Livermore lab office director new v.p. for research

By Kathy Barnard, WSU News

Keane-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Christopher Keane, director of the National Ignition Facility User Office at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is Washington State University’s new vice president for research. WSU President Elson S. Floyd announced the appointment, which becomes effective July 1, this morning.

“Chris brings the perfect combination of scientific achievement and experience working with the national research infrastructure to this position,” said Floyd. “He is a prolific scientist in his own right, and he has a proven track record of building highly successful research programs. I appreciate his vision for moving the WSU research enterprise to the next level.”

Keane said he is excited about the possibilities for building on WSU’s already robust research programs.

“There is a great range of research activities at WSU, and based on the capabilities I’ve seen there also is a terrific opportunity for growth,” he said. “The president and leadership team are committed to growing the research enterprise, and there are many possibilities for growing research partnerships internally as well as locally, regionally and nationally, true to the institution’s land-grant mission.”

He said he will dedicate his first months on the job to listening: “The first thing I want to do is sit down with representatives from the full range of WSU programs and learn.”

Yogendra Gupta, Regents professor and director of WSU’s Institute for Shock Physics, chaired the national search that led to Keane’s selection.

“All of us on the search committee are delighted that Dr. Keane will be joining WSU and look forward to his leadership to measurably enhance research and creative endeavors across the institution,” Gupta said.

The Carnegie Foundation classifies WSU as a “very high research activity” university, and the National Science Foundation ranks WSU 68th in research and development in the nation. WSU’s research and development portfolio is approximately $336 million.

Keane leads the user office of the National Ignition Facility – the world’s most energetic laser – at LLNL and works with a user group of approximately 400 members. He has worked at the lab since 2007, following positions of increasing responsibility with the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration 1996-2007. His last position, 2004-2007, at the DOE NNSA was assistant deputy administrator for inertial confinement fusion and the NIF Project.

An astrophysicist by training, Keane has authored more than 100 scientific publications. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a recipient of the NNSA Silver Medal, the Defense Programs Award of Excellence and the Fusion Power Associates Special Award. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University and holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and engineering from the University of Rochester.

Keane’s wife, Kelly, will join WSU as a project manager in Facilities Services. The Keanes have two school-age children.

Floyd thanked the members of the search committee and Nancy Magnuson, who has served as vice president for research on an interim basis.



Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, 509-335-8055,