November 01, 2011

Top China expert joins ASU academic leadership

Posted: November 01, 2011
Denis Fred Simon is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on science, technology and innovation in China.

Starting January 2012, Denis Fred Simon will be joining the senior leadership team at Arizona State University as vice provost for China Initiatives and Strategy. He also will hold the rank of Foundation Professor in the Department of Political Science and Global Studies.

"Dr. Simon will be working across the ASU academic leadership to expand as well as deepen the university's ongoing engagement with China's top universities, research institutes, think tanks, and key government agencies," said Elizabeth Capaldi, provost of ASU. 

Simon is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on science, technology and innovation in China. He joins ASU with a distinguished career in academia and business. In addition to holding traditional faculty appointments at MIT, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts U, and Penn State University, he has held senior administrative positions as dean of the Lally School of Management and Technology, provost of the Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce under SUNY, and most recently vice provost for International Affairs at the University of Oregon.  

In addition, he has spent more than seven years in management consulting, serving as director of the China Strategy Group and general manager of Andersen Consulting's China practice in Beijing, as well as president of Monitor Group China. In both roles, Simon's clients have included many of the world's leading multinational firms with significant manufacturing and R&D operations in China.

The author of numerous books and articles on contemporary Chinese science and technology affairs, Simon has served as an adviser to the UN, World Bank, OECD, the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation regarding S&T developments in the People's Republic of China. Currently, he serves as a member of the American Experts Group as part of the U.S.-China Innovation Dialogue under the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and China's Ministry of Science and Technology. He also is a member of the Board of Directors for the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation.

When asked about his reasons for joining ASU at this point in his career, Simon stated, "While ASU already is engaged with China, I believe that ASU is well-positioned to develop a more extensive, multi-faceted strategic partnership with China that will generate new, exciting educational and research opportunities for both students and faculty."

Having first visited Taiwan in 1976 and the China mainland in 1981, Simon's achievements and contributions to the enhancement of Sino-US relations have been well recognized by the PRC government at both the national and local levels. In 2006, Simon received the China National Friendship Award from Premier Wen Jiabao; this is the highest award given by the Chinese government to a foreign expert. He also was made an honorary citizen of the city of Dalian in NE China, where he also serves as "science and technology adviser" to the mayor of Dalian municipality.

Denis Simon holds a master's degree in Asian studies (1975) and a doctorate in political science (1980) from University of California-Berkeley. He received his bachelor's degree in Asian studies/political science from SUNY New Paltz in 1974.

According to President Michael Crow, "with the arrival of Denis Simon, the ASU not only gains a world class scholar on contemporary Chinese technology and business affairs, but we also have someone who can serve as a effective catalyst in working with our deans and program heads to forge a more coherent, cohesive strategy for working with various key Chinese agencies. Our hope is that Dr. Simon's knowledge of China' education and research landscape, along with the personal network he has built over the last three decades, will better allow us at ASU to leverage our array of relevant campus resources and intellectual assets to provide more mutually beneficial outcomes to both nations."