Johnson to lead system focus on university reasearch A North Dakotan with extensive experience in public- and private-sector research, as well as the academic world, will join the South Dakota Board of Regents as its system vice president of research. Gary E. Johnson begins his duties in Pierre next month. â�?�?Dr. Johnsonâ�?�?s professional experience and qualifications are an ideal match with the work we are doing here to build the research profile of our public universities,â�? said Regentsâ�?�? Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. Johnson will serve as the boardâ�?�?s point person on initiatives aimed at translating more university-based research into positive economic development for South Dakota, Perry said. Johnson is currently the interim vice president for research at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and oversees that universityâ�?�?s research enterprise valued in excess of $100 million, in addition to holding the portfolio of the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). He also holds appointments at UND as professor of earth system science and policy and adjunct professor of geography. In addition to his academic work, Johnson has worked for state and federal government, the United Nations Environment Programme, a not-for-profit corporation, and private-sector aerospace contractors. â�?�?He is certainly no stranger to South Dakota, as he held management positions at the EROS Data Center, has been an adjunct faculty member in geography and remote sensing at SDSU, and worked with School of Mines personnel while associated with NASAâ�?�?s Stennis Space Center,â�? Perry said. Johnson also served as executive officer with the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium, and has had numerous contacts with officials involved in the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory project at Homestake and South Dakotaâ�?�?s EPSCoR program. He holds a Ph.D. in geography and regional economics from Indiana State University, along with undergraduate and graduate degrees in geography from the University of North Dakota.