Bernhard to step down as VP for research in June 2022

Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame, has announced that he will not seek reappointment when his term ends June 30. A search committee is being convened to identify a successor.

Elected to the role in May 2007 after joining Notre Dame from Purdue University, Bernhard will have completed three five-year terms when he steps down next year. His charge when assuming the newly created post was to help bring to life the vision of University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., for Notre Dame to be one of the pre-eminent research institutions in the world while remaining true to its Catholic identity.

“An accomplished researcher himself, Bob helped elevate the University’s research programs by nearly tripling our research expenditures and creating an infrastructure that provides the facilities, services and resources our faculty need to bring their most creative ideas to fruition and, in so doing, be a force for good in the world,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “It is our good fortune that we have one more academic year to benefit from his leadership, as well as his support, as we begin a deliberate search process ahead of next year’s transition.”

A search for a new vice president for research will commence in the coming weeks, and the committee leading these efforts will include faculty as well as a representative of the University’s graduate and professional students. Committee members will recruit, screen and interview a diverse pool of candidates before making a recommendation to Father Jenkins.

Under Bernhard’s leadership, the University has become one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the nation, with research award funding for fiscal year 2021 topping $222 million. Notre Dame Research supports and encourages innovation in more than 40 core facilities and resources as well as in a number of key areas of research, scholarship and creative endeavor. Beyond the strong faculty engagement in these programs, participation is also central to undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral education at Notre Dame. More than one-third of all undergraduate students participate in original research across all seven colleges and schools.

“It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to serve in this role for 15 years. It is the job I was born to do,” Bernhard said. “I came to Notre Dame at a window in time that fit my background and experience. I have been fortunate to work with outstanding leaders, enthusiastic, talented and receptive faculty, and staff in Notre Dame Research who are second to none.”

A full professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Bernhard is one of the nation’s leading experts on noise control and a frequent consultant to industry and government. He holds two patents and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In addition, Bernhard is the president of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering, is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and was named a distinguished noise control engineer by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering USA in 2003. He has served on the board of directors for Cummins Inc. since 2008.


Contact: Joanne D. Fahey, director of research communications,, 574-631-9762

Originally published by Cidni Sanders at on September 07, 2021.