Eric Shulenberger, Ph.D., J.D.

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Shulenberger is a classically-trained biological oceanographer – a blue-water plankton ecologist with a wide range of published work, all done on soft-money. Dr. Shulenberger is also an attorney, a businessman, an Office of Naval Research (ONR) program manager twice for biological and chemical oceanography, and an elected public official.  Dr. Shulenberger regularly teaches at the graduate level, and has extensive high-level experience in the administrative complexities of a very large research university.


Dr. Shulenberger has spent the last eleven years at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, working independently of the universities’ administrative and departmental structures to develop complex, large-scale multidisciplinary research efforts. This position was introduced by Dr Arthur Nowell (Dean of UW’s College of Ocean and Fisheries Science) and Dr Alvin Kwiram (formerly Vice Provost for Research). This position is unique in the American university system, and Dr. Shulenberger has been asked to present it to several other large American and European research universities. Dr. Shulenberger reports directly to the Vice Provost for Research and/or the Dean of the Graduate School, but is free to choose which groups to help, and to assemble groups as he sees fit.

Professional Activities

  • Elected Director, Zone-7 Water Board, Alameda County (Calif) Water Resources Board
  • Founding Chair, Outside Board of Review, Div. of Biol. Sciences, Univ. of Kansas
  • Chief of fund-raising and construction manager, Cedar Park, Seattle WA
  • Accomplishments
  • LEGAL:  Cal and Fed 9th Circuit Bars.  Courses in admiralty, environmental, water, international, administrative law, plus negotiations, statutory interpretation. Ghost-authored book on Calif. Boating law.
  • LEGAL CONSULTING:  To chemical and small electronics firms re patents and disclosures in biological, chemical, and avionics matters.  Determined patent strategies, negotiated and wrote international development and research contracts plus ordinary business contracts (sales, purchases, leases).
  • SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND:  Extremely broad.  Eric works comfortably within and across many scientific and technical fields.  Ecology, mammalian physiology, physics, chemistry, geology, electronics, statistics.
  • WRITING, EDITING:  Over 30 refereed journal articles. Scientific journal editor.  Extensive experience in professional non-journal writing and editing (at UW, WSU, NASA, NSF’s NEON program, ONR, etc.).
  • ADVOCACY:  Expert at explaining complex technical subjects to lay audiences both in person and in print. Wide public speaking and teaching experience.
  • ORGANIZATIONAL AND MANAGERIAL:  Good at identifying critical goals both short and long-term; effective at forming teams and leading them; can rapidly modify approach when goals or resources or time-line changes.
  • PROPOSALS: Dr. Shulenberger teaches proposal strategy, tactics, and writing. Author of >$650M of successful proposals (NSF, ONR, NIH, DOE, DARPA, etc) at UW, WSU, industry, ngos. Consultant (coordinator, editor, writer) to NASA for major proposal-writing exercises (e.g., $240M for new oceanographic satellite). Steering Committee Member for the National Environmental Observatory Network (NEON) Planning Group (planning a $5B, 50 year program).
  • Work Specifics


Dr. Shulenberger has led groups and organizations his entire career, in a wide range of sizes, environments, topics. One aspect of good leadership that is frequently neglected is the ability to choose good people and then delegate. Dr. Shulenberger is detail-conscious, but not a micro-manager and relies on choosing good people.  See that they have a clear mandate and the proper resources, and turn them loose. It works wonderfully well.

    • Personal research. Dr. Shulenberger’s research program studied the pelagic Antarctic ecosystem: his team functioned well despite including upwards of 25 scientists from many disciplines, a dozen institutions, and several countries and funded by perhaps six agencies simultaneously. Dr. Shulenberger organized and led the proposal-writing, was chief scientist, lead scientific analyst and integrator, and program representative to the funders.
    • Program Manager, Office of Naval Research (ONR).  Dr. Shulenberger has been PM twice for the ONR Biological and Chemical Oceanography Program. Each time he analyzed the field (with the help of both senior and junior scientists from academia and ONR itself), then made careful but strong, well-planned changes in overall program direction. The community was very satisfied with his leadership – even those who disagreed on some details. In doing so he strengthened the ONR-NSF ties (we loaned one another money regularly) and doubled the Program’s budget in direct competition with other ONR basic-research programs.
    • Business – Dr. Shulenberger led the scientific research and business development of a startup high-tech chemical company in Alameda CA – the 45 employees invented, patented and produced, artificial hemoglobin, artificial gills, and other oxygen-control technology.  The research was both in-house and in partnership with Univ. of California faculty, which required extensive negotiations.
    • University of Washington - At UW, Dr. Shulenberger assembled and led many teams defining problems (research, education, academic structure and function), finding team members, analyzing funding possibilities, and writing proposals. After successful funding, he often was asked to continue close contact with the program, to advise on long-term goals including funding, and to otherwise participate as a volunteer (e.g. on curriculum, review and planning committees, as student advisor, etc). Dr. Shulenberger led teams that sought to redefine aspects of the university’s structure to make interdisciplinary work more feasible and easier to perform, and teams taking long-term looks (50 years forward) at very complex university-level problems such as whether to develop a UW research park.
    • Most satisfying success – Dr. Shulenberger is perhaps proudest of being lead proposal organizer and writer of three of the UW’s successful NSF-funded IGERT programs (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program) – one in Urban Ecology (17 departments involved, plus a major international program, first US PhD program in the field), one in Astro-Biology (~12 departments, several universities), and one in Nano-Technology (world’s first PhD program in the topic). These programs intensely integrate their science across topics and departmental boundaries, all in the setting of innovative experiments in graduate education.

