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Faculty Development Programs

Research Development coordinates a variety of programs to help faculty strengthen their proposal writing skills, understand the nuances of the different funding sponsors and agencies, and identify the most appropriate funding opportunities. In addition, several programs focus on special areas of emphasis. These Include:


This program was created to help new faculty engage in multi-year planning to advance their research, scholarship, and/or creative activities. It enables the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development to gain an understanding of our newest faculty members’ expertise and help connect them with resources, target funding opportunities, identify potential collaborators, and achieve success. With this program, Research Development staff offer individualized sessions for new faculty, especially during their first two years on campus. The process for assisting new faculty is flexible to meet the needs of each college and complement college-based resources and supports.

For more information on Scholarship Agenda, contact avcrd@utk.edu.

The Proposal Writing Institute (PWI) creates an opportunity for faculty to utilize expertise from the Research Development office while also working within a community to advance their research interests. In 2020, the PWI’s focus is on National Science Foundation CAREER awards. This prestigious award funds early-career tenure-track assistant professors.

Faculty who are eligible according to NSF criteria were recently contacted to encourage their participation in the program. RD staff meet individually with participants, developing a timeline and focusing on creation of a one-page concept paper during the spring semester. The group then meets twice a month during April, May, and June with the goal of submitting a proposal to NSF in July.

Key benefits are connections to those who can help faculty succeed, a system that includes accountability check-ins, and a fresh approach to proposal development. Information on the 2020 NSF CAREER program can be found at nsf.gov.

For more information on the PWI, contact Diana Moyer at dmoyer@utk.edu.

The Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, in cooperation with the Office of the Provost, launched a program which supports the accomplishments of junior faculty in all fields. The program focuses on prestigious national faculty awards and on interdisciplinary collaborations in fields of emerging significance.

The program has two primary aims:

  1. To support applications for prestigious national faculty awards, especially those listed by the Center for Measuring University Performance (CMUP) as one of nine measures of research universities. Because these awards are so highly competitive, participants in this program will receive specific instruction and intensive coaching at multiple levels and will construct a pre-tenure calendar of award applications.
  2. To develop interdisciplinary collaborations outside departmental boundaries, especially in fields of emerging significance. In response to the difficulty noted by junior faculty in meeting potential colleagues outside their own department, this program will help to identify collaborators and to facilitate meetings.


The Expanding Horizons program identifies, engages, and supports emerging research leaders. Over the course of an academic year, the program provides development, mentoring, and capacity-building opportunities that will build the skills and knowledge necessary for the transition to leading convergent research projects that result in major scientific breakthroughs.

Expanding Horizons engages faculty at a moment when they are ready and able to focus on developing the vision and the skills that will enable them to lead convergent research projects. In addition to providing leadership perspectives on a variety of topics and opportunities to form relationships with other cohort members at a similar career stage, the program also provides access to capacity-building activities to allow participants to further develop their convergence skillset, or (for those who feel ready) to define and pursue the first steps toward leading a significant, convergent research project.

For more information, contact avcrd@utk.edu.