Leadership

Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation

Dr. Elizabeth “Betsy” Cantwell leads the Office for Research, Innovation and Impact, which includes the Corporate Engagement Program, Tech Launch Arizona, the Forge and the UArizona research parks.

She is responsible for expanding the university’s capacity for knowledge creation and discovery; integrating efforts by faculty, students, staff and executive leaders to move inventions and technologies to the marketplace; increasing the university’s connectivity with external collaborators; spearheading industry and public partnerships; and increasing total research funding.

Dr. Cantwell joined the University of Arizona after successfully serving as the CEO of Arizona State University Research Enterprise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the university’s applied research and development.  Previously she served as ASU’s vice president for research development. During her tenure in that role, annual research expenditures grew by more than $150 million to a total of $610 million.  

Prior to ASU, Cantwell worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where she was director for economic development. Prior to working at LLNL, she served in strategic leadership roles at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

She has a long career in space systems engineering, from satellite development to life support systems, and sits on the National Academies Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.  She holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley

John O'Neil

Chief of Staff / Officer, Security/Defense Facilities

John O’Neil is Chief of Staff to the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the university this Summer, Dr. O’Neil spent more than 15 years in various leadership roles in the National Security Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and more than a decade in the intelligence community. Before Oak Ridge, John spent seven years in research administration at Virginia Tech, leading federal agency relations and research development.  John did his undergraduate studies in agricultural economics and public affairs at Cornell University, and his graduate work in education research at Virginia Tech.

Sangita Pawar

Vice President of Operations

Sangita Pawar is the Vice President of Operations at Research, Innovation and Impact. Dr. Pawar has extensive operational and leadership experience. She has a successful track record of driving organizational and cultural transformation in historically conservative educational and clinical settings. She has a PhD in Molecular Cellular Biology/Cancer Biology, a MSc in Microbiology, and a MBA with expertise in basic research, administration, and management. Prior to her current position, she was the Assistant Vice President for Research at the Division of Agriculture, Life & Veterinary Sciences & Cooperative Extension and Assistant Dean, Research for the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences since 2014. Before that she directed the UA College of Medicine Research Office for six years where she developed the basic and clinical research infrastructure.