Skip to main content

Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards FAQs


  • Full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their tenure track appointment at the time of application are eligible.
  • Yes, using your time at your current institution, you are eligible.
  • No, only tenure track faculty are eligible to apply for the Powe Awards. However, our event sponsorship and ODRD programs are open to all faculty and we invite you to check out those programs.
  • For individuals that have had a medical issue or other circumstance that resulted in a “tenure clock delay” we consider this as the clock being stopped for a few months. We honor the institution’s tenure tracking and they are eligible as long as they have not been on tenure track for more than two years when the delay is factored in.
  • Yes, however, it is important to review any comments about the previously-submitted proposal.
  • No, only full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their tenure track appointment at the time of application are eligible.


  • 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 ORAU grant award or the university match.
  • This should include all funds awarded as PI, Co-PI or Senior Personnel.
  • 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).
  • No, the research project does not have to be focused on STEM fields.

Research collaboration

    • 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.

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
      • Overall quality of application
    • Final selection of awardees will be made by the ORAU Policy Committee.

Reporting requirements

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

    Read More

  • 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.

    Read More

Contact us

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