Vilas Awards and Professorships available

Through the generosity of the Vilas Trust, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is able to provide an array of named professorships and awards to recognize the outstanding achievements of its faculty members. These awards not only provide very generous research funding to those who receive them, but they can – in cases of teacher-scholars who are being recruited or who are likely to be recruited by our competitors – serve as an inducement to stay at UW-Madison, because they are among the most prestigious awards granted by the university.

Academic deans and program directors are encouraged to begin working with their department chairs early in the academic year to solicit nominations; the Office of the Provost is especially eager to provide support in cases where retention is, or may be, an issue. Extensions on awards can no longer be requested, except in extraordinary circumstances.

What follows is a list of the Vilas professorships and awards, the criteria for the awards, and the process by which faculty members are to be nominated (and deadlines where applicable).

Vilas Early Investigator Award (up to 15 awards)

These awards provide between $25,000 and $100,000 in flexible funding over two years. The award is meant to recognize research and teaching excellence in faculty who are relatively early in their careers. Deans and program directors should encourage departments to make nominations as early in the academic year as is feasible, though departments and schools/colleges may wish to consider whether the awards may be useful as retention tools later in the academic year.

Nominations will be accepted until March 1, 2019. Nominations should include:

  • A 2-3-page letter of nomination from the department or school/college
  • Letter of endorsement from the dean or director
  • Current CV

Vilas Mid-Career Investigator Award (up to 15 awards)

These awards provide between $25,000 and $100,000 in flexible funding over two years. The award is meant to recognize research and teaching excellence in faculty who are at mid-career. Deans and Directors should encourage departments to make nominations as early in the academic year as is feasible, though departments and schools/colleges may wish to consider whether the awards may be useful as retention tools later in the academic year.

Nominations will be accepted until March 1, 2019. Nominations should include:

  • A 2-3-page letter of nomination from the department or school/college
  • Letter of endorsement from the dean or director
  • Current CV

Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship (20 awards)

The Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships recognize professors whose distinguished scholarship has advanced the confines of knowledge, and whose excellence has also included teaching or service. Faculty members receiving this award carry the title of Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor for the duration of their careers at UW-Madison. The professorships provide a fixed allocation of flexible funds in the amount of $75,000. Of this amount, $50,000 is provided by the Vilas Trust, and should be expended in the first two years of the award (the year in which the professorship is awarded, and the year immediately after), with remaining funds reverting to the Trust; the other $25,000 is provided by the school/college, and can be paid out at the rate of $5,000 each year for five years.

Because of the way the fund is to be expended, schools and colleges are encouraged to work with their chairs on nominations early in the year (ideally by October 15, 2018), though departments and schools/colleges may wish to consider whether these may be useful as retention tools later in the academic year.

Nominations should include:

  • A 2-3-page letter of nomination from the department or school/college
  • A letter from the dean (not to exceed two pages) addressed to Provost Mangelsdorf covering the following items:
    • The nominee’s scholarly impact and accomplishments within her or his field of knowledge and on the research mission of the college/school and campus
    • Additional impact and contributions through teaching or service
    • Other aspects relevant to the scholar’s accomplishments or value
    • Retention aspects, if relevant
    • Proposed $25K payment schedule by dean
  • Current CV
  • Any additional relevant materials

All nominations should be addressed to Provost Mangelsdorf and sent to Michael Bernard-Donals, vice provost for faculty and staff (michael.bernarddonals@wisc.edu) and Yvonne Quamme, assistant to the provost (yvonne.quamme@wisc.edu).

Find additional awards and grants