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Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

ORAU invests in the future of science through awards program for young faculty at member institutions

2014 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award Winner Evie Malaia

Shubha Patvardhan wants to help businesses be more forward-thinking. As a recipient of the prestigious Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from ORAU, her research will explore imagination in the organizational context, how firms embrace it and how business students can cultivate it. Photo courtesy of Redheaded Ninja Photography.

The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards provide seed money for research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. These awards are intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty and result in new funding opportunities.

How to Apply

Junior faculty members will submit their completed applications to their institution’s ORAU Councilor. The ORAU Councilor will transmit the institutional submission to ORAU. All applications must be received electronically at Fax submittals will not be accepted.


The deadline for applications for the 2018 awards is Monday, Jan. 8, at noon EST. An announcement of the 2018 winners will be made later in the spring of 2018.


Full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their initial tenure track appointment at the time of application are eligible. If there is a question on eligibility, the ORAU Councilor makes the final decision.

Technical Areas

The research project must be in one of the following five disciplines:

  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics/Computer Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Policy, Management, or Education

Number of Submissions

Each ORAU member councilor may submit up to two applications each year.

Funding Source and Duration

Funding is provided exclusively from non-federal monies by ORAU. The award amount provided by ORAU is $5,000. The applicant’s institution is required to match the award with at least an additional $5,000. This is a one-year grant (June 1 to May 31).

Funding Restrictions

This award can include funds for faculty summer salary, graduate student salary, travel, equipment, or other assistance relevant to the faculty member’s research. ORAU does not allow overhead charges or indirect costs on the award from ORAU or the university match.

Research Collaborations

Applicants are encouraged to develop research collaborations with government, private-sector, and other academic researchers. Such alliances enrich and extend not only the reach of your efforts, but the nation’s research enterprise, overall.

Because of the close working relationship between ORAU and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Award Committee particularly encourages collaborative interaction with ORNL. Thus, substantive interdisciplinary research and inter-institutional research partnerships will be considered as very positive factors in the review process, and will increase chances for success.

Diverse Participant Population

ORAU is committed to the promotion of underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

Selection Process

Application reviews will be coordinated by ORAU councilors and conducted by scholars with expertise in the discipline of the application. Each application will receive three independent reviews. Reviewers evaluate the proposals using the following criteria: Scientific/Technical Merit, Proposed Method/Approach, Applicant's Research Performance Competence/ Adequacy of Facilities/Resources to Conduct the Proposed Research, Likelihood Research will Lead to Fundable Research and/or Publishable Work, and Overall Quality of Application. Final selection of awardees will be made by the ORAU Policy Committee.


A final one- to two-page report must be submitted within one year of receipt of the award.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check out the Powe frequently asked questions if you have questions about eligibility, funding and the online application form.