John D. Weete, West Virginia Universitys vice president for research and economic development, is leaving the post to become executive director of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, President David C. Hardesty Jr. announced.

At Auburn, Weete will oversee development of the universitys research park. He will begin those duties Sept. 1.

For nine years, John Weete has led the effort to establish the research enterprise at WVU as a leading advocate for job creation through research and sponsored programs,Hardesty said.His integrity and hard work are respected by his colleagues here and on campuses around the country. We all wish him well as he returns to Auburn.

Weete came to WVU in 1998 from Auburn University where he was professor and associate dean for research. While at WVU , he also served as president and executive director of the WVU Research Corp.

WVU Provost Gerald Lang credits Weete for helping get the Universitys research efforts off the ground.

WVU’s research enterprise is much larger and more complex than that which John inherited nine years ago, in part because of his dedication to developing an integrated research and economic development agenda,said Lang.His efforts will leave a lasting contribution to WVU . Besides the growth in research dollars, John has overseen the formation of a research park in Morgantown and potentially one in Charleston, the growth of technology transfer, and the development of new partnerships and interdisciplinary programs. John is to be commended for the solid foundation he has laid for the future growth of research at WVU .

Under Weetes tenure, the WVU research enterprise grew 140 percent to the highest funding level in the history of the University.

He also was instrumental in initiating development of the WVU Research Park, and has been involved in the establishment of the WVU Office of Technology Transfer and the WVU Business Incubator. Under Weete, WVU tech transfer activities, including invention disclosures, patent application and issuance, and license agreements have increased by 500 percent.

Weete also guided the implementation of the WVNano Initiative, an interdisciplinary program focusing on bio-nanotechnology and biometrics, and helped develop the Strategic Initiative for Energy and Environmental Research and Education.

While at WVU , Weete has served on several boards including the Institute for Scientific Research, Research Partnership for a Secure Energy America, and the Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex.

Weete earned undergraduate and masters degrees from Stephen F. Austin College and his doctorate in biology from the University of Houston.

“WVU’s research enterprise is poised to take off on the fast track,” WVU President-elect Mike Garrison said.”I wish Dr. Weete the very best in his new position. The role of vice president of research and economic development at WVU is a very important one, and we’ll be looking for someone who can continue the momentum in working to bring the University’s research efforts to new heights.”

WVU officials say details on the search process for a new vice president for research and economic development will be announced later.