Problem solving

Dr. Shulenberger’s career has consisted largely of solving problems. He has become adept at seeing a problem coming (or analyzing one that he encountered pre-existing), determining what the fundamental pieces of the problem are, and finding innovative solutions, usually as a win-win arrangement. His experience at UW has been invaluable – having worked in or developed teams that span the entire UW community – from Schools of Business and Medicine, to Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning, Law, Public Health, the School of Education, and all of the traditional Liberal Arts, Scientific, and Engineering fields. Because of this breadth of experience, Dr. Shulenberger can take a very different view of most problems than can most people. He knows where to go for help in both problem analysis and designing a solution – He often explores places most “science-only” administrators might well not even know exist on campus, because he knows and has relationships with the people there, and knows their abilities. He is VERY good at successfully enlisting help when needed.


This is a concomitant of problem-solving capacity. Dr. Shulenberger’s career speaks for this ability, but hasten to point out that in each “career” there was a very strong element of building on the previous one. He was/is a scientist, was a national-level scientific administrator, became a lawyer so as to be able to translate between law (ie, government) and ecology, became a businessman (using his science, law and academic connections in a business environment), and moved from there to the UW, where all his previous experience has been useful. Along the way he ran for public office and won, helped make local governmental policy on water, helped to develop several businesses, wrote two “liberal arts” books as well as scientific research papers, and consulted with a wide variety of businesses on scientific and proposal-related problems. As a consultant, Dr. Shulenberger is currently managing or aiding in (1) the Goddard Space Flight Center’s proposal writing effort aimed at designing and funding the next generation of oceanographic satellites (~50 scientists and engineers, ~$240M), (2) designing the 501c3 corporation that will run the national Ecological Observatory Network, which is a $8 billion 50 year project to be funded by the National Science Foundation, and (3) doing likewise for project NEPTUNE, which is another $2-5 B, 25-year research project to put a fiber-optically-controlled network of experimental stations on a deep-ocean hydrothermal vent system.  .

Handling complexity

Dr. Shulenberger enjoys complicated situations. In universities, most complexities are people/organizational: finding the actual pressure points, and crafting solutions, largely requires people-skills.  He has developed a good ability to motivate people, as shown by putting together teams that work well, and keeping them running when things do not go smoothly. His ONR programs and his business experiences have been exercises in handling complexity – of people, conflicting goals, limited resources, and unexpected course changes.


Dr. Shulenberger’s basic belief is that teams are desirable and inevitable - very little is accomplished today in science or administration without strong teams, capably led. Teams must be carefully assembled, given (or develop internally) specific tasks, goals and timelines, and then kept track of. Team-forming is the core of what he has been doing since before graduate school. “His” teams have ranged from his ONR program that included some 225 scientists in 145 funded proposals all aimed ultimately at Navy goals (which he defined for the Navy), down to just a few people addressing a specific local problem.

In teaming, the most common (nearly universal) problem is communication, and the core of that is usually differently-trained people using the same English word in very different ways, not recognizing the differences, and therefore thinking (wrongly) that communication is taking place. The fact that he is fluent in many technical jargons, and can translate among them, is a great asset here. His 25 years of teaching complex science (ecology, oceanography) to junior-college evening students who lack algebra and trigonometry has helped greatly.

