As Case Western Reserve University’s inaugural senior vice president for research and technology management, Oakes oversees all aspects of the university’s $450 million research enterprise and technology transfer program. He is the Veale Professor of Technology Transfer and Commercialization and a tenured professor of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences in the CWRU School of Medicine.
He leads a regional ‘Sustainable Manufacturing’ ecosystem program, supported by the National Science Foundation. Oakes is also leading the scientific aspects of the university’s forthcoming $300 million Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building, and he is creating a 40,000-square-foot technology commercialization incubator.
Prior to joining Case Western Reserve, Oakes served as the University of Minnesota’s interim vice president for research, leading its $1.1 billion research enterprise. From 2019 to 2021, Oakes served as associate vice president for research, shepherding a 31% increase in research funding, fueled by COVID-19 related grants. Oakes is also founder and director of the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported program designed to elevate the impact of historically disadvantaged scholars.
Oakes is a highly collaborative social epidemiologist whose interdisciplinary research has focused on three main areas: research methodology, social epidemiology and research ethics. Collaborations include biomanufacturing sciences, computer, material and aeronautic engineering, health care and health sciences, climate change prevention, and social and behavioral research. Oakes has published more than 150 scientific papers and co-authored the leading textbook in his area.