• Press Release

March 8, 2021

Underwriters Laboratories Names Dr. Christopher J. Cramer as Chief Research Officer

Dr. Christopher J. CramerNorthbrook, Ill., – March 8, 2021 – Underwriters Laboratories today announced that Dr. Christopher J. Cramer has been selected as the organization’s senior vice president and chief research officer. An accomplished academic leader and longstanding faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Cramer currently serves as vice president for research. He is a Distinguished McKnight and University Teaching Professor and was appointed associate dean for Academic Affairs, and later for Research and Planning, for the College of Science and Engineering beginning in 2013. 

“The role of a chief research officer is critical to the success of Underwriters Laboratories, and we are delighted Chris will be at the research helm of our growing organization,” said Terrence R. Brady, president and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories. “We have a long-term vision and an unwavering commitment to building a safer, more secure society. As a next step, we’re working to advance our research capabilities and expand our world-class science faculty and standards development team. Dr. Cramer’s guidance will help us realize this vision as he leads our research efforts and also engages with stakeholders to address the complex safety challenges our society faces.”

Cramer was named to the position following a national search and will officially transition into his role as chief research officer of Underwriters Laboratories in June. “I have always been inspired by the public service mission of the University of Minnesota, and seeing that value mirrored in Underwriters Laboratories’ own commitment to benefit society through its dedication to advancing public safety was a key factor that drew me to this new opportunity,” said Cramer. “The ever-increasing pace of technological change requires a nimble expansion of fundamental research designed to ensure that safety can be engineered into every step of product development, manufacturing and usage, and I’m terrifically excited to lead Underwriters Laboratories’ ambitious effort to dramatically grow their research endeavors in this fashion.”

In his current role as vice president for research at the University of Minnesota, Cramer oversees research programs, support and services exceeding $1 billion per year across the university’s five campuses. He manages the systemwide research enterprise, helps develop innovative approaches to enhance research productivity and supports new areas for research in collaboration with university leadership. A dedicated educator and scholar in the field of theoretical chemistry, Cramer is a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s 2021 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He is a fellow of the American Chemical Society, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Cramer joined the University of Minnesota in 1992 and, among his many accomplishments, served as editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Theoretical Chemistry Accounts from 1997-2014. He held the role of associate editor for the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry from 1997 to 2018.

Cramer earned his A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served for four years as an officer in the United States Army and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.  

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. We conduct rigorous independent research and analyze safety data, convene experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide safe commercialization of evolving technologies. We foster communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods to summits of world leaders. Our organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being.

We fund our work through grants, the licensing of standards documents and the business activities of our wholly owned subsidiary, UL Inc., which also advances our shared mission through testing, verification and certification, training and advisory services, data-driven reporting and decision-making tools for customers around the world.