Office of Engineering Research Administration names new director

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Youyou Cheng, lead pre-award coordinator in the College of Engineering, has been named director of the Office of Engineering Research Administration (OERA).

Cheng joined OERA in September 2015 and has served as the lead pre-award coordinator since August 2016. She assumed the role of director-elect on September 1, effecting a smooth transition with current director Christine Wilson, who will retire in late October.

George Lesieutre, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering, said the college is lucky to have considerable depth of leadership talent in OERA. “Youyou Cheng brings to the position not only significant experience in all aspects of research administration, she recognizes the need to innovate and adapt to a changing research landscape, as well as the importance of having actual data to support decisions. This is the kind of forward-looking approach we need to continue to develop our professional staff and free our faculty members to do what they do best: defining research problems that matter, and pursuing timely solutions while educating students,” he said.

Cheng started her career as a researcher and transitioned to research administration in 2008, joining the Office for Sponsored Programs at the University of Georgia (UGA). Prior to coming to Penn State in 2015, she served as the grants manager for the College of Public Health at UGA.

Cheng believes her background as both a researcher and a research administrator will help her handle the challenges of her new position. “My goals are to lead OERA to continue providing effective pre- and post-award management, facilitate communication and collaborations, and develop metrics to help in strategic planning,” she said.

“The research office helps research happen,” she continued. “I want us to provide the best support we can so that the College of Engineering’s research efforts can continue to grow and have increased impact.”

Cheng holds a master of science degree in international business from South Bank University in London, U.K., and a master of arts degree in television studies from the University of Bristol in Bristol, U.K. She is certified as a research administrator by the Research Administrators Certification Council.