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June 29, 2018 - The University of Kentucky Office of the Vice President for Research, with approval by the Board of Trustees, selected Richard C. Ausness, Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Stites & Harbison Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, as the college’s University Research Professor for the 2018-19 academic year.

A UK Law Committee chaired by Melynda J. Price, UK Law University Research Professor for the 2017-18 academic year and William L. Matthews, Jr. Professor of Law, and comprised of Professors Robert Schwemm and Louise Graham, reviewed a highly competitive pool of candidates.  They chose Professor Ausness as the college’s nominee because his application most clearly met the goals of the University Research Professor Award. Upon recommendation by the UK Law Committee, Professor Ausness submitted a thorough application for consideration to the University’s selection committee. 

 “He was chosen not simply because of his scholarly record, but also because of the creativity of his current research agenda,” said Professor Price.  “His current work on opioid litigation has contributed to the national conversation and is of particular interest to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its citizens.”   

The UK Board of Trustees established the University Research Professorships in 1976 to recognize outstanding research achievements. The University Research Professors Program was revised to meet the overall objective of UK’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.  The program distinguishes excellence across the full spectrum of research, scholarship, and creative endeavors within each college that nominates a faculty member. Each University Research Professor receives a one-year award of $10,000 to be used to further their research, scholarship and creative endeavors.

“The impact of these faculty to the University, and to the Commonwealth, cannot be overstated. They are shining examples of the tireless work that is moving the research enterprise forward, creating new knowledge, discovering new cures, and empowering the next generation of scientists and scholars under their mentorship to change their world for the better,” according to Lisa Cassis, Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky.

“I was honored and gratified to be chosen by the Vice-President for Research as a University Research Professor,” said Professor Ausness.  “I applaud the University Administration for encouraging and supporting research in this way.  Research and scholarship have always been an important part of my fifty-year academic career.  Not only do I find my research to be immensely creative and satisfying, but I hope that it provides a positive benefit to the public.” 

Professor Ausness’ current research agenda is concerned with opioid litigation, and the opioid addiction epidemic more generally.  “Hopefully my work can make a small contribution toward solving this terrible social problem,” said Professor Ausness.

Professor Ausness has been a member of the UK College of Law Faculty for 45 years.  He has written and made a scholarly impact in several areas of law, including water and environmental law, products liability, land use and legal history.  His work in these areas has been impactful.  His scholarship has been well received by practicing lawyers and the legal academy alike.  His scholarship has been cited by courts, including the United States Supreme Court, treatises and law reviews more than 1,500 times.  He has recently been interviewed by and quoted in various magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, London Financial Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Washington Times, Miami Herald, (Canada) Globe and Mail, National Law Journal and USA Today.  He has also appeared on several radio and television programs, including BBC, RTI (Russian State Television), CBS News Sunday Morning, PRI, and Canadian television.

Fourteen University Research Professors were recognized for their accomplishments at a spring reception hosted by UK President Eli Capilouto.