Clemson extends Karanfil as vice president for research

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CLEMSON — Clemson University has reappointed Tanju Karanfil vice president for research as it looks to build upon the momentum of its recent research growth.

Karanfil was appointed to a two-year term as vice president for research in February 2016 to steer the university’s research strategy, working closely with faculty and staff at Clemson and with collaborators in industry and the community.


“Tanju is a tireless leader who has done an outstanding job leading Clemson’s growing research enterprise for the past two years,” said President James P. Clements. “Under his leadership, Clemson has seen significant growth in research awards, especially those coming as the result of multimillion dollar grants.

“This reappointment is appropriate recognition of Tanju’s contributions and helps to set the foundation for future success as Clemson strives to build on its reputation as being among the best research universities in the nation,” Clements said.

Tanju Karanfil

Clemson joined the list of the nation’s top research universities as a Carnegie R1 university in 2016, a reflection of its growth in research expenditures across disciplines and increases to the number of doctorate degrees awarded and postdoctoral and non-faculty researchers on staff. Clemson’s performance across all of Carnegie’s metrics have improved under Karanfil’s leadership since receiving the R1 designation. Research expenditures and grant awards are at their highest levels in at least four years despite a decline in federal investments in university research and development. Clemson faculty have won more than 20 large interdisciplinary grants collectively exceeding $100 million during the past three years.

“Dr. Karanfil has a clear strategy for expanding our research efforts and we can see that his strategy is working,” said Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I appreciate his commitment to scientific discovery and scholarship across all colleges at Clemson.”

As vice president for research, Karanfil led the launch of R-Initiative programs to provide internal funding, services and tools to help faculty advance their research and to help more Ph.D. students complete their degrees. He created the Office of Research Development to coordinate interdisciplinary faculty teams to compete for high-value and complex research grants that address issues of global significance.

Under Karanfil’s leadership, the Division of Research also is working on numerous faculty development programs and support services to enhance Clemson’s research culture and position faculty to succeed. Karanfil said he is working to continue to strengthen and expand the university’s industry collaborations by leveraging Clemson’s unique research facilities across the state, as well.

“A strong research enterprise creates unique educational opportunities for students and fuels innovation for the benefit of our society and economy,” Karanfil said. “We have a great team and wonderful faculty and staff across all of our campuses who share the vision to become a premiere research university. This is an exciting time for Clemson research and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as vice president for research.”

Karanfil leads the university’s Division of Research, which includes the offices of research development, sponsored programs, research safety, research compliance, industry contracts, animal resources, export controls, business affairs and conflicts of interest, as well as the Clemson University Research Foundation.

Karanfil joined Clemson in 1996. He has served as chair of the environmental engineering and Earth sciences department and later as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences. He currently maintains an active research portfolio as well, focusing on water quality and improvements to water, wastewater and hazardous waste treatment systems.

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, where he also held a one year post-doctoral research associate position. He is a fellow of the International Water Association, received an National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award in 2001, has produced more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and mentored more than 100 graduate students and post-doctoral research associates at Clemson. He also serves as a consultant to water and wastewater utilities and consulting companies.

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