Chemical Engineering’s Department Chair to join NSF

In Department of Chemical Engineering, Featured, Honors & Awards, News

Professor Richard Dickinson will join the National Science Foundation this August, taking a rotation as the director of the Chemical, Biological, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) Division. He will retain his faculty position with the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, returning to the University of Florida campus with the valuable experience of having worked within a federal research funding agency in Washington.  

With 16 programs and a budget of nearly $200 million, the CBET division is the primary source of NSF research funding for the chemical engineering, bioengineering, and environmental engineering academic communities.  It is largely responsible for determining future advances in fuels, manufacturing techniques, and next-generation medical therapies.

“This prestigious appointment is quite an honor for Dr. Dickinson and for UF,” said Cammy Abernathy, dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “It’s a testament to Dr. Dickinson’s stature in the chemical and bioengineering communities.”

In his eight years as chair of UF’s Department of Chemical Engineering, Dickinson has led the department through a period of substantial growth, including a steady increase in graduate and undergraduate enrollment numbers. He helped raise $16 million from generous alumni to secure research and educational programs for the department, completed funding and construction of the new Chemical Engineering Student Center, completely overhauled the Undergraduate Unit Operations Laboratory, and implemented several new hands-on laboratory courses for the graduate program.

“Serving the department for the last eight years has been a tremendous honor and privilege,” said Dickinson. “I am thrilled for this opportunity to lead CBET in its mission to identify and explore the frontiers of engineering research that will benefit the nation’s health, economy, and environment.”

The search for Dickinson’s replacement will begin this fall. Professor Carlos Rinaldi, the Charles A. Stokes Term Professor, has agreed to serve as interim chair for the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr. Rinaldi also has a joint appointment in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research interests are in biomedical applications and the hydrodynamics of magnetic particles. He received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2006.