Established by F. Warren Hellman in 1995, the purpose of the Hellman Family Faculty Fund is to support substantially the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research.
At least two-thirds of the funds allocated each year support assistant professors in the physical and life sciences and engineering; up to one-third can support assistant professors in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The maximum award is $50,000. Proposals should be submitted by individual faculty members; proposals from administration on behalf of assistant professors will not normally be considered. A letter of support from the chair of the faculty member's department is not required.
The quality of the research proposed is the most important criterion for selection. Awards are made without regard to the apparent timeliness or popularity of the field of study and without reference to ethnicity or gender; preference may be given to research not supported substantially by other sources and to faculty who have not previously received an award from the Fund. Mr. Hellman has observed that junior faculty are often well-funded when first hired. Problems arise in 2-3 years when start-up funding is exhausted and before first grants are obtained. The Fund is designed to assist promising young faculty at this point in their careers. Therefore, to be eligible for an award, assistant professors will normally be expected to have served at least two years at that rank.
With the exception of faculty salaries, including summer salary, awards may be used for any research-related expense, such as research assistants, equipment, or travel. There is no overhead charged to this award. There is no rigid requirement that all funds be spent in one year. However, award recipients are required to spend all funds before their tenure case is considered, and expenditures should relate to the project proposed in the Hellman application.
In determining the allocation of awards, the Chancellor will seek the counsel of a panel of faculty comprised of four or five recently-tenured faculty members, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost or Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Faculty Welfare, and a member of the Academic Senate Committee on Research. Applications should be brief, no more than 3 pages, and written with the understanding that they will be reviewed by a panel of faculty from the sciences and humanities that may not include specialists in the field of study. Applications should therefore include an introductory description which is accessible to someone who is not an expert in the given field.
The Chancellor will confirm the award recipients and distribute the funds. Award recipients are expected to write to Mr. Hellman directly reporting on the progress of their research.