CORVALLIS - Rich Holdren, who has spent the past 18 months as the first director of research initiatives at Oregon State University, has been named interim vice provost for research at OSU.

He replaces Wilson "Toby" Hayes, who resigned from the position earlier this year.

Holdren came to OSU in early 2000 from the Battelle --- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., where he was technical group manager for applied geology and geochemistry in the Environmental Technology Division.

As director of research initiatives, he has played a leading role for Oregon State as the university seeks to strengthen its connections with the private sector and play an increasingly important leadership role in the regional and national stewardship of natural resources.

He also has served as interim associate vice provost for OSU during recent months.

"Rich has played a key role in articulating the university's vision and mission in research and scholarship," said Tim White, OSU provost and executive vice president. "He has a clear idea of where we need to go, and the experience, leadership and motivation to help us get there."

Holdren and other OSU leaders are working to develop a research park on campus, where emerging companies can work with the university's faculty to create new ideas and products. Also in the works is an expanded role for the university as a natural resources institute, where OSU would work with researchers and government leaders to develop environmental policy.

"I also would like to see the university continue its efforts to engage every student at OSU --- undergraduate and graduate --- in research and scholarship," Holdren said. "Nothing enhances the learning environment in a more positive way than for students to work with faculty on cutting edge research and scholarship in their own field of interest and create new knowledge that benefits real people.

"One of the reasons OSU is such a dynamic institution is because of its active faculty, who are national and international leaders in so many different fields," Holdren added. "It's exciting to watch this enterprise in action, especially with faculty from different disciplines working together on new knowledge and creative endeavors, including the arts and social sciences."

The Office of Vice Provost for Research oversees activities spanning OSU's 11 academic colleges and more than 20 multidisciplinary programs, centers and institutes. University faculty receive about $150 million in external funding for research, scholarship and creative endeavors each year.

Holdren, who has an appointment as an adjunct professor in OSU's Department of Geosciences, has a Ph.D. in geochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.

Before he worked at OSU and Battelle, Holdren was deputy program manager for ManTech Environmental Technology, Inc. in Corvallis, and was on the faculty of the University of Rochester in New York.

A national search is under way to fill the vice provost for research position on a long-term basis.