Science & Tech

David Korn named University’s vice provost for research;

4 min read

Longtime leader in research policy and science administration

David Korn, a former Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine long known as a leader in research policy and science
administration, will become the University’s vice provost for research,
Provost Steven E. Hyman today announced.

A distinguished pathologist who was at Stanford for more than a decade, Korn has served since 1997
in senior roles at the Association of American Medical Colleges, where
he is now the chief scientific officer.

In his new role at Harvard, starting full time on Nov. 15, he will
have broad responsibility for the review, development, and
implementation of policies related to the conduct of academic research,
especially in the sciences, and to aspects of the University’s
relations with industry. He will also work with the provost, the deans,
the executive vice president, and others to identify and ease practical
impediments to interdisciplinary collaboration in research, as Harvard
increasingly pursues academic ventures involving multiple Schools,
departments, and affiliated institutions whose policies and practices
sometimes vary in ways that can constrain opportunities for cooperative

“David Korn’s appointment represents an important milestone in our
effort to assure that our research policies reflect core academic
values and enable researchers throughout the Harvard community to do
their most creative and productive work,” said Hyman. “Especially at a
time when Harvard is experimenting with new collaborative models of
learning and discovery, we have an obligation to consider how our array
of research policies, both as framed and as implemented, can best
promote cooperative effort within the University and how they can
appropriately balance the complex of considerations bearing on our
relationships with government, industry, and others. David Korn’s
thoughtfulness, expertise, and deep experience at the nexus of research
and policy will contribute greatly to our intensified efforts in this

Among other things, Korn is expected to take the lead in convening a
University-wide research policy committee, which will bring together
key faculty and administrators from different parts of Harvard to
review existing institutional policies bearing on the conduct of
research and consider ways to enhance and supplement them. He will also
work with faculty and with administrative colleagues in government
affairs, sponsored research, technology licensing, and other domains to
sustain sound and appropriate relations with industry and with private
and government agencies involved with academic research.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to Harvard, which
gave me the solid foundation upon which I have built my career,” said
Korn. “Even more, I see this job as arguably the most challenging of my
career, because it does not, like most such posts, come with its own
history, roadmap, or culture.”

A graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School who
trained in pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Korn has
served since January 2008 as chief scientific officer of the
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which represents
America’s medical schools and many of its major teaching hospitals in
Washington, D.C. Previously, starting in September 1997, he was the
AAMC’s senior vice president for biomedical and health sciences

Korn was the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professor and dean of the
Stanford University School of Medicine from 1984 to 1995, also serving
from 1986 to 1995 as Stanford’s vice president for medical affairs.
Before becoming dean, he was professor and chairman of the Department
of Pathology at Stanford, and chief of the Pathology Service at the
Stanford University Hospital. He is a past chairman of the Stanford
University Committee on Research as well as a past president of the
American Association of Pathologists (now the American Society for
Investigative Pathology), from which he received a lifetime achievement
award in 2004. He has served on a wide array of boards and committees
related to science and research policy, and from 1984 to 1991 chaired
the National Cancer Advisory Board.

A founder and chairman of the board of the California Transplant
Donor Network, Korn more recently helped to found the Association for
the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, a nonprofit
corporation created to enhance and standardize the protection of human
participants in medical and other scientific research. He is a member
of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and was a founding
member of its Clinical Research Roundtable.