Faculty Scholar Award

Pathway to Independent Research

Addressing Faculty Challenges

Attracting, developing, and retaining the best faculty to create advances in medicine is critical to all of our futures. Junior faculty often face heavy family responsibilities with young children, ill or aging parents, and their academic contributions may be diminished in the face of these additional pressing needs. The FSA program has demonstrated success in helping junior faculty continue their research and make scientific advances.

The Goal of the Award

The goal of the award is to support faculty to continue research and scholarly activities while also managing a finite period of increased family care need.


Funding up to $30,000 can be used to support personnel, services, supplies, or ‘buy out’ of clinical time to provide time for academic / scholarly work.


Faculty Scholar awardees are invited to join a monthly Faculty Scholar Award Mentoring group.


All UMass Worcester faculty can apply provided they meet the eligibility requirements:

  • Non-tenure track or tenure track, but not yet tenured
  • Academically or professionally salaried
  • MD, PhD or equivalent advanced degree
  • Academic rank of Assistant or Associate Professor
  • UMMS faculty appointment for at least one year
  • Minimum 1/2 time benefited employee
  • Responsible for care of children, partner, parent or other family member(s)

Evaluation Criteria

A review committee evaluates each applicant based on:

  • How effectively the award will address the applicant’s needs and benefit their progress
  • The quality of the applicant’s academic achievements and potential for future productivity
  • The probability of the project leading to receipt of external funding
  • Commitment of support by the Department Chair or Division Chief as demonstrated by protected time, space, and resources
  • Commitment of support by a mentor specifically related to the area of research
  • The strength of the letters of support

Application Components

Submit the application documents in one pdf, in order (Note: Letters of Support can be submitted separately):

  • Cover page, include only: Title of project, Applicant’s name and credentials, Department, Faculty rank, Office address, Telephone, Email address. Add the heading, “Letters of Support” and under the heading list the names of letter writers, their role in regards to your application (e.g. chair/division chief and research mentor).
  • Letters of support: Department Chair or Division Chief – (one from each category): Department Chair or Division Chief – the letter should include a statement of the department’s or division’s commitment to you, noted by protected time, space, and resources. The letter also must state that the Chair/Division Chief has read your proposal. Research Mentor - the mentor should be someone who works in your field of research. The letter should include a statement of the mentor’s commitment to you, noted by their availability to mentor you on a regular basis. The letter also must include that the mentor has read your proposal. Note: If your Chair/Division Chief is also your research mentor, include a letter of support from an additional mentor. Address letters to Judith Ockene, PhD, MEd, MA.
  • Personal Statement (not to exceed 1 page): Briefly describe how the award would benefit your academic progress and assist with current family responsibilities. Also briefly outline your larger professional development plan.
  • Project plan (not to exceed 2 pages): Specific aims and expected outcomes, significance, research or project design, preliminary or supporting data (if appropriate), numbers for any relevant approved IRB or IACUC protocols.  Appendices are not permitted.
  • References (not to exceed 1 page)
  • Proposed budget and justification: Include a justification for each person listed on your budget, and note any resource contributions that are made toward your project (e.g. department funds or use of a core facility).
  • Current CV
  • Submit all application components to Faculty.Affairs@umassmed.edu


All applicants are notified of the results of the review process by e-mail. Awards are effective upon notification by the Office of Faculty Affairs.

Project Completion Follow Up Reports

Award recipients must submit a written report within the month after completion of funding that includes the following. Instructions will be emailed to the award recipients.

What the funds enabled you to do, what the funds enabled you to purchase (e.g. support personnel, services, supplies, or ‘buy out’ of clinical responsibilities to provide time for academic/scholarly work), and how this award program enabled or will enable you to advance to a higher academic rank, given increased scholarship.

History of the Award

The Faculty Scholar Award (FSA) was developed by the Women’s Faculty Committee and the Women’s Leadership Work Group under the oversight of the Office of Faculty Affairs. These funds have enabled faculty on less traditional career paths to continue or initiate research as they work towards becoming independent scientists. The award is an important element of our efforts to increase the diversity of faculty.