UMMS Faculty Vitality Award

Talented and productive faculty may reach a point in their careers when their expertise is no longer competitive or they wish to move their career in a new and different direction. Re-engaging and refreshing is essential for these individuals to maintain their contributions the institution. The goal of the UMMS Faculty Vitality Award was to provide funding for mid-career and senior faculty to undergo a focused training experience or project in a new area of research, education or clinical practice.

The Award

The Award provided up to $40,000 in funding for specific costs associated with conducting the activity or project, such as lab or other supplies, animals or equipment, tuition for professional development courses or other technical coursework, and/or travel expenses. The faculty member’s Department or Program was expected to cover the necessary salary and associated fringe benefit costs for the applicant(s) during the time period of the award. The award was not intended as bridge funding to support continuing research activities, for hiring personnel or for buy-out of clinical time.

Awards were granted through a competitive application process that required submission of a project and a career development plan, and letters of support from the applicant’s chair or director and from a mentor with expertise in the area of the proposed project. Eligibility for the Award was limited to full time employed faculty members at the ranks of Associate Professor or Professor, appointed as UMMS faculty for at least six years. Teams of up to four eligible faculty members were allowed to apply.

Applications were reviewed by a senior faculty committee according to specific criteria that included the likelihood of the applicant’s future success, whether the planned activities would enable the applicant to acquire new skills and knowledge, the impact and sustainability of the new area, and the strength of support from the chair or director and their mentor.

Outcomes

In 2015 and 2016, seven Awards were granted to individuals or teams from both basic and clinical departments. The Faculty Vitality Awards have supported mid-career and senior faculty members to develop new clinical services (Anesthesiology) and training programs (Anesthesiology, Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology), gain new skills (MaPS , Cardiology) and to seek commercialization of research (Orthopedics, Neurological Surgery).

Acknowledgements

The Faculty Vitality Award was supported in part by an Award for Faculty Career Flexibility from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation in collaboration with the American Council on Education, and by the UMass Memorial Medical Center and the UMass Memorial Medical Group.  The Award was funded jointly by the Office of Faculty Affairs and the applicant's Department or Program.