UAF names Geophysical Institute director

Release Date: 
Monday, September 5, 2011



CONTACT: Amy Hartley, GI information officer, 907-474-5823,

Fairbanks, Alaska—After a vigorous vetting process, the University of Alaska Fairbanks selected Robert “Bob” McCoy as the Geophysical Institute’s new director. McCoy will be the seventh scientist to the hold the post since the institute was established in Fairbanks in 1946.

McCoy has more than 15 years of research experience as a space scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory and 15 years of administrative experience at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA where he is the Team Leader for Space Science and Technology. Currently, he also serves as the Technical Director for the Operationally Responsive Space Office in Albuquerque, NM. 

 “After an extensive international search, I am pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Robert McCoy,” said UAF Vice Chancellor for Research Mark Myers.  “McCoy's broad scientific background, combined with his extensive program management experience, makes him the ideal choice to lead the strategic growth of the Geophysical Institute.”

McCoy has overseen multi-million dollar operating budgets and managed interdisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers, contractors and students throughout his career. An advocate of education, including K-12 outreach, McCoy is well suited for his new role at the GI, which includes a diverse mix of research covering topics from the center of Earth to the surface of the sun and beyond.

McCoy received the NRL 75th Anniversary Innovator Award in 1998. He earned then Alan Berman Publication Award in 1994 and 2001. Additionally, he received the NRL Group Achievement Award in 1983, the NASA Group Achievement Award in 2004 and the Rotary International Stellar Award in 2010.

The Geophysical Institute’s new director earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University; a master’s degree in physics from Texas A&M University and McCoy completed his doctorate in Astro-Geophysics at the University of Colorado in 1981.

“I’ve always admired the GI and it seems to be in the right place at the right time. It’s very exciting to see all of the research areas becoming hot topics right now,” McCoy said by phone from New Mexico. “I see a lot of opportunities for the GI to excel even more.”

Robert McCoy will begin his new position on West Ridge in October 2011.

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ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or via e-mail at