Auburn University names Steve Taylor as the senior vice president for research and economic development

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Steve Taylor has been named as Auburn University’s senior vice president for research and economic development, President Christopher B. Roberts announced today.

Taylor has served as the interim dean of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering since April 2022. Taylor will begin his new position on June 1.

As Auburn’s chief research officer, Taylor will report directly to the president and be responsible for all aspects of research, scholarship and economic development across the university.

“One of my goals for Auburn is to further elevate our research and creative scholarship in order to secure and sustain a leadership position among the nation’s transformative universities,” Roberts said. “As I said at my installation ceremony, Auburn has earned the right to dream the biggest dreams. I know we have the ability and capability to do more. I look forward to working with Dr. Taylor as we thoughtfully expand our research enterprise.”

The senior vice president for research and economic development also serves as president of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation and provides leadership to various research and economic development units, including sponsored programs, proposal services and faculty support, contracts and grants accounting, research compliance, the university veterinarian, research security compliance, electronic research administration, the IP exchange, external engagement and support and university-based start-ups.

“In my 34 years at Auburn, I have been able to work with others to build collaborative programs across the university,” Taylor said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to lead Auburn’s research programs by continuing to build those collaborative relationships and help secure the resources that faculty, staff and students need to be successful. I believe that the time is right for Auburn University to make major advances in its research and innovation enterprise while also serving our region as an important engine of economic development.”

Prior to serving as interim dean, Taylor served as the Ginn College of Engineering’s associate dean for research, the head of the Department of Biosystems Engineering, where he is a tenured professor, and the director of the Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts.

As the Ginn College of Engineering’s associate dean for research, Taylor led significant growth in the college’s annual external funding that saw nearly $300 million in new research contracts awarded during the past five years. During this period, he facilitated the creation of the Auburn University Applied Research Institute and Auburn University Transportation Research Institute and he helped secure funding for several new research facilities such as Auburn’s Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory. Additionally, he led the efforts to acquire and operationalize the university’s Research and Innovation Campus in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park.

Taylor holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural engineering from the University of Florida and a doctorate in the same discipline from Texas A&M.

James Weyhenmeyer announced in February that he would step down from the vice president of research and economic development role to take his tenured professorship in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“I want to thank Dr. Weyhenmeyer for his hard work and commitment to advancing Auburn’s research and economic development initiatives,” Roberts said. “I am incredibly grateful for Jim’s contributions.”

As previously announced, Mario Eden, the Joe T. and Billie Carole McMillan Professor and the chair of Auburn’s Department of Chemical Engineering, was named the dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering on April 14. Eden will begin his appointment on May 15.

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.