Anand Jagota, a professor of biochemistry engineering and biomolecular engineering, is the new Vice Provost for Research, replacing his predecessor, Alan Snyder, who held the role for 10 years.
Jagota said Snyder wanted to change the structure of the provost role in three main ways: one change is to have candidates examined internally instead of externally, another was changing the title from vice president to vice provost and reporting directly to Provost Nathan Urban, and the last is to have the vice provost still be active in personal research.
“The balance and ability to keep my own research while still helping research at Lehigh was important to me,” Jagota said.
He said most professors at Lehigh are involved in research, either on their own or alongside colleagues and students.
Jagota said he must actively understand the needs of researchers on campus.
“The role is to establish conditions that will encourage high quality, high impact research at Lehigh,” Jagota said.
Part of the process of completing research are the grants that are associated with the various disciplines professors and students study. Urban said Jagota is tasked with supporting faculty in writing complex grants that bring the most resources to Lehigh.
Jagota said as the university expands, research systems and operations are evolving. This is heavily due to growing interdisciplinary research and larger class sizes. Undergraduate and graduate students can take on extensive research projects now that more funding is available.
Urban said as part of the university expansion, they have hired a record number of new faculty.
Lehigh’s new College of Health, which opened last spring, will act as one of the university’s hubs for both undergraduate and graduate research initiatives.
“The new HST building is a big investment that has a lot (of) research space with more collaborative spaces that will hopefully bring people together in ways that help them do larger, more impactful interdisciplinary projects,” Urban said.
In order to remain a competitive university and institution, Jagota said it is important that those conducting research observe the emerging themes that encompass high quality research with high quality teaching and learning.
Jagota and Urban said one core tenet of research at Lehigh is to have an impact on society.
“We need to do a better job communicating within the Lehigh community and to the outside world what we are doing in terms of research and what the impact is,” Urban said.
Jagota will be advising projects such as the research being done by Sara Weisman, ‘23.
Weisman is conducting preliminary research on mental health in hopes of making that topic the focus of her senior thesis.
“The professors and advisors make it easy to get the help and resources that I need,” Weisman said. “Before I decided what I was doing, I was able to get all of my questions answered and attend various (information) sessions to see what the research I would be doing would look like.”
Jagota said he is eager to see the development of research in his new role both institutionally and beyond.
“The most exciting thing is to watch the next chapter, how that develops, how we compete with other institutions that we admire,” Jagota said.