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Local

Gerald Blazey tapped to lead NIU research and innovation

Gerald Blazey
Gerald Blazey

Following a national search for a new vice president of the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships, Northern Illinois University has selected one of its own.

President Doug Baker has announced the appointment of NIU physicist Gerald Blazey of Kaneville to the post. Pending approval from the NIU Board of Trustees, the appointment will be effective May 16. Blazey has been serving as interim vice president of the division for the past two years.

“We had excellent candidates, but Dr. Blazey’s scholarly research, career accomplishments, experience working in our nation’s capital and understanding of the federal funding process well prepare him for this role,” said Baker in a news release, adding that he’s grateful for the work of the search committee.

The Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships encourages research, scholarship, artistry and entrepreneurship across the campus by promoting professional development; facilitating the submission of grants and contracts; and seeking collaborations with community, government, business, industrial and scientific partners to address educational, economic, entrepreneurial and research challenges.

“This is an important leadership position on our campus,” Baker said. “NIU is a nationally recognized public research university, with faculty expertise that benefits our region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields. We feel Dr. Blazey is uniquely qualified to lead and strengthen NIU’s research, scholarship, artistry and innovation profile.”

Blazey holds a Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from the University of Minnesota. He joined the NIU faculty in 1996 after working at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, according to the release.

At NIU, he helped establish and has served as co-director of the Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development. In 2000, Blazey was awarded NIU’s Presidential Research Professorship, the university’s highest honor for outstanding research, stated the release. He also served two terms as elected co-spokesperson for Fermilab’s international DZero collaboration, among the world’s premier experiments in particle physics.

From 2007 to 2014, Blazey took on intergovernmental personnel assignments in Washington, D.C. He served as a senior policy advisor at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the U.S. president, where he was involved with the development of budgets for the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy. He also has worked with the DOE Office of Science, serving as program manager of the International Linear Collider Program, according to the release.

“My strategic vision for increasing the quantity and quality of NIU scholarship and innovation incorporates three general tactics: direct investment in individuals and research groups; partnerships with regional institutions; and reduction of policy impediments,” Blazey said in the release.

During his interim service, Blazey has made significant strides toward his goals. He has worked with colleagues across the university to deepen NIU collaborations with Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory; to establish a research concentration in physics that has attracted substantial external funding; to expand student-learning opportunities through partnerships with companies such as IDEAL Industries; and to modernize the university’s system of federal grant distributions to maximize the beneficial impact on NIU researchers, stated the release.

“I’m honored by the trust of President Baker and the search committee,” Blazey said. “I will do my best to promote research, scholarship and artistry across campus and to expand our collaborations throughout the region.”

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