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Paul Alivisatos named executive vice chancellor and provost

Chancellor Carol Christ chooses current vice chancellor for research to assume campus's No. 2 position

Paul Alivisatos
Paul Alivisatos. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab)

Paul Alivisatos, an internationally renowned chemist and UC Berkeley’s vice chancellor for research, has been chosen to serve as the campus’s new executive vice chancellor and provost, effective immediately.

The role of executive vice chancellor and provost combines the campus’s No. 2 job, essentially the chief operating officer, with that of chief academic officer representing the campus’s faculty.

“Paul will be working in close partnership with me, and will play a critical role in developing and implementing my vision and priorities for the Berkeley campus,” said Chancellor Carol Christ in announcing the appointment today. “Paul fully shares my commitment to improving students’ educational experience so that they can truly thrive at Berkeley; to creating a real sense of community and belonging on our campus; and to preserving our academic excellence, in the lab and the classroom, even as we continue with the hard work of bringing our budget into balance.”

The search committee recommended Alivisatos because of his demonstrated abilities in strategic planning, organization and leadership as well as his deep administrative experience.

“I have been at Berkeley for about 30 years now, and I feel gratitude to Berkeley for everything it has given to me. I am excited about the opportunity to work closely with Carol as the new chancellor as she is defining a vision for the campus,” Alivisatos said. “For me, it is really about coming into a role where I can help guide the campus into an exciting period where the future of public higher education and research and discovery are promoted and enhanced. I am thrilled.”

Alivisatos comes with impressive credentials: He ran the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for seven years until he assumed the role of vice chancellor for research on March 1, 2016. He has been a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry since 1988 and is a serial entrepreneur. Well-known in the field of nanotechnology, he pioneered work on nanocrystals in the 1980s and co-founded a startup called Nanosys Inc., which uses colorful nanocrystals, dubbed quantum dots, to produce bright and energy-efficient computer displays. He also is a co-founder of Quantum Dot Corp., now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., which markets nanocrystals as submicroscopic tracers, and co-invented a technology for flexible solar cells.

Alivisatos currently is the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the departments of chemistry and materials science, the founding director of the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute, and a senior faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab. He is also the founding editor of Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society, and formerly served on the senior editorial board of Science magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Read Chancellor Christ's announcement