Michael Pazzani, UCR’s vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development, plans to retire in April after more than six years in the role.
In an email to the campus this month announcing Pazzani’s decision, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said Pazzani will leave with “an impressive legacy of an expanded research enterprise at UC Riverside.”
Under Pazzani’s leadership, research grants and contracts have increased more than 68 percent in the past five years, while the campus has had the highest number of National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development awards in the UC system, Wilcox said.
“Much of our rising national prominence and research excellence are in large measure due to Michael’s leadership,” the chancellor said. “At UCR, he has overseen the growth of our research funding to historic levels.”
Wilcox said the university will conduct a national search for his replacement with more details regarding the process and transition to be provided in the coming weeks.
Pazzani, 60, a professor of computer science and engineering, said he felt the timing was right to make a change. He noted that he’s held leadership positions at UCR and Rutgers University, his previous employer, for 13 years, “which is how long one goes through K-12.”
While he’s enjoyed the work, Pazzani said the schedule can be hectic.
“In the next few years, I plan do a little more life and little less work,” he said.
Pazzani noted he's especially proud of securing increased research funding for projects such as UCR's Citrus Experiment Station and also helping to establish a California Air Resources Board research and testing facility on campus. His division has also played an important role in supporting economic development in Riverside with projects such as the ExCITE Riverside incubator.
Pazzani describes his role as a catalyst and credits faculty for its role, saying he's enjoyed meeting and working with faculty from a variety of disciplines.
“Riverside has the friendliest faculty I’ve ever worked with — smart, creative, energetic faculty,” he said.
Pazzani will retain his emeritus faculty position and continue his research on explainable machine learning.
Prior to joining UCR, Pazzani was vice president of Research and Economic Development at Rutgers University for seven years. He’s also served as director of the Information and Intelligent Systems Division at the National Science Foundation and chief executive officer and co-founder of AdaptiveInfo.
Pazzani was chair of information and computer science at UC Irvine from 1995 to 2000 and a professor at the university from 1988 to 2005.