Erik Loehr appointed Director of Research
Loehr was recently appointed to the position of Director of Research for the University of Missouri College of Engineering (COE). Loehr, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, has served as interim director of research for close to five years.
He joined the MU faculty in January 1998 after receiving his graduate degree from the University of Texas. While he loves teaching and research, he says he has a knack for federal appropriations and enjoys working with COE faculty to acquire federal support for their research. The job primarily consists of serving as advocate for COE appropriations requests and serving as liaison among faculty members, university federal relations staff, industry partners, and our congressional delegation.
“The process is complicated, but I seem to have an affinity for it,” Loehr said.
Loehr compares the appropriation process to the cartoon “Schoolhouse Rock” that explains how a bill becomes a law. The process is extremely complicated and takes a lot of time, but obtaining support directly from Congress has been an effective means of funding numerous research and service programs with the college.
Over the last several years, more than $30 million has been obtained for engineering programs in the areas of geospatial intelligence, nanomaterials, pulsed-power systems, and various other areas.
And Loehr enjoys what he does. “I want the college to be successful in everything it does and federal appropriations are an important means to acquire support for our innovative faculty and staff,” he said.
On Nov. 17, Loehr hosted a seminar in Lafferre Hall to describe the appropriations process, to discuss alternative political strategies for obtaining support, and to inform faculty of effective marketing strategies.
“The process is always changing, but it basically comes down to the fact that you have to show that your project is appealing and worthwhile,” Loehr said.
He enjoys watching how appropriations can be used to blossom fledgling ideas into robust, self-sustaining programs like the Center for Geospatial Intelligence and International Center for Nano/Micro Systems and Nanotechnology. “Federal appropriations enable us to do things we otherwise couldn’t,” Loehr said.
Loehr said he looks forward to the future projects that will develop into self-sustaining entities and solve important problems that will provide significant benefit to society.