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SyracuseCoE has new executive director

By Eric Reinhardt (


Jensen Zhang
Jianshun (Jensen) Zhang is the new director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence Environmental and Energy Systems. He begins his new role on Friday. (Photo credit: Syracuse University news website)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University has named Jianshun (Jensen) Zhang as the new executive director of the Syracuse Center of Excellence (SyracuseCoE) in Environmental and Energy Systems.

The SyracuseCoE is located at 727 E. Washington St. in Syracuse.

Zhang, a longtime professor in Syracuse’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), begins in that role on Friday, which is July 1.

Ramesh Raina — interim VP in the university’s Office of Research — announced Zhang’s appointment to the renewable three-year term. Zhang will lead research activity and operations at the downtown SyracuseCoE building and serve as principal investigator for the New York State Department of Economic Development contract that provides the center’s annual operating funds, per the Syracuse University announcement.

Zhang will assume the role from Eric Schiff, who has served as SyracuseCoE interim executive director since May 2020. Schiff is also chair of the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

A professor of physics at Syracuse since 1981, Schiff has led interdisciplinary research groups and collaborations with laboratories from other universities and private organizations the world over.

“We extend much gratitude to Professor Schiff for maintaining the integrity of SyracuseCoE operations and its research momentum these past two challenging years. The university is extremely appreciative of the steady hand and thoughtful guidance he provided during a time when focus on both the importance of indoor air quality and the impacts of climate change experienced heightened world attention and concern,” Raina said.

Zhang, who has more than 30 years of research experience in built environmental systems, also retains his position as a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and his role as one of three co-leaders of the university’s Energy and Environment research cluster and is its lead on the Heathy and Intelligent Built Environments subcluster. He will report to the university’s VP of research.

The SyracuseCoE works with more than 200 private companies, organizations and academic institutions to create new products and services in indoor environmental quality, clean and renewable energy, and water-resource management, Syracuse said. Its research areas include systems that monitor and control comfortable air temperature, air quality, lighting, sound and water quality in built and urban environments, and innovative energy systems, including clean technologies and renewable-fuel sources.




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