Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative

Background

Over the past few years, UT Austin has made significant progress to strengthen interdisciplinary research and scholarship efforts. Through a combination of the work already occurring in the colleges and schools, and reinforced by the UT Pop-up Institutes and Bridging Barriers, our campus is experiencing considerable interdisciplinary research and scholarship momentum.

To supplement this work, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost is launching the Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative. It is designed to extend collaborative research and scholarship by authorizing up to 40 new faculty hires whose interdisciplinary areas of knowledge cross the boundaries of existing academic departments.
 

Goals and Objectives

The Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative aims to supplement departmentally-based hiring practices and norms. In essence, the initiative will facilitate interdisciplinary strategic hiring by providing full salary support for new faculty positions.

The initiative’s goals include:

  • Enabling the campus to devote a critical mass of faculty to areas of knowledge that can only be addressed across existing departmental structures.
  • Providing for new research tracks and collaborative opportunities.
  • Addressing difficult contemporary problems.
  • Encouraging and fostering cooperation among an already strong faculty and staff research body.
  • Assisting with the fulfillment of other priorities of the university, particularly increasing campus diversity.
     

Funding

Salary costs for the hires will be entirely covered by central resources. Future salary increases will be covered by the hiring units. Start-up funding will be covered as a partnership between the provost's office and the hiring units.

Proposal Process

The proposal process occurs in three stages. Groups of individual faculty, research centers, ORUs, Pop-Up Institutes, or colleges/schools can submit a proposal for a cluster hire.

Click stage button to view information.

Stage 1 — Proposal Submission — Due February 1, 2019

Submit a single, four-page PDF document that includes:

  1. Title page (one page) including a descriptive title of the proposed cluster, and a list of the individuals advancing the proposal. One individual must be designated as the contact person for the proposed cluster, and that individual’s contact information should be included on the cover sheet, including email and telephone number.  
     
  2. Concept paper (two pages), that includes:
     
    1. The area of research and why it is highly promising, important, and feasible for UT to have greater strength in this area. In other words, please explain “why UT and why now.”
       
    2. Description of the proposed tenured or tenure-track hires (up to four) and the range of departments and/or centers in which they might be located. Indicate existing strength at UT in this research area and how these new hires will complement and deepen the faculty expertise already at UT, or how the hires will create strength in a new area of research. Indicate also how these hires have the potential to complement/strengthen the faculty in the units in which they are to be hired. The proposal should also indicate what resources already exist and how those will contribute to this area. Any additional funds coming from outside the cluster hire program should be indicated.
       
    3. Description of the opportunity for faculty hired in this area to enhance the university's national reputation, extend the university's impact, and/or bring in additional research funding.
       
    4. Description of how the cluster hires have the potential to add diversity to the campus community, and what efforts will be made in the hiring process to recruit a diverse pool of candidates.
       
  3. Budget (one-page) including anticipated salary and start-up costs for each hire. If the proposed hires are to be considered across rank, please provide anticipated costs at the different hiring levels.
     

Proposal Review
Proposals will be reviewed by the Cluster Advisory Committee, a faculty committee appointed by the executive vice president and provost. The committee's recommendations will be considered in conjunction with the assessment of the provost, vice president for research, and other academic administrators (e.g. deans, etc.) to determine which proposals move forward to Stage 2.

The following proposals were advanced to Round 2:

