What is a NSF CAREER Award and Why Are They Important?
The NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award is the most prestigious NSF award for early career faculty. This differs from a standard 3-year NSF research award in that the intended outcome of the 5-year award is that the funded faculty member will have developed an integrated program of research and education, setting the course to serve as a teacher scholar for the remainder of their career. It is this integration of research and education plans that is unique and also that makes these proposals difficult to conceptualize and effectively develop. Faculty members can submit up to three NSF CAREER proposals prior to being tenured. The U of I Research and Faculty Development team can help with the development of competitive NSF CAREER proposals through working with individual faculty members (it is never too early to brainstorm with us!), our NSF CAREER All Year Seminars featuring U of I CAREER awardees, informal NSF CAREER Conversations with peers, and by providing proposal development resources. Importantly, NSF annually nominates the most meritorious CAREER awardees for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award, the highest honor from the U.S. government for outstanding scientists and engineers. U of I have five active NSF CAREER awards, Michael Strickland, Elizabeth Cassel, Tara Hudiburg, Christine Parent, and Eric Mittelstaedt, and one PECASE awardee, Tara Hudiburg.