Director, Institutes of Energy and the Environment

The Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pennsylvania
Commensurate with experience
Jan 13, 2022
Mar 14, 2022
Organization Type

The Pennsylvania State University

Director, Institutes of Energy and the Environment


The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) seeks a visionary and collaborative leader with a deep commitment to interdisciplinary research to serve as the director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. Applications, inquiries, and nominations are invited.   

As one of Penn State’s seven, university-wide interdisciplinary institutes in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research (OSVPR), the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) develops research capabilities in energy and the environment where researchers are tackling difficult challenges, ranging from fundamental research to application. Penn State commands respect globally for creating a culture of collaboration that motivates novel team science for innovation and impact. The institute advances research across five strategic themes: Integrated Energy Systems, Climate and Ecosystem Change, Health and the Environment, Urban Systems, and Water and Biogeochemical Cycles. These themes provide the framework for a portfolio of focused centers and programs detailed at With an annual budget of approximately $9 million, IEE co-funds more than 70 interdisciplinary tenure-line faculty housed in more than 30 academic departments. IEE also manages two research buildings housing more than 100 researchers and staff and drives research seed programs to advance new research concepts with interdisciplinary teaming. The institute's core facilities include state-of-the-art instrumentation supporting the full spectrum of energy and environmental sciences and engineering.

The IEE director reports to the Senior Vice President for Research who oversees Penn State's $1B research enterprise. This new leader will build on IEE's exceptional foundation and Penn State's international reputation to develop a compelling vision for the future of energy and environmental research. This vision will capitalize on Penn State's strengths while also expanding in new directions and developing new areas of expertise, research testing platforms and living laboratories for studying complex systems including sustainable agriculture, renewable and carbon-free energy, urban systems, and environmental health, among others. The new director will be invited to advance an institutional culture that emphasizes solutions-focused approaches and embeds justice for all into the fabric of its energy and environmental research.

The future director will be an international leader in energy and/or environmental research with a strong interdisciplinary approach and will exhibit broad intellectual capacities and a wide range of interests. The director must articulate and actualize a compelling vision and plan for the future of energy and environmental research at Penn State, including translation of research into science-technology based solutions, programs, government policies, and practices consistent with Penn State's land grant mission. The candidate must have credentials applicable for a tenured professor in an appropriate academic department.

The successful candidate must also support an exceptional working environment with staff, faculty and students. The IEE is built by a team of inspired individuals with unique perspectives, an array of skills, and an engaging environment with opportunities for growth. The successful candidate must have measurable outcomes showcasing their ability to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; provide professional development and opportunities for career advancement; and provide a work environment that positions individuals to do their best work, ranging from opportunities for individuals to excel, teams to be creative, and units to inspire.

Penn State is Pennsylvania’s land grant university. IEE is based at Penn State’s University Park campus located in State College and its surrounding communities are home to approximately 100,000 people, including more than 45,000 students. It is known for its excellent school system, outdoor recreational opportunities, cultural events, and sports.

WittKieffer is assisting Penn State in this search. All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile, which can be found at For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by March 18, 2022 and submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. Please direct nominations and inquiries to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search: Suzanne Teer and Jessica Herrington at

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Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.