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Stanford Report, November 4, 1998

New research grants for junior faculty: 11/98

Casper announces grants for junior faculty up to $20,000


Junior faculty will receive up to $20,000 in unrestricted research grants under a pilot program President Gerhard Casper announced during his State of the University address Thursday.

"As you know, it is my strong belief that the synthesis of research and teaching is what makes universities such as Stanford so attractive. I therefore have decided to fund a five-year pilot program of Presidential Research Grants for junior faculty," Casper told an audience of faculty, staff and students in Kresge Auditorium.

Each assistant professor in the three schools that offer undergraduate degrees­Earth Sciences, Engineering and Humanities and Sciences­will receive a $5,000 unrestricted research grant at the time of his or her initial appointment. Another $5,000 will be granted at the time of reappointment as well as another $10,000 grant if the faculty member is awarded tenure.

The grant program will begin in the current academic year.

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"All existing junior faculty in the three schools will receive $5,000, as though they were newly appointed," Casper said. About 145 faculty members will be affected.

"The fact that I can undertake such an effort reflects the relative success we have had in recent years in raising unrestricted funds on an annual basis, and I thank all who have made that possible," Casper said.

He noted the university had reached another fundraising milestone in the 1997-98 fiscal year, receiving $319 million in gifts.

"The willingness of Stanford's alumni and friends to maintain giving above the annual levels of the then-record Centennial Campaign is, if not historic, at the least truly remarkable," Casper said. "While the economy has clearly helped us, I should like to stress that these results reflect much hard work by many people, ranging from members of the Board of Trustees to the staff of the Development Office."

Faculty members will be able to use the money for any purpose in direct support of research. It cannot be used as salary or as a housing supplement, university officials said.

Junior faculty members were pleasantly surprised by the announcement.

"This is fantastic," said Paula Moya, an assistant professor of English first appointed in 1996. "Given the expectations that Stanford places on junior faculty, which are heavier than at other places, I welcome their supporting us."

Noting that junior faculty often feel "frazzled," Moya said the program is not just money but also "a substantial statement that they don't just want to put pressure on junior faculty but want to help us succeed."

She said junior faculty in the English Department would be likely to use the money to, for example, buy expensive books, travel to libraries to review manuscripts or go to conferences. "I've been getting about $1,000 a year and that goes really quickly," she said.

Anne Royalty, assistant professor of economics, said she may use the funds to hire research assistants or buy computer equipment and software. "All of these things are crucial to the beginnings of careers," she said. "This is a big influx that junior faculty will definitely appreciate."

Royalty, who specializes in labor economics, is undertaking research on fringe benefits and employee compensation.

"My research is very empirical, data-oriented," she said. "I'm always looking for funds for research assistants and to go to conferences to present my work and to upgrade computers for number-crunching." SR