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Deborah Crawford, PhD

Vice Chancellor for Research

Biography

Deborah Crawford was appointed to the role of Vice Chancellor for Research for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in August 2020.

Crawford leads UT Knoxville’s research as a member of the chancellor’s cabinet, with responsibility for developing and implementing research plans, building innovation partnerships, and raising the university’s national and international reputation. She also works closely with the provost and partners at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to oversee the proposed Oak Ridge Institute.

Prior to coming to UT, Crawford served as vice president for research, innovation and economic impact at George Mason University where she was responsible for coordinating and overseeing the full range of the university’s research, innovation and economic development programs. Under her leadership, George Mason launched three university-wide research institutes and four research centers. Crawford also developed the institution’s innovation place-making strategy to promote inclusive economic growth in the Northern Virginia region.

Crawford spent two years as the president and executive director of the International Computer Science Institute, a not-for-profit research institution in Berkeley, California, and four years as the senior vice provost for research at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She worked at the National Science Foundation for 17 years, where she held a number of executive leadership positions and where she served as the agency’s liaison to the National Science and Technology Council, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Institutes of Health. Her leadership contributions at NSF were recognized twice with Presidential Rank Awards in 2006 (Meritorious Service) and 2010 (Distinguished Service).

Crawford’s research contributions were in high-speed optical and optoelectronic systems in work done at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the University of California Santa Barbara and AT&T Bell Laboratories. 

She has a PhD in Information Systems Engineering from the University of Bradford and a BS (Honors) in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, both in the UK.


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