Research leader steps down
University of Illinois Vice President for Research Lawrence B. Schook announced March 16 that he would step down from the university-wide post in August to return to his research and faculty work on the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses. U of I President Tim Killeen said a national search would be conducted to select Schook’s successor.
Vice president of research since 2011, Schook has played a central leadership role in management of the university’s nearly $1 billion per year sponsored-research portfolio and has overseen the university’s technology commercialization and economic development activities.
“The University, its research faculty and staff are a powerful engine of discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship,” Schook said. “I was fortunate to work with colleagues of enormous vision and talent, and with university presidents who challenged us to exceed expectations,” Schook said.
Schook helped spearhead creation of UI LABS, a U of I spinoff for research and development that partners universities and industry. UI LABS led a consortium in 2014 that won a $70 million Department of Defense grant to create a digital manufacturing and design institute in Chicago, designed to transform American manufacturing.
During Schook’s tenure, University research-based royalties grew from $19 million to $34 million annually, operations at the two university research parks accelerated, the university’s venture capital funds grew and offices of technology management processed research-based patents in 2015 that ranked the U of I eleventh in the world.
“Larry’s research and economic development acumen, as well as his stature among stakeholders in this arena, raised the University of Illinois performance, and he has been a valued member of the leadership team,” Killeen said.
The Office of the Vice President for Research is critical to the University’s multiple missions and will remain “open for business,” Killeen said.
Schook said he intends to return to research. A faculty member of the Urbana-Champaign campus since 2000, Schook is the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of animal sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. A world-renowned biomedical researcher, Schook led the international pig genome-sequencing project, which led to critical insight into diseases, particularly cancer, that afflict humans as well as pigs.