LSU Names Robert Twilley Vice President for Research and Economic Development

April 06, 2023

BATON ROUGE – Today, LSU named Robert Twilley the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, pending approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors. Twilley has been serving as the Interim Vice President since October 2022, and is widely known as an expert in the field of coastal and environmental sciences.

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“Robert’s leadership as the Interim Vice President has already made a positive impact on our research endeavors,” LSU President William F. Tate IV said. “The Vice President for Research and Economic Development is one of our most critical positions, as research is one of LSU’s core missions and the economic development that we bring to the state is vital to Louisiana. A new study shows that LSU’s economic impact on our state equates to $6.1 billion each year. It is absolutely essential that we have the right person for this job, and Robert’s expertise in this area is exactly what LSU and Louisiana need.”

Twilley is the founder and former director of the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio and has been a professor in the Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences for nearly two decades. He also served as the Vice President for Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and as Executive Director of Louisiana Sea Grant.

“Robert Twilley is one of our most accomplished and experienced researchers, with more than $25 million in grants and nearly 200 publications. He brings a wealth of experience from his time working both in our research office and as the Vice President for Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as well as a decade as Director of Sea Grant working around Louisiana,” said LSU Executive Vice President & Provost Roy Haggerty. “LSU is well positioned to advance our Scholarship First Agenda and our mission to help Louisiana develop economically with Dr. Twilley as our leader in research and economic development.”

Twilley holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from East Carolina University, a Ph.D. in systems ecology from the University of Florida, and conducted his post-doctoral studies in coastal oceanography at the University of Maryland. He has received numerous awards for his teaching and research, has published extensively on wetland ecology and global climate change, and has been involved in developing ecosystem models coupled with engineering designs to develop coastal and wetland ecosystem restoration projects.

“It is a great honor to serve LSU as Vice President for Research and Economic Development,” Twilley said. “LSU has tremendous research opportunities associated with the Scholarship First Agenda and Pentagon Priorities to serve the state and the nation. It is very important to build a research experience at LSU that serves research and creative works across all disciplines. And it is our mission as a land-, sea- and space-grant university to connect our research to improving the social well-being of Louisiana. I look forward to supporting that research mission.”

Twilley has received a number of distinguished grants and awards for his research including the 2021 LSU Rainmaker Senior Scholar Award, National Wetland Award by Environmental Law Institute, and research distinction by International Society of Wetland Biogeochemistry. He has served on multiple professional advisory councils and boards including past president of the Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation.