University of Notre Dame announces new associate vice president for research development

Author: Joanne Fahey

Patricia Clark

Patricia L. Clark, Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Chemistry and director of the Biophysics Instrumentation Core Facility, has been named an associate vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame, effective July 1, 2021. Clark will be responsible for research development, including assisting faculty in developing a successful research portfolio, collaborating with federal and military research agency advisors, and leading a team of proposal development specialists.

In discussing the role, Clark said, “As a faculty member who also runs an extramurally-funded experimental research lab, I am excited to work with the wider Notre Dame Research (NDR) Development and Administration teams in order to help connect faculty to emerging funding opportunities while also continuing to grow as a scholar in my field.” Clark continued, “I am eager to continue the tremendous positive trajectory we are on for research growth at Notre Dame.” 

Clark, who has been on the Notre Dame faculty since 2001, is a biochemist whose research laboratory uses a wide range of biophysical and other approaches to investigate protein folding in the cell. While at Notre Dame, she has received over $14 million in research funding. From 2013-2018, Clark led a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research network comprised of eight laboratories spanning seven different universities. Currently, research in her laboratory is funded by grants from NIH and the W. M. Keck Foundation. Clark founded the Biophysics Graduate Program in 2018, which she then led until 2021. Clark has received multiple awards throughout her career, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award and the Barany Award from the Biophysical Society. She has also twice received Notre Dame’s Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. 

“I am thrilled to welcome Patricia to the NDR team as our new associate vice president for research development,” said Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. “Her perspective as an active researcher with extensive federal funding, both historic and active, will be invaluable both to our early career faculty, who will look to her and her team for mentoring, and to our senior faculty contemplating multi-investigator, multi-university grants and contracts.” 

Notre Dame Research’s Development Team assists faculty in developing a successful research portfolio. The team provides faculty with expert guidance on connecting to potential resources, collaborators, and funding, as well as cultivating relationships with federal, state, and corporate funding agencies. The team also serves Notre Dame faculty by helping to develop high quality, competitive proposals that lead to success. As part of the proposal development services offered by Notre Dame Research, the Development Team assists individual faculty or faculty teams with complex proposals, including reviews by technical experts.

Clark will replace Richard E. Billo, professor of computer science and engineering, who has served in the role since 2013. Billo contributed significantly to the dramatic growth of research awards during this period, helping to double award funding from over $90 million to over $180 million in 2019, in addition to driving a dynamic internal awards program.

“Richard’s responsibilities included assisting faculty in identifying research funding opportunities and then helping them to secure funding from those opportunities,” said Bernhard. “Richard has been an integral part of, and in some cases the leader of, the efforts that have enabled our substantial growth. I want to personally thank him for his efforts on behalf of the University.”

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see

Originally published by Joanne Fahey at on June 17, 2021.