Song to step down as director of the EMS Energy Institute

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Chunshan Song has announced that he will step down as director of the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Energy Institute (EI) and will be leaving Penn State, effective June 30.

Chunshan Song will step down as director of the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) Energy Institute (EI) and will be leaving Penn State, effective June 30. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

“Chunshan has accomplished a great deal during his 14 years as director of the EMS Energy Institute and more than 30 years at Penn State," Lee Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, said. "During his tenure, he grew the institute to an $8 million per year enterprise through research coalitions and partnerships with industry, government and other universities. His diligent work has resulted in tremendous progress and has advanced the energy-focused research portfolio of the University, commonwealth and the nation.”

Along with his role as the director of EI, Song is a distinguished professor of fuel science and a professor of chemical engineering. He is also the founding director of the Penn State-Dalian Joint Center for Energy Research (JCER) and the founding director of the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

During his time at Penn State, Song has worked tirelessly to advance energy research and education at Penn State. He served on a seven-member energy task force at the University that resulted in the creation of 24 new faculty positions in strategic energy research areas; led the technical efforts to develop the Chevron-Penn State Technology Alliance; served as associate director of the Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE); played a leadership role in developing the new Initiative for Clean Carbon Energy; led technical efforts to develop the ConocoPhillips-Penn State National Energy Prize program; led development for the Penn State partnership with the DOE NETL Regional University Alliance; and significantly increased the national and international visibility and reputation of EI through strategic leadership.

Under his leadership, refereed journal publications from EI researchers per year increased five times and worldwide science citations to the journal publications of EI researchers per year increased eight times during 2007-19, based on the Web of Science.

Song’s major awards and honors include the George A. Olah Award, the Henry H. Storch Award, the American Chemical Society Fellow, the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award, the Herman Pines Award, Honorary Professor of Tianjin University and the Distinguished Professor and Faculty Scholar Medal at Penn State.

Song served as an elected chair of the American Chemical Society’s Fuel Chemistry Division and Petroleum Chemistry Division; chair of the International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization; co-chair of the North American Catalysis Society Biennial Meeting; and an advisory board member for research centers funded by both governmental agencies and industrial corporations, such as the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center, the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, the State Key Laboratory on Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, the Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy and Materials and the Saudi Aramco Research and Development Center. He also serves as editor-in-chief for Advances in Catalysis, and an advisory board member for multiple prestigious journals in the areas of catalysis, energy and fuels, carbon dioxide utilization, chemistry and chemical engineering.

Since joining Penn State in 1989, he has taught 12 different courses at undergraduate and graduate levels, advised 22 doctoral students and 15 master of science students; co-advised 18 doctoral students and 15 master of science students; supervised 30 postdoctoral scholars and 30 visiting scholars from 16 countries and advised 31 undergraduate students for their research in catalysis, energy and fuels.

A widely recognized leading scholar in catalysis and chemistry of energy and fuels research, Song has authored or co-authored more than 370 refereed journal papers and 30 book chapters; edited 13 books and 12 special issues of research journals; delivered 60 plenary or keynote lectures at conferences worldwide and given more than 290 invited lectures. He also holds eight patents.

Prior to joining Penn State, Song worked at Osaka Gas Company Research Center in Japan. He also held visiting professorships at international universities such as Imperial College London, Tsinghua University, Dalian University of Technology, Tianjin University, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Paris VI (now Sorbonne University).

Song received his doctorate and master of science in applied chemistry from Osaka University in Japan and his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Dalian University of Technology in China.

Effective in July, Song will become dean of the faculty of science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), one of the top universities in the world, according to Times Higher Education’s 2020 World University Rankings. CUHK is well-known for its achievements in scientific research and discovery. The faculty of science at CUHK presently has more than 250 faculty members and 3,000 students.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the director of the EMS Energy Institute for the last 14 years and also as a Penn State faculty member for more than three decades,” Song said. “I have really enjoyed working with faculty, staff, students and visiting scholars as well as the leaders at the department, institute, college and University levels at the University Park campus.”

Song wanted to personally thank all the current and former EI faculty members, particularly Harold Schobert and Alan Scaroni, former directors of EI; Yaw Yeboah and Sanjay Srinivasan, former and current chairs of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, respectively; current and former EI office staff, especially Bruce Miller and Kelly Rhoades; leadership in EMS, particularly Deans Bill Easterling and Lee Kump, Associate Deans Alan Scaroni and John Hellmann and the EMS staff, including Sue Lavan, Jennifer Lear, Rosie Long, John Barlett, and Patty Craig;  IEE Director Tom Richard; Vice Presidents for Research Neil Sharkey and Hank Foley and Senior Vice President for Research Eva Pell; Vice Provost Michael Adewumi; College of Engineering Deans David Wormley and Justin Schwartz and Associate Dean Anthony Atchley; Department of Chemical Engineering chairs Andrew Zydney and Phillip Savage; Institute of Natural Gas Research director Monty Alger; Earth and Environmental Systems Institute director Sue Brantley; Hydrogen Energy Center director, Bruce Logan; and numerous participating faculty members at Penn State.

“Of course, I will always cherish the memories of working with all of my current and former students, research associates, postdoctoral scholars, visiting scholars and collaborators inside and outside Penn State,” Song reflected. “Penn State is a truly inspiring place with wonderful people. Both our daughter and our son grew up in State College and graduated from Penn State; Penn State and State College will always hold a special place in our hearts. Building on the leadership skills I have developed through advancing energy research and building partnerships, in addition to teaching and advising at Penn State, I am looking forward to taking on new challenges in advancing science education, research and service as dean of the faculty of science at CUHK.” 


Last Updated May 21, 2020