Prem S. Paul, D.V.M., Ph.D., FNAI, announced his retirement as vice chancellor for research and economic development, citing health concerns on August 29 and died September 2.
The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) community are mourning the recent passing of Prem S. Paul, retired vice chancellor for research and economic development for UNL, who died Friday at the age of 68.
Paul served UNL for 15 years, where his vision is credited with transforming UNL into a research-intensive university. During his tenure, Paul led the university to many successes, including the securing of a $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Education to form the National Center for Research on Rural Education, and in 2015, sponsored research at UNL reached a record high, increasing more than 12 percent to $146.9 million.
Paul worked tirelessly to establish a culture where faculty research was supported and celebrated. He highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary research and implemented centers which promoted it, including the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, and the Social Sciences Behavioral Research Consortium.
â€œServing this university has been the highlight of my career,â€ Paul wrote in the message to the university. â€œI am indebted to the many faculty members and staff who have made our research growth possible. It has been an honor to witness your achievements and to watch you dream bigger. We are a strong research university on an impressive trajectory and I know that our best days lie ahead.â€
An advocate for enhancing a culture of recognizing academic invention, Paul was an early supporter of the National Academy of Inventors. He was responsible for bringing UNL on board as one of the Academy's Founding Charter Member Institutions. Today, thanks to Paul, UNL is a valued NAI Sustaining Member Institution. Paul was also serving as a member of the 2016-2017 NAI Board of Directors.
Paul, a named inventor on 14 issued U.S. patents, was recognized for his prolific spirit of innovation, and as a leader who cultivated and nurtured an inventive culture on his campus, with election as a Charter Fellow of the NAI in 2012. Paul was in attendance at the NAI's annual conference in 2013 to receive his award.
"The Academy is deeply saddened by Prem's passing." said NAI President Paul R. Sanberg. "We will never forget his passion for research and innovation, and his enthusiasm and tremendous support of the NAI. He was instrumental in building the NAI to where it is today and we are very grateful. He will be greatly missed."
Prior to joining UNL, Paul served on the faculty at Iowa State University, where he was associate vice provost for research, associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine and assistant director of the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station. He was also the veterinary medical officer at the USDAâ€™s National Animal Disease Center in Ames.
The Prem S. Paul Fund for Research Excellence, a memorial fund, has been established at the University of Nebraska Foundation. For more information regarding the fund, please call 402-458-1100.