Higher education

University of Iowa research vice president stepping down

Former Microsoft executive will stay on as UI professor

Dan Reed, vice president for research and economic development at the University of Iowa, will be stepping down this fal
Dan Reed, vice president for research and economic development at the University of Iowa, will be stepping down this fall, UI President Bruce Harreld said Thursday. (Gazette file photo)

IOWA CITY — The former Microsoft vice president who for the past five years has led the University of Iowa’s research and economic development endeavors will step down from that leadership role this fall.

UI President Bruce Harreld announced Dan Reed’s change in a universitywide message Thursday, citing a recent health event as contributing to Reed’s decision.

In addition to his vice president post, Reed is University Computational Science and Bioinformatics Chair and professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering, and he will remain with the UI in those roles.

His time as vice president will end once Harreld names an interim replacement, which the president said in his message Thursday will happen soon — after he consults with academic leaders and members of shared governance.

Going forward, Harreld said, Reed plans to focus his time and energy on national research and competitiveness policy and on developing new directions in computer and computational science “given the uncertain times for federal research and scholarship support.”

Reed told The Gazette he hopes to pursue some of that national advocacy through his roles as chair of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee and on the steering committee for the National Science Foundation’s Midwest Big Data Hub.

Reed also serves on the National Academies Technical Advisory Board for the Army Research Laboratory. He’s previously served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the Federal Communications Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee, and the National Archives Electronic Records Advisory Committee.


During his time as a UI Vice President, Reed has advocated for and propelled innovation in research, economic collaboration, and new funding avenues. The university, with Reed at the helm, has seen an overall increase in external research dollars: it reported total external funding at $557.7 million for 2017, up from $551.9 million the previous year.

That increase was driven largely by bumps in non-federal support — including from industry and corporate partners and from state and local governments — in light of decreases in federal research funding. The UI in 2017 brought in $224.4 million from federal sources for research and scholarship, compared with $240.3 million in 2016.

Reed recently has advocated for changes at the state and legislative level that could expand research and innovation and, perhaps, generate more revenue. His suggested changes include allowing public universities to promise more privacy of confidential, proprietary information to potential outside partners. He’s also urged the state to provide more “early-stage risk capital and investment.”

He has paved the way for more innovation and product development on and around the campus — among his proudest accomplishments, he told The Gazette.

Harreld, in his message, praised Reed for the knowledge, skill set and passion he brought to the job, “making it his mission to highlight and expand the tremendous work of our research community.”

“I’ve appreciated his keen intellect and curiosity, as well as his wise counsel,” Harreld wrote. “On behalf of the university, I thank him for his dedicated service, and I look forward to his future contributions.”

Before coming to Iowa for the vice presidency in 2012, Reed served as a former corporate vice president and technology policy leader at Microsoft, founding director of the North Carolina Renaissance Computing Institute, and department head and director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois.

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