Long-term planning

In Dr. Shulenberger’s own science this is critical (although mid-scale rather than long), given the years of lead-time required for major oceanographic expeditions that formed the basis of his work. At ONR, he had express, written 2, 5, 15 and 25 year goals – always developed with wide input from interested parties, and always revisited openly at least every other year. Dr. Shulenberger believes long-term planning and openness are critical in a university setting, and he imposes it as an exercise on every proposal-writing team he assembles.

Advocacy - ability to teach, explain, sell

One cannot be a successful scientist, program manager, or businessman, without the ability to sell ideas. Dr. Shulenberger’s greatest experience at advocacy was at ONR, where he routinely advertised, defended and proselytized for his program, at every level from graduate students (“…bring ME your brightest new ideas!”) through other program managers at ONR and elsewhere (“…we really ought to co-fund this one!”) to the local ONR boss (“…here’s why the Navy needs to put more funds into the biology program”) to the local Admiral (Chief of Naval Research) all the way up to the Secretary of the Navy and members of Congress (or, more importantly, their staffers). He is very good at doing this – both in his own research and for his ONR programs. At UW he sold ideas on restructuring “academic pipelines”, on ways to resolve interdepartmental squabbles about teaching credits for cross-departmental courses, on how to actually structure and run wildly cross-departmental PhD programs, and on whether they should develop a ten-year plan for large-scale on-campus underground research facilities.


All of the above comes together in management. Management is making decisions.  Dr. Shulenberger finds it easy to make decisions – not superficially easy, but once information has been gathered and discussed sufficiently, if the decision is his, he will make it and get on with things.  His budgets at ONR, in business, and in some of the programs he has helped with at UW are on the same order as many departmental and agency budgets. Dr. Shulenberger likes numbers, and is comfortable dealing with accountants. In short, the problems in academia may be superficially different from elsewhere, but are not very much so at bottom.

Grant Program Management

During Dr. Shulenberger’s time as a program manager, he came to know his own scientific community extremely well – through annual site visits– so that his personal connections were very good, with broad topical and geographic coverage. The experience working across all boundaries at UW has greatly expanded that coverage, and has helped him in selling ideas to individuals, agencies and foundations, in part because he is functionally literate across a wide range of technical disciplines.  He has been on both sides of the funding desk.  He know a good deal that is very useful about NSF, ONR, NIH, and some useful things about minor organizations such as DOE, NASA, and a good many private foundations.  He has also been repeatedly and intensely involved in proposal-driven efforts at minority (under-represented groups) recruitment problems, outreach efforts, and the like. He has experienced some interesting successes, from unlikely quarters - at least he is conversant with the problems and with many efforts to address them. Dr. Shulenberger is extremely knowledgeable about contracting, federal regulations, intellectual property and the like to identify problems in advance and know when to ask for help before things go awry.


  • Marzluff, J., E Shulenberger et al.  Urban Ecology – An international perspective on the interaction between humans and nature. Springer. 807 pp., 2008
  • Simon, U, R Brüggemann, E Shulenberger, C ZumBrunnen, S Pudenz. “METEOR: an approach to unmask the weighting camouflage in decision support - ecological aspects in water management in Berlin, Germany”. Environmental Science & Technology, Submitted June, 2004.
  • Shulenberger E. QUERY: How far out does “ALOHA” apply? U. San Diego Law Rev.,2005
  • Deny Them the Night Sky – a history of the 548th Night Fighter Squadron. 518 pp.,*2003
  • Alberti M, JM Marzluff, E Shulenberger, G Bradley, C Ryan, C Zumbrunnen. Integrating Humans into
  • Ecology: Opportunities and Challenges for Studying Urban Ecosystems. BioScience 53:12-1169-1181, 2003
  • Shulenberger E (ghost-writer and editor of entire book) “Boatlaw for Boat-People”. S.D. Press, San Diego (243 pp) 1990
  • Selected papers -

    • Haury LR and E Shulenberger. Surface nutrient enrichment in the California Current off Southern California: description and possible causes. Deep-Sea Res. 45, 1577-1602, 1998
    • Loeb VJ and E Shulenberger. Vertical distributions and relations of euphausiid populations off Elephant Island, March 1984. Polar Biology 7:363-373, 1987
    • Reid JL and E Shulenberger. Oxygen saturation and carbon uptake near 28N, 155W. Deep-Sea Res. 32A:117-124, 1985
    • Shulenberger E. Superswarms of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana). Antarctic J. of the US: 18#5:194-197, 1983
    • Shulenberger E and JL Reid. The Pacific shallow oxygen maximum, deep chlorophyll maximum, and primary productivity, reconsidered. Deep-Sea Res. 28A:901-919, 1981

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