Vilas Faculty Early-Career & Mid-Career Investigator Awards

Vilas Faculty Early-Career Investigator Awards recognize research and teaching excellence in faculty who are in relatively early stages in their careers.  The prestigious awards are for UW–Madison faculty members in approximately the first ten years of their career. This could include assistant professors or early-stage associate professors.

Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Awards recognize research and teaching excellence in faculty who are are at mid-career. The prestigious awards are for UW–Madison faculty members approximately 10 to 20 years into their career. This could include associate professors or full professors.

Vilas Faculty Early-Career and Mid-Career Investigator Awards provide between $25,000 and $100,000 in flexible funding over three years.

These awards for outstanding achievement are funded through the generosity of the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Estate. Funding to support the awards comes through Research and Sponsored Programs. These awards are managed by the Office of the Provost.

Submitting a Nomination

Nomination Criteria

Strong nominations will address:

  1. The nominee’s current—and potential for future—excellence in research and teaching
  2. Retention aspects, if relevant

Nomination Process

The Dean’s Office submits nominations to the Office of the Provost.

  1. Create a single PDF file for each nomination that includes:
    • A cover page with the nominee’s name, department, and school, college, or division
    • A letter of endorsement from the dean or director. If more than one person is being nominated from the school, college, or division, include rankings
    • A brief letter of nomination from the department, school, college, or division (two to three pages)
    • An up-to-date curriculum vitae of the nominee
    • Any additional relevant materials
  2. Name the PDF file “NomineeLastName-SchoolCollegeDivision-DateSubmitted” (for example, Smith-Education-2024-01-31.pdf)
  3. Upload the file to the Early-Career Box folder or the Mid-Career Box folder


Round one deadline:  November 29, 2023

Round two deadline:  January 16, 2024

Helpful Hints

Fund Management

    • Funds are managed by Research and Sponsored Programs
    • The annual award period is July 1-June 30
    • Individuals may not be awarded two Vilas awards or professorships at the same time. Therefore, anyone who already holds such an award (e.g., a Vilas Associates Award) and is awarded a new one (e.g., a Vilas Early Career Award) must choose one award and give up the other.

Award Termination

  • Funding for the award will terminate:
    • At the end of the award term
    • If the recipient resigns from the university. Funds will be prorated based on final date of employment. Note: account is closed and funds are returned following final date of employment.
    • Upon granting of emeritus status. Funds will be prorated based on final date of employment.
  • Schools, colleges, or divisions must notify the Office of the Provost of any change in status of a Vilas Faculty Early or Mid-Career Investigator Award recipient via email at

Extension Requests

    • Funds must be used by the award end date. Extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis for special circumstances.
    • Extension requests must be reviewed by the provost and Vilas trustees.
    • To request an extension, submit a memo to the provost addressing:
      • Award amount you would like to carry over
      • Proposed end date, if extension is granted (when an extension is granted, they are typically for one year)
      • The reason for the request, including how the remaining funds will be used
    • Submit extension requests via email to