Research News

Limited Submission Opportunity: 2024 ORAU Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards

Applications due Nov. 16

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

Vanderbilt (VU and VUMC combined) can nominate up to two assistant professors for the 2024 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards, sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). The awards provide seed money for research intended to enrich the research and professional growth of young faculty. The award amount is $5,000 for one year (June 1–May 31), which can be used for faculty summer salary, graduate student salary, travel, equipment or other assistance relevant to the faculty member’s research, but indirect costs are not allowed. Because of the close working relationship between ORAU and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Award Committee particularly encourages collaborative interaction with ORNL.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The applicant’s institution is required to match the award with at least an additional $5,000. Applicants must work with the appropriate dean, department chair or center director to obtain a commitment to these matching funds.

Eligibility criteria

Awards are restricted to full-time assistant professors within two years of their initial tenure-track appointment (Jan. 1, 2022–Jan. 7, 2024) at the time of application. ORAU will recognize circumstances that resulted in a “tenure clock delay.”

Research projects must be in one of the five following discipline areas, plus two new areas for the 2024 cycle:

  • Engineering and applied science
  • Life sciences
  • Mathematics/computer sciences
  • Physical sciences
  • Policy, management or education
  • Augmented reality in the workplace
  • Supply chain innovation

New discipline areas: As a result of ORAU’s partnership with The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (The AREA) and General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), two new research disciplines have been added to the list from which candidates may select:

The AREA: Augmented Reality in the Workplace. The AREA seeks to promote research that brings greater attention to the use of AR in enterprise environments and supports aspiring future leaders in the field of enterprise AR. One award will be made in this research area. The following represents preferred research focus areas:

  • Design, development and use of displays for AR experience delivery
  • Development of business and technical standards to address interoperability between AR components or to accelerate AR integration with IT systems
  • Design, development and/or evaluation of methods to ensure privacy, security and safety of AR systems and their users
  • Integration of artificial intelligence (AI) with AR solutions to enhance workplace productivity and safety
  • Assessment/comparison of AR-assisted procedures to those enterprise operations without AR to understand drivers and barriers to adoption in a particular industry

GDIT: Supply Chain Innovation. GDIT is interested in promoting multidisciplinary research that focuses on developing innovative supply chain solutions. One award will be made in this research area. The following examples are representative of preferred research topics:

  • How can emerging technology innovations in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things be used to create supply chain improvements?
  • From a policy perspective, how do you address the ethics implications of sharing data across an integrated supply chain system?
  • Examining the impact of medical supply chain improvements on health and health care disparities.
  • How can Big Data be used to increase supply chain efficiencies and effectiveness?

All applicants should verify their eligibility in advance through the foundation FAQs. A list of award recipients can be found here.

Internal application process

Anyone interested in being considered as a potential nominee must submit the below items (in PDF format) to by 5 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2023. Submissions should reference the program name in the subject line of the email. Please adhere to the ORAU application instructions as much as possible.

  1. Brief research plan (2-page max., including summary budget)
  2. Statement of support from dean, department chair or center director
    1. Letter must include a school, department or center commitment to the REQUIRED $5,000 in matching funds;
    2. Letter must acknowledge that this grant does not allow indirect costs.** This statement can be used/modified: “The department recognizes that this grant does not allow indirect costs and will commit to covering any associated indirect costs per applicable institutional/school policy.”
  3. Resume (1-page max.)
  4. Publications and/or presentations (1-page max.)

**Process for cost sharing typically coordinated at the departmental/school level and approved by department chair and/or dean. Please consult for further guidance.

Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to