Pamela O'Neil received her Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1985 and Ph.D. from Brown University in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 1991. She began her career as Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of New Orleans in 1991 where she earned tenure and was later promoted to the position of Associate Vice Chancellor for Research. Dr. O'Neil has received several research grants from the National Science Foundation to study the evolution of flowering phenology and has published numerous papers in journals such as Evolution, American Journal of Botany, and Ecology. As Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, her responsibilities included encouraging proposal submission, helping to develop large interdisciplinary group proposals, building alliances with funding agencies and working with faculty to help increase their funding potential and find new opportunities for interdisciplinary research.
In 2005, Dr. O'Neil moved to Brown University as Assistant Vice President for Research Initiatives where her responsibilities included Catalyzing collaborative research activity, administering a seed fund program to fund new research collaborations, working with administrators on campus to develop plans for new centers and initiatives and coordinating proposals for external funding of such efforts.
In 2006 she was promoted to the position of Associate Provost of Brown University. As Associate Provost, Dr. O'Neil was responsible for oversight and review of several interdisciplinary centers and initiatives in the sciences. She Chaired the Environmental Council and the Steering Committee for Brown's joint graduate program with the Marine Biological Lab. She was also responsible for University oversight of capital building projects and space planning as it relates to the academic mission of the University. She Chaired the Campus Planning Advisory Board and was a member of the strategic growth team. She was a key link between the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research serving on both the Research Advisory Board and the Research Compliance Network. Dr. O'Neil was also the Principal Investigator of a $3.3 million grant from NSF's ADVANCE program that provides faculty development programs, leadership programs, and supports the research careers of science faculty at Brown.
Dr. O'Neil also has a long history of service to the National Science Foundation. She served as a Program Director in the Population Biology Program at the National Science Foundation from 2001-2003. She has served on 6 panels for the Bio directorate, and served as a team member of 9 site reviews for various programs across the foundation. She Chaired the COV of the Advance Program in 2005, served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Performance Assessment in 2008-2009, and Chaired the Discovery subcommittee of the AC/GPA in 2009. In October of 2009 Dr. O'Neil returned to NSF as a Staff Associate in the Office of Integrative Activities.