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Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

Powe Awards help ORAU member institutions retain their best young faculty members

Our commitment to enriching the research skills and professional growth of young faculty members at ORAU member institutions is embodied in the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards Program. These competitive research awards provide seed money for junior faculty members that often result in additional funding from other sources. 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).

Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards
Interested in being a reviewer for this year’s Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards process? Complete this brief contact form, including your specific area of expertise, and someone will be in contact with you.

Eligibility for the Powe Awards is open to full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their tenure track appointment at the time of application. If there is a question about eligibility, your ORAU Councilor makes the final determination. Only two nominations are allowed per institution.

Research projects must fall within one of these five disciplines:

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

*New Research Category: As a result of ORAU’s partnership with The MITRE Corporation, a new research discipline has been added to the list for you to select from: Health Disparities/Equity.  MITRE is interested in promoting multi-disciplinary research that focuses on understanding and addressing health disparities and promoting health equity. The following examples are representative of potential research topics:

  • How can emerging medical technology innovations in areas like digital health, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics drive to create more equitable health outcomes?  What potential pitfalls exist in these technologies to exacerbate inequities?
  • How does climate change affect health outcomes of different populations and what measures can be taken to address inequitable outcomes found in underserved populations?

Junior faculty members interested in applying should consult their ORAU Councilor, and visit the frequently asked questions.

Applications are due January 7, 2022.

2020-21 Powe Award winners

2020-2021 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award Winners
Award Recipient Member Institution
Joshua Agar Lehigh University
Jorge Almodovar University of Arkansas
Sabreena Anowar University of Missouri
Alexander Bataller North Carolina State University
Juan Beltran-Huarac East Carolina University
Richard Carter East Tennessee State University
Siu Hung Joshua Chan Colorado State University
Haihong Che University of Alabama in Huntsville
Darren Drewry Ohio State University
Matthew Eddy University of Florida
Katherine Fornash Ohio University
Jason Fry Eastern Kentucky University
Ayla Gafni University of Mississippi
Fan Ge College of William and Mary
Ling Hao George Washington University
Guillaume Hoareau University of Utah
Krishna Jayant Purdue University
Yijie Jiang University of North Texas
Sarah Keane University of Michigan
Hai Lin Louisiana State University
Zhenfei Liu Wayne State University
Davoud Mozhdehi Syracuse University
Lin Mu University of Georgia
Debanjan Mukherjee University of Colorado Boulder
Badri Narayanan University of Louisville
Zhen Ni Florida Atlantic University
Amanda Patrick Mississippi State University
Stephanie Stockar Ohio State University
Michael Cai Wang University of South Florida
Yeqing Wang Mississippi State University
Shuya Wei University of New Mexico
Ketian Zhang George Mason University
Qiong Zhang Clemson University
Shan Zhou Michigan Technological University
Huiyuan Zhu Virginia Tech
Powe awardee researches rocks that formed Earth’s continents billions of years ago

Powe awardee researches rocks that formed Earth’s continents billions of years ago

Suzanne Birner, an assistant professor of geology and earth science at Berea College, is one of 36 junior faculty members from ORAU member institutions to receive the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. She analyzes rocks from the Earth’s upper mantle once they are exposed along tectonic plate boundaries. With careful analyses, she hopes to learn more about volcanic eruptions, particularly those that formed the Earth’s continents billions of years ago.

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Contact us

For more information about the Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, contact the University Partnerships office at 865.576.6513 or