The University of Arizona has a new senior vice president of research, one who will earn 50 percent more than her predecessor.

Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president of research and innovation at the University of Oregon, starts her new job in Tucson on May 27 at an annual salary of $375,000.

She takes over the post previously occupied by UA’s Leslie Tolbert, who was paid $250,000 a year.

“We’re very excited for Dr. Espy to join the UA and bring her talent and expertise to campus,” said Andrea Smiley a spokeswoman for UA President Ann Weaver Hart.

Hart approved the pay hike because of Espy’s qualifications and the increased demands of the position as UA puts a greater focus on research, Smiley said.

Espy won the job over two other finalists who emerged after a national search.

A clinical neuroscientist and clinical psychologist, Espy holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Houston.

Besides serving as research boss at the Oregon university, she was dean of its graduate school, overseeing more than 100 master’s, PhD and graduate certificate programs.

“The University of Arizona is an outstanding public research university, and I am honored to be joining the leadership team,” Espy said in a UA news release.

Tolbert, UA’s previous head of research, left the post less than a year after Hart took over as president in mid-2012.

Tolbert returned to full-time research work in UA’s Department of Neuroscience and still receives her $250,000 vice presidential salary.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at or 573-4138.