UH announces leadership transition at research center

University of Hawaiʻi
Vassilis L. Syrmos, (808)956-5006
VP for Research and Innovation, Office of the VP for Research and Innovation
Eric R. Matsunaga, (808)956-5588
Director, Research & Administrative Operations, Office of the VP for Research and Innovation
Posted: Jan 30, 2015

Michael Vitale
Michael Vitale
Margo Edwards
Margo Edwards


January 30, 2015

HONOLULU – Effective May 1, 2015, retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Michael C. Vitale will be stepping down as executive director of the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai`i (ARL/UH). Margo H. Edwards, currently technical director of ocean environmental effects at ARL/UH, will assume duties as interim director.  Daniel Ishii, UH associate vice president for research, will serve as the laboratory’s interim associate director (uncompensated). 

“Admiral Vitale has been instrumental in helping the Navy understand the types of world-class research conducted at UH and the cost-effectiveness of engaging our talented researchers to meet national security needs,” said David Lassner, president of the University of Hawai`i.

Vitale, who has held the post since 2012, helped to negotiate and secure the Navy’s current contract with UH for an additional five years and added two new core competencies:  mission-related research and development and alternative energy.  ARL/UH is the only Navy University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) with alternative energy as a core capability, providing a long-term sustainable base of Navy funding.  ARL/UH has been awarded numerous energy-related task orders to support grid modernization and ocean wave-energy testing and support, performed primarily by UH Mānoa’s Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute.

“Admiral Vitale significantly increased the awareness of ARL/UH among the Navy, Department of Defense sponsors and local state agencies to help bring in more than $16 million in new funding for the lab,” said Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation.  “We are grateful for his dedication and stewardship of ARL/UH during its critical startup period.”

Edwards, a senior research scientist at UH Mānoa’s Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, has recently conducted investigations of the Arctic Basin and research on the effects of ocean-disposed World War II-era munitions in Hawai`i. Edwards also served as center director of the UH-based U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Center of Excellence for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security (CIMES), where she managed a university-private industry partnership to enhance maritime domain awareness, particularly in the Arctic, sub-Arctic and other remote and extreme environments.  She received her doctoral degree in marine geology and geophysics from Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University in 1992.

About ARL/UH

The Applied Research Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi was established in July 2008 as a Navy sponsored laboratory to provide research, development, test and evaluation, system engineering, and other engineering capabilities essential to the Navy and the Department of Defense.  It is one of 13 University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) within the Department of Defense and the fifth of five centers contracted with the Navy.

The contract with the Navy is a sole-source mechanism that the Navy and other government agencies can use to fund ARL researchers at UH in approved research areas. For more information on ARL/UH, visit: http://www.hawaii.edu/arl/