UM Announces New Vice Chancellor for Research, Economic Development 

Longtime University of Alabama leader John Higginbotham named to new position

Three headshots of Noel Wilkin, John Higginbotham and Chancellor Glenn Boyce.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has named John Higginbotham as the new vice chancellor of research and economic development.

Higginbotham, who has more than 25 years' experience in research, grant writing and university leadership, will start his new position on Aug. 1, pending approval from the Institutions of Higher Learning board of trustees.  

“Dr. Higginbotham’s extensive and versatile research leadership background forms a strong foundation for advancing our university’s capacity for innovation and economic development," Chancellor Glenn Boyce said.  

"With his proven track record of fostering productive collaborations and advancing research programs, he will lead us to new heights and create exciting opportunities for our talented students, faculty and researchers, whose discoveries change lives and address society’s most pressing challenges.” 

Higginbotham spent the last 24 years at the University of Alabama, where he has served as the founding director of the Institute for Rural Health and Research and the National Center on Forensics and as a tenured professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health.  

He has also served in several leadership roles for the University of Alabama’s Office of Research and Economic Development and as a senior fellow for the Alabama Life Research Institute. 

Higginbotham will also hold faculty titles in the departments of public health and pharmacy administration 

“The role of vice chancellor for research and economic development is pivotal for any university, particularly a flagship institution like Ole Miss,” Higginbotham said. “This position is critical in steering the research agenda, ensuring strategic alignment with the university's mission and enhancing the institution's reputation as a leader in innovation and discovery.” 

The vice chancellor of research and economic development leads the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs as it supports faculty, staff and students pursuing research or other sponsored projects funded by federal, state, local and private agencies and organizations.  

"My primary goal will be to elevate our institution's research and scholarly activity profile and its economic impact both regionally and nationally,” he said. “I aim to work with the faculty, staff and students to foster an environment where innovative research and scholarly activity can thrive, interdisciplinary collaboration is encouraged and external partnerships are strengthened.  

“By doing so, we can enhance the university's contribution to knowledge creation, technological advancement and community development.” 

Provost Noel Wilkin called Higginbotham an “accomplished scholar with an impressive record of publications, presentations, grants and service to the university and his discipline.”  

“I am thrilled that Dr. Higginbotham will be joining our community of scholars as vice chancellor for research and economic development,” Wilkin said. “He brings a wealth of experience to the role and has good ideas as to how we can enhance our support for research, increase the ways we celebrate research success and expand our contributions to economic development.” 


Top photo: (From left) Provost Noel Wilkin. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services. John Higginbotham. Submitted photo. Chancellor Glenn Boyce. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services


Clara Turnage


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July 07, 2024