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Call for nominations for the Aberle and Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for two College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty awards for 2020-21 that recognize promising assistant professors in the early stages of their careers:

The Elton D. and Carrie R. Aberle Faculty Fellow Award: This award is to recognize and reward promising young faculty within the college, to provide support and encouragement during the critical, pre-tenure period. The spirit of the award is to recognize young scientists with great energy, enthusiasm, and innovation as they gain the support of their peers and various agencies for their proposals. The award provides the recipient with a $10,000 one-time stipend to support the fellow’s research program. The stipend cannot be used for salary. One recipient will be chosen for 2020-21.

The Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Award: The award is for pre-tenure faculty whose research benefits agricultural activities within the United States and whose areas of interest lie in the scientific fields of crop research, improvements in crop yield and quality, or animal sciences. If those criteria are not met, faculty members whose agricultural research is considered biological or physical in nature may also be considered. The award provides the recipient with a $10,000 one-time stipend to support the fellow’s research program. The stipend cannot be used for salary. Two recipients will be chosen for 2020-21.

Eligibility criteria for both awards include:

  1. CALS assistant professors in the second through fifth year of their first tenure-track appointment.
  2. Recipients must be in their second through fifth year of their pre-tenure appointment during the time they hold the award. The award is not intended to support faculty either post-tenure or during the year in which their tenure case is being assembled and advanced through the department’s executive committee and the divisional committee.
  3. Those with tenure clock extensions may be nominated provided that nominees are in their equivalent second through fifth year.
  4. Zero-dollar faculty may be nominated.
  5. Current or past recipients may be re-nominated for the award, but can hold the award for a maximum of two years.
  6. For the Aberle award only: Only one nomination per department will be accepted.
  7. For the Toepfer award only: Meet the specific criteria in the award description. Multiple nominations from a department must be ranked.

Selection criteria for both awards include:

  1. High quality doctorate and/or post-doctorate research that has been published in appropriate and respected peer-reviewed journals;
  2. Progress toward developing an active, productive, externally-funded research program that has potential to produce significant new knowledge and insights in the field of the nominee;
  3. Evidence that the nominee’s research has important applications or potential applications that will benefit agriculture, natural resources, or human well-being; and
  4. Evidence that the nominee is on a trajectory to becoming a leading authority in their discipline.
  5. For the Toepfer award only: Also meet the specific criteria in the award description.

A nomination packet for either award should contain only the following items:

  1. A brief cover letter of nomination from the nominee’s department chair.
  2. A summary of the nominee’s research that details how research program goals meet the criteria outlined above (limit to two pages single-spaced).
  3. A description of the nominee’s specific financial need related to research goals.
  4. The nominee’s current, full CV.

Please note that the nomination packet may be shared with the donors of the fund(s), when the donor is notified of the recipient(s).

A committee chosen from among the faculty members of the CALS Research Advisory Committee will be asked to recommend the award recipients.

Please submit nominations electronically to Julie Scharm ( in the CALS Dean’s Office by Friday, April 24, 2020. Late and incomplete nominations will not be accepted.