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Robert Nobles


FY16 Annual Report (cover)The Office of Research and Engagement’s fiscal year 2016 data reveals an increasingly competitive world for federal funding. Despite this, our work with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy remains strong, and we continue to grow our National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense portfolios. There are many efforts under way to expand our funding base, some of which are highlighted in the “What We Do Well” section of this report.

At the heart of all we do are the students. At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, we have an active community of undergraduate researchers that has shown exponential growth since FY2014. This year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EURēCA) with 247 poster presentations from departments across campus. 

More eyes are turning to UT and East Tennessee for innovations in advanced manufacturing and materials research. Appointments made through the UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chairs program in the areas of advanced manufacturing and advanced materials indicate the university’s commitment to becoming a powerhouse in these fields.

Our faculty and staff competed successfully for $154 million in externally sponsored research awards in FY2016, up 3.1 percent from FY2015. This $4.8 million increase continues a three-year growth pattern that we foresee extending into FY2017. Also continuing to trend upward was the average total amount received per award, which increased from $165,000 in FY2015 to $169,000 in FY2016.

Looking ahead, we continue to contemplate strategic opportunities and diversify our sources of funding. We look forward to the exciting research discoveries that lie ahead.

Robert Nobles II, DrPH, MPH, CIP
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement


Robert Nobles, associate vice chancellor for research, has been named interim vice chancellor for research and engagement effective September 1.

Vice Chancellor Taylor Eighmy will leave the university at the end of the month to become president of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Robert is well qualified to help us continue the great momentum for increasing research grants and contracts, strengthening our partnerships, and supporting the research, creative activity, and outreach efforts of our faculty and students. He brings great knowledge, passion, and optimism to the role and has worked closely within the division and across the university around many important matters,” said Chancellor Beverly Davenport in a message sent Wednesday to the campus community.
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