The Ohio State University, Colorado State University Create Shared Leadership Position to Capitalize on Significant Opportunities in Energy and Environment

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In a unique agreement that brings together two national research powerhouses, Colorado State University and The Ohio State University have created a shared leadership position to explore energy and environment-related research and economic development opportunities.

The three-year position – called the Vice President and Enterprise Executive for Energy and the Environment – will be filled by Ron Sega, former astronaut and Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force who currently serves Colorado State as Vice President for Energy and the Environment and Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering. Sega led the Air Force team that received the overall "Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management" for the U.S. government for FY 2006.

Between the two land-grant universities, more than 500 faculty members are researching areas of energy and the environment. Sega will help the institutions work together to identify and lead potential national initiatives and economic development opportunities and will also look for opportunities for collaboration between the universities.

“This unusual arrangement between our institutions not only breaks down walls that are within institutions of higher learning but between them,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State. “The position leverages both universities’ energy and environmental assets toward increased economic opportunity for Colorado and Ohio. This partnership combines the resources of a great university in the East with a great university in the West so we may focus together on challenges impacting our country and world.”

Sega, who obtained his master’s degree in physics at Ohio State, will split his time between Ohio State and Colorado State and serve as a full-time tenured faculty member in both institutions’ colleges of engineering.

“We are truly fortunate to have attracted Dr. Sega, a distinguished alumnus, back to Ohio State through this joint appointment,” said University President E. Gordon Gee. “He is among the nation’s most prominent and successful leaders in effecting change in energy and the environment, areas in which Ohio State has broad and significant strength. His work here will be of tremendous benefit to our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the State of Ohio.”

In the role, Sega’s responsibilities include:
• Providing strategic leadership for some 300 energy/environment faculty at Ohio State and approximately 200 energy/environment faculty at Colorado State
• Creating significant new opportunities for federal, state, industrial and philanthropic funding to support the energy and environment enterprise at both institutions
• Enhancing strategic partnerships with such organizations as Battelle Memorial Institute, the National Renewal Energy Laboratory, state governments in Colorado and Ohio and key industrial partners
• Using national and international networks to establish global presence of the two institutions in the area of energy and environmental impact
• Developing enhanced profiles that will better position Ohio State and Colorado State as key advisors on significant energy and environmental issues
• Advising and enhancing sustainability efforts on both campuses

Caroline Whitacre, Vice President for Research at Ohio State, says, “This unique dual appointment brings tremendous power from two regions of the country around the topic of energy and its impact on the environment.”

“Ohio State and Colorado State both have unique attributes but also some complementary programs that could benefit from collaboration and joint funding opportunities,” said Bill Farland, Vice President for Research at Colorado State.

At Ohio State, Sega will lead the university’s Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), which was founded in 2007 to advance Ohio State’s national role and success with contributing solutions to the global energy program in an environmentally sustainable manner. The IEE coordinates across the many university colleges, centers, and disciplines connected to energy and environmental research to leverage assets and collaboration among faculty who work to develop alternatives to inexpensive fossil fuels and the environmental problems they cause.

At Colorado State, Sega will maintain his role as Colorado State Woodward Professor of Systems Engineering where he is building a premier systems engineering program in collaboration with industry and other universities in the state. Systems engineering addresses complex systems in such areas as aerospace, energy, environment, natural resources and bioscience/health. He also chairs the Sustainability, Energy and Environment Advisory Committee.

A premier research university, Ohio State researchers have achieved world-class status in such areas as global climate change, materials, infectious disease, cancer, electromagnetics, agbioproducts, and biomedical imaging. Ohio State has more than 300 active partnerships with industries around the nation and the world. The university ranks 10th among all universities in research expenditures and a remarkable second place when it comes to industry-sponsored research.

Colorado State University offers a world-class education at one of the nation’s top research universities with more than $300 million in annual research expenditures – one of the highest funding levels in the country for a university without a medical school. Colorado State has internationally known programs in infectious disease, agriculture, cancer research, atmospheric science, sustainability and clean energy. The School of Global Environmental Sustainability is an umbrella organization that encompasses all environmental education and research. The school positions Colorado State to address the multiple challenges to global sustainability through broad-based research, curricular programs and outreach initiatives.