Vilas Research Professorships support “the advancement of learning” and are considered among the highest recognition for faculty at the University. The prestigious awards are for UW–Madison faculty members who have proven research ability and possess unusual qualifications and promise. The individual must have contributed significantly to the research mission of the university and be widely recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality of their research.
Vilas Research Professorships provide a $10,000 salary supplement annually, $50,000 for research expenses annually, a reduced teaching load, and a retirement award of $2,500 annually for an individual who has served at least 15 years as a Vilas Research Professor. Additionally, Vilas Supplemental Funds are periodically available to Vilas Research Professors. When available, these funds may be requested for special nonrecurring research expenses (e.g., a piece of equipment, new acquisitions for our library collections relevant to your area of research, etc.). These professorships for scholarly achievement are funded through the generosity of the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Estate. Funding to support the appointments comes through Research and Sponsored Programs.
These professorships are managed by the Office of the Provost
Submitting a Nomination
Strong nominations will address:
- The quality, significance, and productivity of the nominee’s research or creative work
- The quality and programmatic value of the nominee’s teaching and service
- The nominee’s contribution to the research mission of the university, as well as evidence the nominee is widely recognized both nationally and internationally for the quality of research
When there is an available Vilas Research Professorship (upon resignation or retirement of a current holder), the Office of the Provost announces a call for nominations to initiate the selection process.
The Dean’s Office submits nominations to the Office of the Provost.
- Create a single PDF file for each nomination that includes:
- A cover page with the nominee’s name, department, and school or college
- A letter of endorsement from the dean or director. In cases of split appointments, endorsement by both deans/directors is required.
- A brief letter (1,000 words or fewer) of nomination from the department, center, or institute executive committee(s) that explains how the nominee was selected and highlights the major features of their work. The criteria are the quality, significance, and productivity of the nominee’s research or creative work, and the quality and programmatic value of the nominee’s teaching and service. You may use the materials prepared for the WARF Named Professorship or similar competition in the current or previous year for this nomination (condense letters to 1,000 words or fewer).
- An up-to-date curriculum vitae and bibliography of the nominee
- Five (5) letters of recommendation (must have three outside letters and two internal, each of 1,000 words or less)
- Optional: If viewable online, a listing of where to find electronic versions of publications may be included. Publications should not be submitted.
- Name the PDF file “NomineeLastName-SchoolCollegeDivision-DateSubmitted” (for example, Smith-Education-2022-09-13.pdf)
- Upload the file to the Vilas Research Professorship Box folder
- The chancellor, provost, and an ad hoc faculty committee of current holders of named professorships and tenured faculty review proposals and notify departments of their decision.
- Funds are managed by Research and Sponsored Programs
- The annual award period is July 1-June 30
- Funds are not eligible for extensions
- Individuals will not be awarded two “in perpetuity” professorships (i.e., professorships that are renewable indefinitely) at the same time. Therefore, anyone who already holds such a professorship (e.g., a Bascom) and is awarded a new one (e.g., a Vilas Research Professor) must give up the other. This does not apply to limited-term professorships, such as WARF Professorships, Romnes Fellowships, etc.
- Funding for the professorship will terminate:
- 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. (Note: If a recipient has served as a Vilas Research Professor for at least 15 years at the time of retirement, they are eligible for a Vilas Retirement Award of $2,500 per year.)
- Schools or colleges must notify the Office of the Provost of any change in status of a Vilas Research Professorship recipient via email at email@example.com.