Listen to this article

CHAMPAIGN — Susan Martinis has been named vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Illinois, a role she has held on an interim basis for more than two years.

The appointment was announced Thursday by the campus, pending approval by UI trustees next week.

In September 2017, Martinis succeeded Peter Schiffer in the position, which oversees the UI’s research enterprise.

Chancellor Robert Jones said Martinis’ reputation as a collaborative scholar and leader who “gets work done” has only grown over the last two years, calling her a strong and innovative leader.

Martinis oversaw the evolution of several major initiatives at the UI, including the Cancer Center at Illinois and the Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her office also took on oversight of the UI Research Park from the UI system and works with the systemwide Discovery Partners Institute project. Martinis also chairs the Chancellor’s Economic Development Advisory Group.

Martinis, who earned her Ph.D. at Illinois, joined the UI faculty in 2005 as an associate professor of biochemistry and later became department head.

Previously, she was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT and worked to launch the startup biotechnology company Cubist Pharmaceuticals before taking her first academic position at the University of Houston in 1997.


Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).