June 28, 2021
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Dr. Daryush Ila, a trained researcher whose work has received more than $78 million in grant funding, has been named the vice president for innovation and research at the University of West Georgia.

Dr. Daryush Ila

Currently serving as associate vice chancellor for research at Fayetteville State University (FSU), Ila will assume the new role on July 12 to build upon UWG’s current strengths and elevate its research and scholarship activity.

Dr. Jon Preston, UWG’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, announced the appointment to the university community earlier today, expressing gratitude to the seven-member team of faculty and staff – led by Dr. Jill Drake, associate vice president for academic affairs – who conducted the nationwide search.

“Dr. Ila will bring a wealth of experience to our research enterprise at the University of West Georgia and will accelerate our positive trajectory in pursuit of constant innovation,” Preston said. “As a proven leader who has advanced the areas he’s overseen, we are eager for his thought-partnership and expertise as we remain committed to the curation of a first-choice university for all our stakeholders.”

As vice president, Ila will work collaboratively with faculty, staff and administration to expand scholarship, creative activity and research; increase external funding and expenditures; and coordinate key research and sponsored activity with graduate and honors programming.

“It is a great honor to be named the inaugural Vice President for Innovation and Research at the University of West Georgia,” Ila said. “I am invigorated by the opportunity to contribute to the vision outlined in the strategic plan of evolving the university in service to students.”

As a senior officer in the Division of Academic Affairs, Ila will also oversee the university’s institutes and research centers with emphasis on regional and state economic development. UWG is a significant contributor to the region’s economy, with a $632 million economic impact that has grown 54 percent over the past decade.

“I look forward to building upon the great foundation of research work at UWG and setting innovations into motion to help strengthen the economies of both the institution and the communities we serve,” Ila said. “Leveraging our excellent students and faculty, we will be able to acquire more resources for innovation, including infrastructure and equipment, to position the university as a research leader among our peers.”

Ila earned his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from the University of Massachusetts, his master's degree in physics with a specialization in nuclear structure and instrumentation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his bachelor's degree in physics from Tehran University. 

Prior to joining Fayetteville State, he served as a professor of physics at Alabama A&M University for more than a decade – co-founding the institution’s research institute – and an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama, as well as the executive director of the Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

Throughout his career, Ila has several notable accomplishments, including filing five patents in physics; securing a NASA Space Act Agreement; serving on the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation; and building unique strategic partnerships with private, public and federal sectors providing more than $140 million to the institutions he has served.