Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering

Applications due Feb. 20

This is a joint competition for VU and VUMC investigators. All investigators should follow these instructions.


Vanderbilt (VU and VUMC, collaboratively) may nominate two early career faculty members for the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering Program. In 1988, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation established the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering to allow the nation’s most promising early career professors to pursue their science and engineering research with few funding restrictions and limited paperwork requirements. This program invests in future leaders who have the freedom to take risks, explore new frontiers in their fields of study, and follow uncharted paths that may lead to groundbreaking discoveries. Packard Fellows are inquisitive, passionate scientists and engineers who take a creative approach to their research, dare to think big, and follow new ideas wherever they lead.

Candidates must be faculty members who are eligible to serve as principal investigators engaged in research in the natural and physical sciences or engineering and must be within the first three years of their faculty careers (i.e., initial faculty appointments began no earlier than May 31, 2020, and no later than May 31, 2023).

Award information

Recipients will receive individual grants of $875,000 distributed over five years. Of the $175,000 paid each year, $17,500 is available to the university as compensation for administrative costs.

Within the first five years of their fellowship, fellows will be invited to participate in the annual Packard Fellows Meeting, which is held each fall in Monterey, California. Fellows are expected to give an oral presentation on their work in their first and fifth years and are encouraged to make poster presentations in other years.

Eligibility requirements and restrictions

  • Eligible candidate’s initial faculty appointments must have begun no earlier than May 31, 2020, and no later than May 31, 2023.
  • Disciplines that will be considered include physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science and all branches of engineering.
    • Candidates engaged in research in the social sciences will not be considered.
  • The fellowship program provides support for highly creative researchers early in their careers; faculty members who are well-established and well-funded are less likely to receive the award.

Note: Recognizing that certain areas of contemporary science and engineering already have access to relatively generous funding (for example, clinical research, research associated with the design and construction of large national facilities such as accelerators and space stations, and applied research of direct relevance to national security), the Packard Fellowships are directed to other, less generously supported fields.

See the program page, Eligibility and Disciplines, and FAQs for more information.

Internal selection process

Anyone interested in being considered as Vanderbilt’s nominee must submit the following (in PDF format) to  by 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 20, 2023. Late applications will not be considered.

  1. Brief research statement that 1.) describes the importance of the research being performed; 2.) outlines general research goals for the next five years; and 3.) indicates, in general, how funds will be used.
    The research statement is limited to 1,400 words (maximum two pages of text, prepared in 12-point font with one-inch margins). If there are relevant figures, images or references, please include these separately on a third page;
  2. Letter of support from department chair/center director;
    1. VUMC faculty only: This award does not cover full indirect costs. Please include the following statement in your letter of support: “The department recognizes that this grant does not allow full indirect costs and will commit to covering any associated indirect costs per applicable institutional/school policy.” Consult for further guidance.
  3. NIH Biosketch or five-page CV.

Submissions should reference “Packard Fellowships” in the subject line of the email.

The nomination form for selected candidate(s) must be submitted by their institution to the sponsor by the external deadline of March 15, 2023. All application materials from the nominee are due to the sponsor by April 20, 2023.

Please contact if you have any questions about the program, foundation or internal review process.