Internal Awards

Goodnight Early Career Innovators Award

The Goodnight Early Career Innovators Award, established in 2021, supports early career faculty excellence and promotes retention of tenure-track assistant professors whose scholarship is in STEM or STEM education.

About the Awards

Approximately 25 Goodnight Early Career Innovators Awards will be made each year for the next three years. Recipients will receive $22,000 annually for three years. Award funds may be used for, but are not limited to, research materials, travel and meal expenses associated with professional travel, scholarly publications, support for undergraduates, graduate students or faculty working with the professor and summer salary stipends.

Nominees must be tenure-track assistant professors at the time of application. Their scholarship must be clearly and substantively contributing to innovations and advancement in STEM or STEM education. No faculty member may be selected as a recipient more than once.

To be eligible for consideration, outstanding faculty must be nominated by their college. The number of nominations for each participating college has been set, based on the number of tenure-track assistant professors in that college. Each participating college shall identify a committee of full professors, preferably professors of distinction, to vet college nominees and determine which ones will move forward for university-level review.

An advisory committee of senior leaders in the Provost’s Office and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation will review nominations and make recommendations to the provost and to the chancellor, who will make the final decision on awardees. No college will receive a set number of awards.


  • Individual nominations due to participating college committees: varies
  • Nominations from participating colleges due to Provost’s Office: Friday, March 19, 2021. Nominations should be submitted to Judy Austin, awards coordinator at
  • March 26 through April 15, 2021: Nominations reviewed by advisory committee
  • Week of April 19, 2021: Advisory committee meets to prepare recommendations
  • April 26, 2021: Recommendations for award recipients due to the provost from the advisory committee
  • Week of May 3, 2021: 2021-22 Goodnight Early Career Innovator Awards announcement
  • July 1, 2021: Funds available for 2021-22 Goodnight Early Career Innovators.

Nominations per College

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 12
  • College of Education: 2
  • College of Engineering: 10
  • College of Natural Resources: 2
  • College of Sciences: 7
  • Wilson College of Textiles: 2
  • College of Veterinary Medicine: 6

Selection Criteria

Nominees should show outstanding promise for future achievement and impact in STEM or STEM education. A strong nominee will have demonstrated superior scholarly achievement at an early career stage and will have a rigorous research agenda that speaks to the candidate’s potential to advance knowledge in STEM or STEM education. Evidence of early productivity in research and innovation may include a strong early record of scholarly publication or dissemination appropriate to the discipline (including co-authorship with leaders in their field), external funding, or recognition as an early career leader in their field (e.g. NSF or NIH pre- and post-doctoral awards).

Nomination Materials and Submission Process

Nominations from the colleges should include the following materials:

  • Current CV and SFR (maximum 25 pages total)
  • Letter of nomination from the nominee’s department head addressing the nominee’s qualifications and potential for future achievement and impact in STEM or STEM education (maximum 2 pages)
  • Letter from the dean supporting the nomination at the university level and the nominee’s potential for research leadership in the college (maximum 2 pages)

Please submit all nomination documents within two (2) PDF files: 

  • PDF File 1 should contain the current CV and SFR 
  • PDF File 2 should contain the letter of nomination and the letter of support (two pages per letter)
  • Submit both PDF files as email attachments or upload to Google Drive 
  • Email subject line: GECI 2021 NOMINATION, college acronym, nominee last name (Example: GECI 2021 NOMINATION, CALS, Jones).

Submit materials to Judy Austin, events and awards coordinator, at Please contact Ms. Austin if you have any questions or concerns regarding submissions. 

Related Links and Documents

Find additional resources related to the current year’s Goodnight Early Career Innovators Award process here.