Scripps Welcomes Margaret Leinen as Director

UC San Diego welcomes Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., as Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Dean of the School of Marine Sciences. Dr. Leinen is a highly distinguished, award-winning oceanographer and an accomplished executive with extensive national and international experience in ocean science, global climate and environmental issues, federal research administration, and non-profit startups.

With annual expenditures approaching $200 million and a fleet of four research vessels and research platform FLIP, Scripps encompasses physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans, earth, and atmosphere. Scripps offers graduate and undergraduate educational programs in marine biology, oceanography, and earth sciences.

Dr. Leinen officially joined UC San Diego on October 1, 2013.

“Dr. Leinen’s experience leading innovation and creating collaborative programs make her the right choice for Scripps and a key campus partner in implementing UC San Diego’s strategic plan,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Our strategic planning process has sharpened our mission to be a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university. Scripps is one of UC San Diego’s pillars of excellence whose fundamentals are extremely strong.” 

To balance support for basic research with support for applied science and education programs, Scripps continues to cultivate excellence in basic science, pioneer applications to real-world problems, initiate and maintain fundamental earth, ocean, polar, and atmospheric observations, and remain at the forefront of modeling and interpretation. Increasingly, understanding and solving the questions of basic and applied science require integration with social sciences and other fields. Educating the public, expanding ties to the broader community, and enhancing diversity within its ranks are core principles at Scripps.

“I am honored to be chosen as Scripps Director and UC San Diego Vice Chancellor,” said Dr. Leinen. “I am excited by the combination of Scripps’s 110 years of research and educational excellence and UC San Diego’s culture of interdisciplinary innovation.”

Dr. Leinen joins UC San Diego continuing an impressive academic and administrative career. She served for seven years at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as Assistant Director for Geosciences and Coordinator of Environmental Research and Education. She oversaw a budget of $700 million, led government-wide planning for climate research, and co-led government planning for ocean research.

While at NSF, she presided over and directly influenced some of the most consequential programs in marine, atmospheric, and earth science. She is currently Executive Director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and Associate Provost of Marine and Environmental Initiatives at Florida Atlantic University, and earlier served as an academic leader at the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Leinen is president-elect of the American Geophysical Union, chair of the Federal Ocean Research Advisory Panel, and vice chair of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

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