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Thomas C. Skalak

Thomas C. Skalak

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P.O. Box 400301
Charlottesville, VA 22904



Thomas C. SkalakThomas C. Skalak

As Vice President for Research at UVA, Thomas C. Skalak is responsible for the integration and enhancement of research activities across UVA’s eleven schools and multiple research centers, in partnership with external corporate, governmental, and private partners.

The university’s goal is to integrate the unique resources of a comprehensive research and learning organization to explore, discover, and invent, bringing diverse talents to bear on major societal problems and producing innovation that drives the creative economy.

Tom leads university-wide strategic growth activities, including multidisciplinary groups in innovation, big data, sustainability, energy systems, arts, and biosciences, and is a frequent speaker on collaborative innovation at Fortune 500 and government partners in the U.S., E.U., and Asia, including The White House, State Department, and National Science Foundation. 

He led the launch of the OpenGrounds collaborative initiative, bringing faculty, students, and external partners together for cross-boundary collaborations; the UVA Venture Summit, which annually brings over $10B in active venture capital to UVA to discuss windows on the future of emerging fields; the UVA Entrepreneurship Cup, a university-wide student concept competition featuring new business or social ventures; and the UVA Bay Game, a participatory computer simulation game that predicts behaviors of the nation’s largest estuary in relation to the human communities that surround it.

Tom is Professor of Biomedical Engineering with appointments in both Medicine and Engineering, and is a Faculty Affiliate of the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Darden School of Business.  An international authority on bioengineering, he served as Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at UVA from 2001-2008, as past president of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) representing 60,000 professionals, and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).  

He was the founding PI of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and other proof-of-concept funds including multiple corporate and private partners such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and the Ivy Foundation.  UVA has produced a 42-1 ROI for the top 10% of portfolio projects, and 7-1 overall ROI.  This successful UVA model for proof-of-concept research has been recognized by the U.S. Senate and Congress.  A key goal is new venture creation, which creates U.S. high-value jobs that cannot easily be off -shored.

Tom is Program Director of the world’s largest bioengineering network, BMEplanet, with support of the NSF Partnerships for Innovation program, connecting bioengineers in 52 countries spanning 6 continents, and currently leads a U.S. Department of Commerce i6 program, the Virginia Innovation Partnership, a first-in-class innovation network spanning an entire state.

He serves as reviewer for NIH, NSF, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Science Foundation Ireland, and more than 30 scientific journals, and consults on innovation strategies with Fortune 500 companies and small ventures.

Read full Press Release

Thomas C. Skalak and Beth TurnerThomas C. Skalak, vice president for research and Elizabeth Turner, vice provost for the arts launch a new Science & Art Project, an initiative to promote experimental alliances between artists, scientists and visionaries for the expansion of new ideas and creative work.

The Science & Art Project came about as a result of the Spotlight Discussion Series, originated by Rosamond Casey, visual artist and teacher at Charlottesville’s McGuffey Art Center.

The title of the discussion was “How Ideas Emerge in Science and Art.” Participants included Tom Skalak, vice president for research at U.Va.; James Coan, director of the U.Va. Affective Neuroscience Laboratory; Ted Coffey, assistant professor of music, U.Va.; and Susan Skalak, design engineer.

After the presentation, Susan Crowder, a sculptor and installation artist, and Rosamond made a proposal to the Spotlight speakers and to the director of the U.Va. Art Museum. They suggested creating a project in Charlottesville designed to enable artists and scientists to collaborate. From that spark, the Science & Art Project was born.

Tom brought the conceptual ideas to later discussions with Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Vice Provost for the Arts at U.Va. Support for this initiative also came from Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, U.Va., through his deep appreciation for the role of the creative arts in developing people in all professions, and belief that this program could be become a “model for the world.”