Eric A. Schiff Steps Down After Leading SyracuseCoE through Unprecedented Times

Following more than two years of excellent service, Eric Schiff has stepped down from his role as interim executive director of SyracuseCoE, with the appointment of Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang as executive director. Schiff took on the half-time position May 1 of 2020 and led the Center through the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. He provided careful thought leadership and captured opportunities to bolster critical research communications through webinars, research briefs and via local and national media, as scientists recognized that COVID-19 spreads indoors and swift indoor air quality innovation was needed.

Prior to his position at SyracuseCoE, he was the chair of the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences and has been a professor of physics at Syracuse University since 1981. The Center benefited from Schiff’s long history leading complex, multidisciplinary projects that require industry and academic collaboration to innovate energy-related problems through research, development and demonstrations. He has been a principal investigator for externally funded research projects from government agencies (Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Empire State Development Corp.) and corporations (United Solar Ovonic LLC, Boeing Inc., First Solar Inc. and SRC Inc.). From 2014-17, he was granted leave to serve as a program director at ARPA-E, an agency of the Department of Energy.

“There have been challenges, but also unprecedented opportunities to address the public health crisis through innovation, particularly in the indoor air quality and environmental systems arenas. Eric was instrumental in supporting SyracuseCoE researchers and companies to develop impactful solutions through technology and research innovations.” says Bing Dong, SyracuseCoE associate director. “It has been a privilege working with him and we thank him for his dedication, mentorship and leadership.”

As he returns to his full-time position in the physics department, Schiff will continue serving as principal investigator on SyracuseCoE’s EPIC Buildings Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.