Randy Katz to step down as vice chancellor for research

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After a career spanning more than 40 years at UC Berkeley, Randy Katz will be retiring his position as vice chancellor for research effective June 30.

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After a career spanning more than 40 years at UC Berkeley, Randy Katz will be stepping down as vice chancellor for research effective June 30.

Katz was appointed to the role of vice chancellor Jan. 1, 2018, according to Berkeley Research’s website. Prior to being vice chancellor, Katz was a computer science professor in the EECS department and served as chair of both the department and the computer science division.

After teaching nearly 20,000 students as a campus professor, training and graduating 52 doctoral students, bringing the internet to the White House and creating technological breakthroughs such as multiprocessor architecture, Katz said in an email that it was time to retire.

“Randy advanced the campus research enterprise with a deep personal commitment to protect and enhance the research excellence of the campus,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ in a campuswide email.

In his tenure as vice chancellor for research, Katz said one of his greatest accomplishments was growing the external research funding over the last three years during the wildfires, PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs and COVID-19 pandemic.

More specifically, campus’ research enterprise grew from $710 million to more than $800 million due to Katz’s efforts, according to the campuswide email.

“He has also had a profound impact on engineering education at Berkeley, having been recognized with the campus’ Distinguished Teaching Award among other honors,” Christ said in the email.

David Patterson, professor in the graduate school for EECS, said he worked with Katz on a project entitled Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks, which was used to make computer storage faster and safer.

Patterson noted that Katz’s accomplishments were “impressive,” as he was tasked with being vice chancellor for research amid the pandemic.

“He’s a real renaissance man,” Patterson said. “That’s what Berkeley wants — people who are good at service, good at research and good at teaching.”

Before Katz steps down, he said he plans to launch more campus projects such as the Bakar Bioenginuity Hub, a life science incubator, and create more diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives for research staff.

He hopes to continue to support major research center based proposal efforts and beat the $801 million sponsored research funding number from the 2020 fiscal year.

“He’s really committed to service to the university and to all the faculty and has really been a leader in that, as well as in his own research,” said Katherine Yelick, associate dean for research in the campus division of computing, data science and society.

The process of choosing the next vice chancellor for research entails the provost launching a national search, according to Katz.

Christ said in the email that details involving the search for the next vice chancellor will be shared in the coming weeks.

Shylie Ati is an academics and administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @shylieati.