Proposal Title
Autism Spectrum Disorder Across the Lifespan
Basic, Translational and Clinical Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Bridging Interdisciplinary Research In Reproductive Health
Climate extremes: decision making under uncertainty
Cognitive Functioning in Different Populations in Late Life: Submission from the Texas Aging & Longevity Center
Daily Biological Rhythms and Health: Re-establishing UT Austin as a Leader in Applied Research on Circadian Clocks
Environmental and Energy Economics
Exploration of Life and Planetary Habitability
Foundations of Optimization and Machine Learning
Good Systems: Building Technology Ethics Expertise Across the Forty Acres
Growing Basic and Translational Biomedical Imaging Science at UT Austin
Interdisciplinary and Distributed Artificial Intelligence
Investing in UT’s Future Students
Justice Collaborative
Maya Archaeology, Environment and Religion
Media Industries Cluster Hire
Music, Community, and Social Change
Neural Recovery Following Brain Injury
Planet Texas 2050 - Bridging the Gaps in Resilience Research: A Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hire Proposal
Prenatal to Three: Advancing Science, Policy, and Practice to Enhance Early Childhood Development
Proposal for a Cluster Hire in “Data-driven, Model-based Natural Hazards Prediction and Risk Mitigation”
Quantum Science and Engineering Hiring Initiative
Racial Retrenchment in the 21st Century
Reducing Health Disparities: Innovative Biosocial Approaches
Smart City: Making Austin the Leading City of the Future
Social Drivers of Health Research Collaborative
Social Justice Informatics Cluster: Ensuring Information Technologies Work for the Good of Society in the Institutional and Organizational Decisions that Shape People’s Lives
Strong Psychometrics and Evaluation in the Era of Big Data and Data Sciences
Targeting Disparities in Latina/o Populations Through Prevention Science
The Global Digital Media and (Dis)Information Lab Hiring Initiative
UT Austin Center for Theranostics, Molecular Imaging, and Targeted Radiotherapeutics
Whole Communities, Whole Health – A UT Austin Grand Challenge Initiative
Built Environment, Urbanism, and Health*
Fostering Race and Gender Justice in the Urban Environment*
Health Data Science: Data-Oriented Investigation Across Biomedical and Population Health Systems**
Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative to build foundations for a Computational Health and Informatics Initiative (x^2) at UT-Austin**

 


* Invited to submit a single collaborative proposal.
** Invited to submit a single collaborative proposal.

Stage 2 — Additional Information Requested — Due May 3, 2019

General Instructions

Proposals should be no more than six pages, exclusive of letters of support: title page (one page), concept paper (four pages), and budget/budget narrative (one page). No more than four, one-page letters of commitment/support may be included with the proposal. Some content is repeated from the round one proposal. However, please review and refine such content to further strengthen the proposal. Proposals will reviewed de novo during round two.

The stage 2 proposal submission link was emailed to selected proposal contacts — please email provost@utexas.edu with questions about the submission process for stage 2.


Proposal Contents

  • Title Page (one page maximum)
    • Include a descriptive title of the proposed cluster and a list of the individuals advancing the proposal.
       
    • One individual must be designated as the contact person for the proposed cluster, including e-mail address and telephone number.
       
  • Concept Paper (four page maximum)
    • Describe the area of research and why it is highly promising, important, and feasible for UT to have greater strength in this area. In other words, please explain “why UT and why now.”
       
    • Description of the proposed tenured or tenure-track hires (up to four), including the area of inquiry and the possible departments and/or centers into which they might be placed. Please rank order the proposed hires in terms of priority.
       
    • Indicate existing strength at UT in this research area and how these new hires will complement and deepen the faculty expertise already at UT.
      • If the hires will create strength in a new area of research, indicate how the hires will interact with each other and with other new/existing faculty to build coherent interdisciplinary programs.
    • Indicate what future hiring, independent of the cluster, is already planned and how it will contribute to this area. This should be developed in consultation with academic leadership of relevant CSUs.
       
    • If the research area has connections to an existing ORU, please indicate what resources already exist and how they will contribute to this area. Any additional funds coming from outside the cluster hire program should be indicated, if applicable. Summarize opportunities for extramural support. Please be specific about the types of organizations (e.g. government agencies, foundations, etc.) that fund the area of research.
       
    • Description of how the cluster hires have the potential to add diversity to the campus community, and what efforts will be made in the hiring process to recruit a diverse pool of candidates.
       
  • Budget/Budget Narrative (one page)
    • Provide a detailed budget, including anticipated salary and start-up costs for each hire. If the proposed hires are to be considered across rank, please provide an anticipated range of costs.
       
    • Budgets may include a request for bridge funding to support research faculty, postdocs, and/or GRAs – up to $500,000 over three years. These positions are intended to complement faculty hires until extramural funding can support such costs.
       
  • Letters of Commitment/Support (no more than four, one page letters)
    • Provide letters of commitment/support from the most appropriate academic leadership (e.g. department chairs, ORU directors, etc.). Letters may address resource commitments (e.g. faculty lines, budgetary commitments, etc.) and/or broader support for the area of research from departments, budget councils, and/or ORUs.
       
    • Deans will be consulted separately by the provost. Therefore, please do not provide letters of support from deans.

Stage 3 — Final Decisions — June

Final decisions will be made in June 2019.