Q&A: Kramer plans to boost university research efforts

Q&A: Kramer plans to boost university research efforts

By Jonny Manousaridis, news correspondent

Shortly before joining the ranks of R1 top-tier research institutions, Northeastern University (NU) hired a new senior vice provost for research to boost its ever-growing portfolio.

Arthur F. Kramer, set to arrive on campus in May, clocked over 25 years of experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he headed interdisciplinary research efforts at the university’s Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. Kramer also had a variety of works published and used by the likes of the Today Show and Saturday Night Live.

Kramer told The News how he plans to apply his previous knowledge and contribute to the university’s research repertoire.

The Huntington News: When did you decide to come to Northeastern?

Arthur F. Kramer: I guess it was four or five months ago. My wife and I had been looking for possible places to move to from UIUC and interviewed here. I liked what I saw in terms of where the university is going and the people I’d be working with. I made a decision to accept an offer.

HN: What’s your area of specialty?

AK: I study how the brain changes across the lifespan and what we can do about those things we wish didn’t happen, either if we have a disease or as we get older and maybe don’t quite have the memory we wish we had.

HN: Is there one thing you learned at Illinois that you want to bring to Northeastern?

AK: In Illinois, about 27 years ago, we opened a new interdisciplinary research institute called the Beckman Institute that, at its time, was very unique. I’ve learned a lot over the years both directing the institute and being a faculty member in an institute with faculty members and students from 53 departments and 11 colleges. That includes physical sciences, life sciences, engineering, behavioral sciences, even some performing arts and other professions.

HN: What does your new position at Northeastern entail?

AK: It involves working with the students, the faculty, staff and the deans to guide the research future of Northeastern and along with that graduate education.

HN: Do you enjoy writing, teaching or research more and why?

AK: My favorite thing to do is to work with young people and give them the opportunities I’ve had over the years. So even though I will be an administrator in part at Northeastern as I am at Illinois, I will continue to work with students, with staff and with young faculty members to make sure I can get them on the right road.

HN: What’s one thing you want students to know about you before you come on campus?

AK: I think many students at Northeastern perhaps are like me. They didn’t come from traditional academic backgrounds. I did not, neither of my parents went to college. But I think if you work hard and you have good mentors, you can actually achieve quite a bit. And I know that’s what Northeastern wants for its students.  

Photo courtesy @AlumniNU, Twitter

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