Runge named associate dean for research at UW–Madison CALS

Dean Glenda Gillaspy has named Troy Runge, professor and current chair in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, as the next associate dean for research in the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The associate dean for research serves as the chief research officer charged with advancing and growing the college’s $166 million research portfolio. In this role, Runge will oversee the Research Division, Agricultural Research Stations, the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station and represent Wisconsin in the North Central Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors.

“I am excited to have Troy serve as our associate dean for research,” says Gillaspy. “He brings significant on-campus leadership experience as a department chair and former director of the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, as well as significant industry experience having worked for Kimberly-Clark Corporation for 14 years. I look forward to the new perspectives he will bring to the college’s leadership team.”

Runge, who received a PhD in paper science and engineering from Georgia Tech University, studies bioenergy — specifically the impact of biomass composition of bioprocessing systems — and biomaterials including pulp, paper and cellulose composites. His work has been funded by NSF, DOE, USDA, the US Forest Service and industry partners. He has been awarded 31 patents during his career. An award winning teacher, Runge’s courses include “Renewable Energy Systems,” “Food and Bioprocessing Operations” and “Engineering Principles for Biological Systems.”

“I appreciate this opportunity to expand research opportunities for our college and university,” says Runge. “I believe there is untapped potential in developing research hubs and large multidisciplinary centers. I want to use my experience promoting our research and developing research initiatives to accelerate ideas that can improve the lives of the people of Wisconsin and beyond.”

Runge has deep ties within the state. He grew up on a dairy farm and received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Stevens Point prior to accepting a position at Kimberly-Clark Corporation – one of Wisconsin’s Fortune 500 companies. He served as the first chair of the UW–Madison Dairy Innovation Hub steering committee.

Runge will assume the role on April 1, 2023. His office will be located in Ag Hall. Senior Associate Dean Mark Rickenbach has been serving as the interim associate dean for research since Bill Barker retired in 2021.