrams. The research by Sanchez and his students has been sponsored primarily by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan.