The Faculty STARS Program has evolved and expanded from the original proposal approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents in August 2004. The Faculty STARS, STARS Plus, Rising STARS, Translational STARS and Teaching STARS programs are described below.
In August 2004, the UT Board of Regents approved an allocation of funds to be awarded to institutions to help attract and retain the best-qualified faculty. This Faculty STARS program was funded through Permanent University Fund bond proceeds (LERR funds) to help purchase state-of-the-art research equipment and make necessary laboratory renovations to encourage faculty members to perform their research at U. T. institutions. The Board has allocated STARS funds to both general academic and to health institutions.
Funds from the Faculty STARS Program can be used for purchase of equipment and renovation of facilities required as part of the recruitment or retention of particularly outstanding faculty in the health science institutions. These monies are meant to supplement institutional resources for the purpose of recruiting the very best faculty. Priority will be given to recruitment or retention of individuals with national reputations and promise of election to national honorific societies, such as National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, or the Institute of Medicine (or who have been already elected to these organizations). Factors which will be considered for the use of these monies include:
Extent to which the recruitment or retention will provide outstanding scientific leadership in an area of significant importance to the individual institution, e.g., the addition of a high-quality research program in an underdeveloped area within the institution, or a substantial enhancement of an existing program .
The extent to which recruitment or retention provides important scientific leadership in a priority area for the University of Texas and/or the State of Texas, e.g. research in underdeveloped aspect of health science or for moving to a higher level in an established program.
The extent to which the recruitment would introduce a researcher into high quality collaborative activities involving interactions between health science campuses and academic campuses or among multiple health science campuses.
The extent to which the recruitment or retention will contribute to scientific development in areas bridging multiple disciplines, enhancing translation of research from bench to bedside, or provide scientific or technological skills supportive of a number of other investigators and/or programs.
Successful nominees will have firm institutional commitments for salary support as well as an institutional commitment for equipment and/or renovations requiring an investment of at least of $250,000 by the institution. Individuals nominated for these funds should show evidence of accomplishment in research with demonstrated capacity for extramural research support and graduate student training. There should be clear justification for additional equipment and renovation needs from the Faculty STARS Program for amounts up to $1 million. Under some circumstances a sum larger than this amount may be awarded. However the level of institutional support required would also be proportionally higher.
Requests for funding will be reviewed by members of a scientific Advisory Board. Proposals will be considered at any time in both hardcopy and electronic format.
In addition to the amounts in the table above, in October 2007 the U.T. System Board of Regents approved the creation of the STARS Plus Program funded from the Intermediate Term Fund. Because funding from the Faculty STARS Program were limited to equipment or renovations, the STARS Plus funds were intended to cover “startup” resources which typically go beyond equipment and renovation needs.
Requests for STARS Plus funding require that the faculty member be recruited to a full-time tenure track position. A request for STARS Plus funding could be in conjunction with a Faculty STARS request or independent of a Faculty STARS request. The maximum award for the STARS Plus program is $250,000.
The FY 2010 allocation of $15 million to the Faculty STARS Program included $5 million for the Rising STARS Program . Up to $250,000 is available for recruitment of promising faculty members who are recruited in a tenure track position at any academic level, i.e. assistant, associate or full professor. Rising STARS funding is limited to the same equipment and renovation expenditure restrictions as Faculty STARS.
Rising STARS proposals for the use money should consist of a President’s letter of recommendation, the candidate’s curriculum vitae, and a 2-year work plan including a budget. The President’s letter should clearly communicate why this candidate is considered to be a very promising member of the faculty.
Preference will be given to candidates whose areas of interest include health services research, health economics, comparative effectiveness, data analysis or other activities relevant to studies of health care delivery or health policy. However nominees will be considered for all academic areas or disciplines.
Beginning in February 2012 a portion of STARS Program funding is available for Translational STARS and Teaching STARS . This funding is limited to the same equipment and renovation expenditure restrictions as Faculty STARS.
For the Translational STARS, selection would be for the recruitment/retention of nationally recognized leaders in translational and clinical sciences. Priorities for selection would include:
Extent that candidate provides outstanding scientific leadership in an areas of significant importance to the institution and scholarship in translational research; and
Extent that candidate is integral to transformative research programs that catalyze or sustain clinical and translational discovery within the institution or among institutions within the UT System or State of Texas.
For the Teaching STARS Initiative, selection would be for the recruitment/retention of nationally recognized leaders in academic, clinical or public health education. Priorities for selection would include:
Extent that candidate demonstrates superlative accomplishments and scholarship in educational and instructional processes, including traditional, on-line, distance or blended methodologies; and
Extent that candidate is integral to high quality teaching, training, and mentoring programs for graduate and professional learners at all levels within UT and State of Texas.
In November 2009 Regents provided $5 million of Permanent University Fund (PUF) Bond Proceeds for the Health Research Scholars Program to encourage philanthropic support by donors. Recognizing that PUF funds can be used only for equipment, renovation, or construction and not critical expenses such as operating support, graduate student stipends or other necessary resources necessary for successful recruitment, these Health Research Scholar awards for a specific recruitment must be matched by a philanthropic commitment for up to $250,000. Any tenure-track health institution faculty recruit, regardless of rank, is eligible for a Regents’ Health Research Scholar matching award. Such an award would not disqualify an individual from consideration for other STARs recruiting money.
In November 2006 Regents authorized $10 million of Permanent University Fund (PUF) Bond Proceeds as a source of U.T. System contributions for projects supported by grants from the Emerging Technology Fund and the Texas Enterprise Fund. These funds are available to both health and general academic institutions and are evaluated and awarded under the same criteria and process used for the STARs Program.
All STARS Programs indicated above are managed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Dr. Patricia Hurn .