Clemson names leader in environmental engineering VP of research
CLEMSON — Clemson University has appointed Tanju Karanfil to a two-year term as vice president for research, effective Feb. 1. Karanfil replaces Larry Dooley, who is retiring in May after three years as interim vice president for research and a 31-year career at Clemson.
“Dr. Karanfil has exemplary leadership skills and the creative vision to build on Dr. Dooley’s achievements and elevate research and scholarship to new heights,” Clemson President James P. Clements said. “Tanju is committed to innovative research; helping students, faculty and staff succeed; and working with the community to grow an innovation economy, and he does so with integrity and respect.”
Karanfil, currently the associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Science, is an environmental engineer whose research on improving municipal water quality has been funded with nearly $10 million. He joined the Clemson faculty in 1996 and was chair of the environmental engineering and Earth sciences department prior to assuming his current post in 2014.
As vice president for research, Karanfil will steer the university’s research strategy, which includes working closely with faculty and staff at Clemson and with collaborators in industry and the community. He will oversee the management of a portfolio that spans the gamut of science and innovation: advanced materials, cyber-infrastructure, big data science, energy, transportation, advanced manufacturing, health innovation, human resilience, sustainable environment, architecture, education, humanities and the arts.
Under Dooley’s leadership, Clemson’s annual research revenues grew to more than $100 million, and the school achieved “highest research activity” status from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The number of students receiving doctoral degrees from Clemson’s Graduate School, another measure of research activity, increased from 107 in 2001 to 270 in 2015.
“Dr. Dooley has provided stability, improved organizational effectiveness and developed strategies that will help us achieve our research goals as outlined in the Clemson Forward strategic plan,” Clements said. “We will continue to benefit from his leadership for many years.”
“This is an exciting time for research at Clemson and I am extremely grateful for the honor and responsibility of being named vice president,” Karanfil said. “Dr. Dooley set the standard for excellence, and the outstanding work by our students, faculty and the Research Division staff is second to none. I look forward to working closely with everyone, from the sciences to the humanities, to facilitate and encourage our growth in contributions to fundamental and applied research and economic development.”
Dooley joined Clemson in 1985 as professor of bioengineering and as the research director for the Bioengineering Alliance of South Carolina. He served as bioengineering department chair from 1994 to 2003 and as associate dean for research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Science until 2012, at which time he was asked to serve as interim dean of the College of Engineering and Science. He was appointed interim vice president for research in 2013. He will stay on at Clemson through May to help with the transition.
“Working with President Clements and Provost Jones, the staff in the Division of Research, faculty and community leaders has been a tremendous honor,” Dooley said. “For many years, Clemson research was a hidden treasure. It’s been exciting to see our contributions grow to national and international prominence, and I look forward to even greater achievements under Dr. Karanfil’s leadership.”
Karanfil earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Istanbul Technical University and completed his graduate work – Master of Science and Ph.D. — at the University of Michigan. He is a fellow of the International Water Association, received an National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in 2001 and mentored more than 80 graduate students and post-doctoral research associates at Clemson. He also serves as a consultant to water and wastewater utilities and consulting companies.