Early career faculty members sought for new $2.5-million DOE program

December 14, 2021, 12:08PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy is soliciting applications from untenured, early career faculty members for the new Distinguished Early Career Program. Applicants must respond by February 2 with a plan that integrates research, education, and service under the terms of a funding opportunity announcement dated December 6 and announced by the DOE on December 7. The DOE anticipates granting up to four $625,000 awards, each with a five-year duration.

The basics: The program, totaling $2.5 million, aims to recognize distinguished researchers in the initial stages of their careers and support high-impact contributions to nuclear energy research, innovation, discovery, leadership, and dissemination of knowledge, according to the DOE.

“The new Distinguished Early Career Program is designed to foster the next generation of faculty, their students, and their innovations for advancing nuclear energy and decarbonizing our planet.” said Kathryn Huff, principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

Creativity encouraged: The DOE invites creative approaches to integrating research, education, and service that nurture the reciprocal relationship among these activities toward impactful discoveries, technological advancements, and student outcomes. Applicants are encouraged to focus on research pivotal to DOE-NE mission areas.

According to the FOA, “DOE-NE recognizes that there is no single approach to an integrated research and education plan but encourages all applicants to think creatively about the reciprocal relationship between the proposed research and education activities and how they may inform each other in their career development as both outstanding researchers and educators. These plans should reflect the proposer's own disciplinary and educational interests and goals, as well as the needs and context of their organization.”

Selection process: A merit review of proposals will give equal weight to three criteria: (1) how the proposal advances the state of knowledge and understanding and addresses gaps in nuclear energy science and engineering research areas; (2) how the proposal demonstrates an integrated research, education, and service plan to address broader impacts to society; and (3) the applicant’s qualifications and potential for leadership within the nuclear energy community. Applicants must be untenured assistant or associate professors on the tenure track, and applicants from underrepresented minority groups, women, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The DOE expects to select awardees by June 2022 and have projects begin work as early as August 2022 and no later than October 2022.

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