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Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

Instructions for ORAU Member Councilors

Who is eligible?

Full-time assistant professors within two years of their initial tenure track appointment (Jan. 1, 2019 to Jan. 6, 2021) at the time of application at an ORAU member institution are eligible. 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.

What do councilors and member institutions need to do?

  1. Select up to two junior faculty members to be considered for the award.
  2. Request a nomination letter from the chair or dean for each junior faculty member to be considered. This letter will be uploaded as part of the application in the PeerNet intake system.
  3. Prepare a councilor email of support and send to nominees along with a link to the PeerNet intake system (link sent to councilors via UPO listserv) and the nomination letter from the chair/dean. The councilor email will NOT be uploaded as part of the application in the PeerNet intake system, but will be used to track nominees and ensure they have been approved by the Councilor. A template for the councilor email of support was sent via UPO listserv along with the link to the PeerNet intake system. Copy on this email so we can track the nominees.
  4. Have nominees complete proposal application.

Special note on file formats

ORAU requests that all documentation submitted for the Ralph E. Powe Awards, except for the application form, be submitted in PDF format. If this is unacceptable for any reason, please notify and see if other arrangements can be made to handle the document format.

If a Councilor is unable to submit documentation from the Councilor’s email address, please send a letter of designation to with the name and email address of the person sending the information.

  • powe-birner.jpg

    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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  • laurent-bellaiche-1.jpg

    Where are they now? Powe Award winner Laurent Bellaiche

    Laurent Bellaiche, Ph.D., who now serves as a Distinguished Professor of physics at the University of Arkansas, has followed a stellar career path since he was a Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award winner in 1999. Using the funds received from the Powe Award, Bellaiche conducted research on electronic and optical properties of alloys made of semiconductors. The award funding facilitated the investigation of the effect of alloying in varying and optimizing physical properties.

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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