Senior Vice President and Chief Research and Innovation Officer
Daniel “Dan” Sui, an internationally renowned geographer/GIScientist with research interests focusing on GIS-based spatial analysis and modeling for urban, environmental, and public health applications, was appointed Virginia Tech’s vice president for research and innovation in the fall of 2020.
An established researcher and invited public speaker, Sui has published more than 230 scholarly publications covering various interdisciplinary topics and delivered approximately 70 keynote speeches, endowed, or invited guest lectures over the past five years.
Leading the Office of Research and Innovation, Sui reports to Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. He is also a member of the president’s cabinet and council. Also, as chief research and innovation officer, Sui is responsible for supporting and growing Virginia Tech’s research portfolio and chairs the board of Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties.
The Office of Research and Innovation encompasses over 500 employees across research administration that includes institutes and supports strategic research investments and all university researchers. Administratively, Sui works to ensure research is conducted ethically and responsibly, and oversees all sponsored research funding for research, service, and education. He also oversees all of the university’s thematic institutes and affiliated corporations that execute more than a quarter of the university’s sponsored research. Also, Research and Innovation investment institutes support research of faculty across all of the university’s colleges by providing seed funding, space, and unique facilities.
Prior to joining the Virginia Tech community, Sui served as the University of Arkansas’ vice chancellor for research and innovation and grew research expenditures to a new historical high of $180 million, which directly contributed to the university’s $2.2 billion economic impact for the state of Arkansas.
Sui also served as the division director of Social and Economic Sciences for the National Science Foundation and was instrumental with the initiatives “Harnessing the Data Revolution,” “Growing Convergence Research,” and “The Future of Work at the Human-technology Frontier,” and has worked to develop a stronger public-private partnership for social and economic sciences research.
Sui also served as chair of the Department of Geography at the Ohio State University. During his time at Ohio State, he directed the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis and the Geographic Analysis Core unit of the Institute of Population Research. Sui also held distinguished professorships with appointments in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
From 2004-09, Sui was the assistant vice president for research at Texas A&M University and was the Reta A. Haynes Endowed Chair of Geosciences in the College of Geosciences, with a joint appointment in the School of Public Health. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, a Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow, and the recipient of an American Association of Geographers Distinguished Scholar Award.
Sui earned a bachelor of science in geography and a master of science in remote sensing and geographic information systems, both from Peking University in Beijing, China. Sui received his doctorate in geography from the University of Georgia.
Championing Research, a Virginia Tech Magazine story
With university partners, Virginia Tech’s Senior Vice President and Chief Research and Innovation Officer Dan Sui has identified areas of growth, called Research Frontiers, combining internal foundations, organizational infrastructure, and prior investment with external drivers where industry, government, and technology are funding initiatives that impact humanity, technology, and the future.
Investing and elevating Research Frontiers brings together diverse expertise that transcends traditional discipline boundaries, in partnership with industry, government, and foundations, to address emerging challenges and opportunities that seek to improve the human condition and create a better world for all.
“Our goal is to win more large grants in these research areas,” said Sui. “Such awards will progress the university’s expenditures, reputation, and ranking, and accelerate President Sands’ goal to position Virginia Tech as a top global land grant university.