Young Faculty Excel in Early Career Award Programs

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The National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award is one of the nation’s most prestigious honors directed toward young faculty. Winning the award, which comes with a five-year grant of approximately $500,000, can be a huge boost in helping establish their research programs and careers, and it also can be a gateway to other grants and awards.

CU engineering faculty have been highly successful in winning these awards, with a total of six faculty—one in each department—being selected in 2009. Last year’s slate included Eric Frew (AES), Stephanie Bryant (ChBE), Siva Mettupalayam (CEAE), Katie Siek (CS), Jeremy Siek (ECEE), and Ronggui Yang (ME).

So far in 2010, the big news is that three faculty in electrical, computer, and energy engineering have been selected to receive the award, which is highly unusual within a single department. ECEE assistant professors Aaron Bradley, Robert McLeod, and Li Shang all learned in January they had been selected for the program.

Sriram Sankaranarayanan, assistant professor of computer science, also was selected for a 2010 CAREER Award, making a record total of 10 CU engineering faculty within 12 months to be selected by the program. NSF typically rolls out its CAREER awards over a several-month period, January through June, so the count for 2010 is far from final.

Meanwhile, Arthi Jayaraman of chemical and biological engineering received an Early Career Award from the Department of Energy, in a new program this year. Jayaraman was one of 69 scientists selected to receive the five-year, $750,000 research awards, which are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CU-Boulder received four research awards in the DOE program—the most of any university—including three to faculty in the physics department.

“We are extremely excited and proud of our young faculty who have been recognized with these prestigious awards,” says Martin Dunn, associate dean for research. “They are among the most competitive and highly sought-after honors that exist, and provide faculty with significant support to launch their teaching and research careers. These successes are indicative of the outstanding capabilities of our faculty, as well as the strong mentoring activities that exist in our departments.”

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