Ian Waitz appointed as vice president of research

President Sally Kornbluth shared in a letter to the MIT community today that Ian A. Waitz has been appointed as the vice president for research at MIT, effective May 1. In this role, Waitz will oversee MIT’s expansive research activities and report directly to the president.

Waitz, holding the position of Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, brings a wealth of experience at MIT, spanning over 30 years and various roles within the Institute. Known for his dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to MIT’s core values, Waitz is well-positioned to lead the research enterprise.

Kornbluth praised Waitz’s in-depth understanding of MIT’s research and educational ecosystem, affirming his strong track record in problem-solving and executing high-stakes initiatives effectively.

Speaking about the significance of MIT’s research mission, Waitz emphasized its pivotal role in driving innovation and education. He highlighted the value of tackling novel challenges to nurture intellectual capabilities and address complex global issues.

Transitioning from his current role as vice chancellor overseeing education, Waitz played a crucial role in shaping undergraduate and graduate education initiatives under the leadership of Melissa Nobles, the current Chancellor.

During his tenure, Waitz spearheaded transformative changes, including enhancing the first-year undergraduate experience, navigating the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, and promoting graduate student welfare. Notable achievements include streamlining administrative functions and expanding student support services.

Expressing his excitement for the new role, Waitz underscored the synergy between education and research at MIT, emphasizing the university’s unique position as a research-driven institution.

Waitz’s appointment follows Maria Zuber’s transition to the role of MIT’s presidential advisor for science and technology policy. Eager to enhance MIT’s research ecosystem, Waitz aims to optimize research processes and drive further innovation.

Prior to his vice chancellor role, Waitz served as the dean of the School of Engineering, where he facilitated numerous strategic initiatives to bolster academic excellence and interdisciplinary programs.

Before his deanship, he led the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and conducted groundbreaking research to mitigate aviation’s environmental impact. Waitz’s extensive experience in academia, industry, and government has positioned him as a prominent figure in the field.

Recognizing MIT’s strength in fostering intellectual entrepreneurship, Waitz emphasized the importance of creating a conducive environment for students, faculty, and staff to thrive and innovate.

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