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or Cindy Clark or Mario Aquilera

Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., Named Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences at UC San Diego

FAU’s Associate Provost of Marine and Environmental Initiatives will Head to UC San Diego to Lead Scripps Institution of Oceanography

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (July 26, 2013) – FAU Harbor Branch announced today that Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., executive director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) and FAU’s associate provost of marine and environmental initiatives, has been named the vice chancellor for marine sciences, director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and dean of the School of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego. Her new post will begin in October.

“Scripps Institution of Oceanography is the oldest oceanographic institution in the United States and one of the two largest in the nation. It is an honor to be chosen to lead this distinguished internationally known program,” said Leinen. “I will be leaving FAU Harbor Branch knowing that the future of the institute is secure. The capital improvements and the commitment to new faculty will allow HBOI to continue to develop the exciting initiatives that are part of the strategic plan. And the recognition of HBOI’s role in the region, the nation and the world is strong.”

Among the developments during Leinen’s tenure at FAU Harbor Branch, the institution completed a $45 million capital improvement program that began when HBOI joined FAU and finalized a 2012-17 strategic plan highlighting several new research initiatives. An important new program of research and community engagement related to the Indian River Lagoon was begun, including the establishment of an Indian River Lagoon Observatory and the initiation of an annual Indian River Lagoon Symposium for the scientific and public communities.

FAU Harbor Branch’s Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture – a pilot facility using innovative techniques for multiple species aquaculture in the same system – was constructed and has been operating for nearly a year. In addition, the HBOI Foundation committed more than $6 million in philanthropic support for a program of faculty hiring.

“Florida Atlantic University has been extremely fortunate to benefit from Dr. Leinen’s leadership and I thank her for the distinguished service she has provided to our institution,” said Dennis J. Crudele, FAU’s acting president. “There is no doubt that the experience leading FAU Harbor Branch has prepared her well to continue her important work in ocean science and environmental issues with one of the world’s leading centers for global science research.”

During her tenure at FAU Harbor Branch, Leinen was elected to the presidency of the American Geophysical Union, where she will serve in high-level leadership positions through 2018. She was also named vice chair of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, formed as an independent entity to provide research and administrative leadership for the 10-year, $500 million research program funded by BP in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil leak disaster.

Prior to her role at FAU Harbor Branch, she spent nearly a decade at the National Science Foundation, providing executive leadership in advancing ocean and climate research, and also served as an academic leader at the University of Rhode Island.

Leinen is the founder and served as president of the Climate Response Fund, a nonprofit organization that works to foster discussion of climate engineering research and to decrease the risk that these techniques might be called on or deployed before they are adequately understood and regulated. Previously, she spent two years as the chief science officer of Climos, Inc., a startup focused on green technology for climate mitigation, where she developed a scientific research plan, recruited advisors and researchers, and stimulated international cooperation.

Prior to working in the nonprofit and private sectors, Leinen served for seven years at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She joined NSF in 2000 as assistant director for geosciences and coordinator of environmental research and education. She provided executive leadership for one of the seven units of NSF, oversaw a budget of $700 million, led government-wide planning for climate research, and co-led government planning for ocean research. Her duties included leadership of the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA). Much of her work at NSF involved identifying major new research infrastructure needs, advancing those needs, and successfully defending $1 billion in initiatives to the National Science Board for subsequent funding by Congress.

Leinen also has served academic leadership positions. At the University of Rhode Island, she was vice provost for marine and environmental programs and dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. She received a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree in geological oceanography from Oregon State University, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Illinois.

Leinen is past chair of the Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Science Section of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and is a past president of The Oceanography Society. She serves on the board of the National Council for Science and the Environment and served as vice chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and on the board on Global Change of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences.

She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the Geological Society of America, and has been awarded distinguished alumni awards from all three universities she attended as a student – University of Illinois, Oregon State University, and University of Rhode Island.

Leinen replaces Tony Haymet, who served as UC San Diego Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences from 2006 until his retirement from the administrative post at the end of 2012. He is currently a distinguished professor at UC San Diego.


About Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute :
Founded in 1971, Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is a research community of marine scientists, engineers, educators and other professionals focused on Ocean Science for a Better World. The institute drives innovation in ocean engineering, at-sea operations, drug discovery and biotechnology from the oceans, coastal ecology and conservation, marine mammal research and conservation, aquaculture, ocean observing systems and marine education. For more information, visit .

About  Scripps Institution of Oceanography :
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today in 65 countries. The institution has a staff of about 1,400, and annual expenditures of approximately $170 million from federal, state and private sources. Scripps operates robotic networks, and one of the largest U.S. academic fleets with four oceanographic research ships and one research platform for worldwide exploration. Learn more at 

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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